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Posts for category: Child Health

By Virginia Pediatric Group
October 14, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Asthma   Childhood Asthma  
Helping Your Child Live Well With AsthmaAsthma is one of the most common chronic disorders that pediatricians diagnose in children and teens. While there is no cure for asthma there are effective ways to manage your child’s symptoms to prevent flare-ups and attacks while also ensuring that they are able to live a full, healthy life. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of childhood asthma. Symptoms include,
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Easily winded, especially after exercise
  • A persistent cough that usually gets worse at night or after activity
  • Chest tightness or congestion
If your child is experiencing asthma symptoms, it’s important that you bring them in for a pediatric evaluation as soon as possible as untreated asthma can be dangerous. If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, here are some of the best ways to help them manage their symptoms,

Visit the pediatrician often

Even if your child’s symptoms seem to be well managed through medication and lifestyle it’s still important that you bring them into the pediatrician’s office for regular care. Your pediatrician will be able to evaluate whether their current medications are fully controlling your child’s symptoms. If symptoms aren’t improving, you should also see your pediatrician right away.

Create an asthma action plan

It’s important that you and your child’s doctor sit down and create a detailed asthma action plan that will outline how you are managing your child’s symptoms and what to do in case of an asthma attack. Within the action plan, you will include the ways in which you are currently controlling your child’s asthma as well as symptoms to look for regarding a flare-up or attack, and when to see a doctor for care.

Alter your child’s lifestyle

It’s important to talk with your pediatrician about your child’s asthma triggers. By determining what triggers their allergies (e.g. pet dander; pollen) you can also figure out ways to avoid these allergies. Avoid household products or certain chemicals that may cause asthma to flare up. Bathing pets weekly, keeping the house clean and avoiding letting your child play outdoors on high pollen days are all ways to reduce allergen exposure in your asthmatic child.

If your child is displaying symptoms of asthma, or if their symptoms aren’t being properly controlled, call our pediatric practice today to schedule an immediate evaluation. We can provide you with a customized treatment that will make your whole family breathe a little easier.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
September 09, 2020
Category: Child Health
 Tips to Help Your Child Eat HealthierYou want your child to lead a healthy, happy life but it can be difficult if they are picky eaters or only seem to crave junk food. If you’re having trouble making smart nutritional choices when it comes to your kids, your child’s pediatrician can help you create some healthier eating habits and map out a treatment plan if your child is currently struggling to lose excess weight.

Choose Smarter Snacks

Kids always seem hungry, so they may be begging for snacks throughout the day. Snacks should be small, and they shouldn’t be enjoyed too close to mealtimes, as this could ruin their appetite. Instead of reaching for a bag of candy or potato chips try opting for smarter snack options such as nuts, apple slices or celery with peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and cheese sticks, or hummus and carrots.

Get Your Kids Cooking

One of the best ways to get your child dedicated to nutrition is by making them an active part of the process. Cooking can be fun, especially for kids, and by cooking together they will experience a source of pride in the foods they’ve helped to make (which typically leads to them being more likely to eat it). Enjoy this quality time together and show them how eating and cooking healthy foods can be fun.

Hide Healthier Foods

Particularly at the beginning of this new nutritional journey, you may find that your child has an “aversion” to eating healthy. They may turn their nose up at broccoli, carrots or certain veggies, but don’t despair. Instead of making them eat it plain, you can hide these important veggies into dishes they already love such as whole grain mac and cheese, soups, or sandwiches.

Show Your Kids How It’s Done

Kids watch and mimic what parents do, so if parents aren’t eating healthy chances are fairly good that they won’t see a reason to eat healthily either. Therefore, it’s a good idea for parents to also show how important eating healthy can be. Lead by example and this simple habit could actually improve not just your child’s health but yours as well.

A healthy child begins with a healthy diet. If you are having concerns about your child’s health and nutrition, it’s important that you talk with a qualified pediatrician to figure out the right dietary choices for your little one.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
August 13, 2020
Category: Child Health
Child Behavior ProblemsWhile we may not love it, all kids are going to act up, throw tantrums and be irritable at times; however, if your child is displaying negative actions and behaviors regularly, you may be concerned that there is something more going on. Is your child just “going through a phase” or is this a sign of a more serious problem?

Is This Normal Behavior?
 
Common behaviors issues may include:
  • Being defiant
  • Lying
  • Whining
  • Impulsivity
  • Issues around bedtime
  • Issues around food (being a “picky eater” or refusing to eat)
  • Anger
  • Temper tantrums
Most of these issues are common and while they certainly aren’t pleasant at the moment, they are typically fleeting. However, you may want to seek professional help if your child’s behaviors:
  • Are still occurring regardless of discipline or punishment
  • Are affecting their schoolwork and/or social interactions
  • Aren’t appropriate for their age (e.g. throwing temper tantrums as an older child)
While the behaviors above are fairly common in children, certain behaviors are not normal and should be a cause for concern:
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Harm to self, others, or animals
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren’t there
  • Breaking the rules or skipping school
  • Sudden or extreme behavioral changes
  • Showing no remorse
How can a pediatrician help?

