Posts for category: Pediatrician
Did you know that asthma affects American children more than any other long-term health condition? The American Lung Association confirms that asthma, with its constricted and inflamed airways, wheezing, coughing, fatigue and shortness of breath, is very serious and needs vigilant monitoring and care. At Virginia Pediatric Group in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, VA, your team of 15 physicians helps parents and children cope with asthma, so everyone enjoys their daily routines.
Why do asthma attacks happen?
Ranging from mild to severe and life-threatening, episodes of asthma typically start with exposure to a trigger. It may be an allergen, such as pet dander or mold, or something in the environment, such as outdoor air pollution or cigarette smoke. In addition, attacks may be precipitated by:
- Cold weather
- Colds and the flu
When children present with asthma symptoms, your pediatrician will work with you to identify triggers so you can limit your child's exposure.
Besides identifying triggers, your doctor may order a chest X-ray and lab work to rule out other health conditions. Also, they will do a complete physical examination, including a lung function test and chest auscultation (listening to breath sounds with a stethoscope).
The American Lung Association stresses the importance of an asthma action plan, well-thought out steps to take when an asthma attack starts or seems imminent. The rationale is that the child would breathe more easily, exhibit fewer symptoms, and be able to do their usual routine, including school.
Asthma action plans often include monitoring of peak flow (or the amount of air the child can exhale in a single breath) and medication. Bronchodilators are short-acting medications which mitigate symptoms quickly and long-term maintenance medications help prevent symptoms. Long-term medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, keep airways from constricting.
Additionally, your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing. Allergies may be treated with shots or sublingual (under the tongue) medications as needed.
An old adage says, "Forewarned is forearmed." It's so true where your child's asthma is concerned. The team at Virginia Pediatric Group will help your family with questions you have regarding your child's condition, and our on-call service can address any off-hours concerns. Our Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, VA, office number is (703) 573-2432.
Is your child having trouble focusing, completing tasks, or paying attention in general? If so, your child might have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. How can you find out? The pediatricians at Virginia Pediatric Group can help! They have several convenient office locations in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, Virginia to help you and your child.
More on Childhood ADHD
These factors as potential indicators of ADHD:
- Difficulty paying attention or focusing on a project
- Problems listening and following directions
- Impulsive, erratic behavior and excessive talking
- Squirming, fidgeting and other hyperactive behavior
- Inappropriate active behavior like running or climbing
- Losing things, and difficulty with organization
ADHD affects your child’s ability to make and keep friends, do well in school, and behave well socially. Your child may exhibit destructive, bullying behaviors which will affect friendships and their ability to learn may be compromised, resulting in poor grades. Sleeping problems are also a common issue with ADHD.
If you think your child might have ADHD, your pediatricians at Virginia Pediatric Group can help by performing behavioral testing at the initial consultation appointment. Your child, you, and your child’s teachers may be interviewed also.
ADHD treatment often includes several types of therapy, such as:
- Medication therapy to help your child focus and practice self-control
- Behavioral therapy to reduce inappropriate and destructive actions
If your child has ADHD, you don’t want it to go undiagnosed and untreated, as it can dramatically affect many aspects of their life. It can even cause difficulties in adulthood. To learn more about ADHD diagnosis and treatment, call the pediatricians at Virginia Pediatric Group, with offices in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, Virginia today!
Find out why every child needs to get a sports physical each year.
Since your child was born they have been seeing their pediatrician quite often for checkups to make sure they are reaching developmental milestones and staying healthy. Of course, once your child is old enough to go to school there are new things to think about such as getting them a school or sports physical. In fact, many schools require this physical before a child can participate in school sports. “Why?” You might be wondering. Our Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, pediatricians are here to explain.
What is a sports physical?
In order to understand the importance of a physical, it’s first important to understand what goes into this visit. A sports physical, sometimes referred to as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), is an evaluation that determines if your child is healthy enough for the activity or sport that they want to play. Your child’s school may make this physical exam mandatory but even if they don’t it’s important that your child gets one each and every year.
A sports physical is made up of two components: going through their detailed medical history and then having one of our children’s doctor perform a thorough physical exam. Going through your child’s medical history is very important, as it can give us insight into health problems, hospitalizations, medications they are taking and even injuries that could hinder or negatively impact their health, particularly while being physically active. This is also a great time for parents to ask any questions or address any concerns they might have about their child’s health.
During the physical exam, we will check vital signs, record their height and weight, evaluate their musculoskeletal system and then check their vision, hearing, throat, heart and lungs. Our doctors will also ask your child questions about their diet, lifestyle and certain habits they have that could impact their physical health.
Why is a sports physical important?
This quick and painless exam is crucial to determining if there are any potential health issues or problems that could interfere with your child’s ability to play sports. Rest assured, many of these issues do have treatment options and ways to manage the symptoms so that your child can enjoy their chosen sport; however, not having these treatment plans in place could be a serious detriment to your child's health, which is why it’s important to come in once a year for a thorough evaluation.
With summer coming to an end it’s important that your child gets the sports physical they need to begin another successful and healthy school year. Don’t wait until the last minute, as appointments fill up quickly this time of year. Call Virginia Pediatric Group in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, to schedule your child’s sports physical today.
Finding out you’re pregnant is a wonderfully exciting and whirlwind time. There are so many decisions to make as you watch your bump grow: What color should I paint the nursery? Do I want my little one to sleep with me? What do I need to childproof around the house? Of course, one of the most important things