Pediatricians come equipped to handle and address any issues regarding your child’s health, and this includes behavioral concerns you may have as a parent. If your pediatrician believes that a developmental, neurological, or mental health disorder could be to blame, then they may recommend additional testing and evaluations. This is done either through their practice or with a specific specialist who can properly diagnose and treat certain conditions such as depression, oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder.

Based on the results of your child’s screening, your pediatrician will then be able to create a custom treatment plan to help you and your child manage their condition and their symptoms. Your pediatrician can also refer your child to therapists and other specialists who can also provide additional support and treatment for the whole family.

If you’re having concerns about your child’s behavior, it’s best to talk with your pediatrician at your child’s next wellness checkup.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
July 15, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Sports Injuries   Injury  
Child's Sports InjuriesRegular physical activity is so important for your child’s health. If they have decided to start playing on a sports team this can also be a great way for them to build confidence and socialize. Of course, pediatricians also understand just how important it is to keep your little athlete healthy both on and off the field. If your child does sustain an injury your pediatrician may be the first person to help, so it’s important to find a pediatrician that you and your family trust.
 
Preventing Injuries
The goal is always to help your child prevent sports injuries and your pediatrician can become an integral part of providing the preventive care your child needs to stay healthy. This starts with an annual sports physical, in which your child will receive a comprehensive physical exam from a qualified pediatrician to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport. Your pediatrician can also look at your child’s lifestyle to determine if any changes need to be made to their training routine, eating habits, or sleep to improve performance and reduce the risk for injury.

A pediatrician is an integral part of keeping your child healthy and safe while participating in sports. They can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have, as well as recommend certain conditioning and training exercises that can help with injury prevention. Your child should also be wearing the appropriate protective gear including a helmet when playing sports.
 
Treating Sports Injuries
Sometimes, despite taking all the necessary precautions, your child still sustains a sports injury. The moment your child sustains an injury they need to stop playing immediately and avoid any physical activity until the injury has fully healed. The most common sports injuries in kids are minor strains and sprains which can be treated at home through the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). However, if pain persists or gets worse, it’s important to see your child’s pediatrician.

Your child should visit a pediatrician right away if you suspect that they have a broken bone, dislocation, concussion, or if they are dealing with severe pain or swelling. If your child is unable to walk or put weight on the affected leg, this is also a sign to see a pediatrician as soon as possible. The sooner sports injuries are addressed and properly treated the better.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
June 16, 2020
Category: Child Health
Tags: Vision Test  
Vision TestParents want nothing more than their children to be healthy and happy. This applies to every element of their well-being, including their eyes! Your pediatrician recommends that all children receive a comprehensive eye exam by the age of one. These tests detect any problems that require correction. Prolonging an exam can damage your child’s eyes for life. 
 
When Should My Child’s Vision Be Tested?
Your child should have had several tests done by the age of five. This confirms for your pediatrician that they are developing normally. Follow this recommended time-table: 
  • At birth: this is performed right away on your child, as part of the newborn physical assessment.
  • 6 months: your pediatrician evaluates your child’s eyes at their regular appointment. 
  • 3.5 years old: at your child’s appointment, the pediatrician tests their eyes and also their visual acuity. 
  • 5 years old: a standard assessment performed at a pediatric appointment. 
After this, eye screenings are implemented at your discretion. Your pediatrician will check your child’s eyes at their annual checkup. If your child fails an eye exam, you need to schedule a full pediatric eye evaluation right away. 
 
Another reason you should get your child’s eyes checked is if you have a family history of eye conditions. This is especially true if you have other children that have vision problems.
 
Why Does My Child Need an Eye Exam If They Passed the Vision Screening?
There are certain circumstances where your pediatrician refers your child for a full eye examination. This is common for infants that show signs of a lazy eye or crossed eyes. Other possible red flags in infants are problems tracking objects or a strangely colored pupil. 
 
Is your child struggling in school? Don’t jump to conclusions without an eye examination from your pediatrician. If a child can’t see the board or follow along with lessons, their performance will suffer. Corrective eyewear and other treatment options can help. Eye examinations are even more important for children with learning disabilities. Eye problems can make coping with a learning disorder much harder. 
 
What to Expect at Your Child’s Eye Examination
Your child has nothing to be worried about at their appointment. There is nothing scary or painful! The pediatrician will ask you about your family history, especially anything related to eye health. From there, they check your child’s pupil and muscle function, along with sharpness.
 
In certain cases, your pediatrician will dilate the eyes. This is performed by placing special drops in the eyes. After about forty minutes, the pediatrician can examine the major structures.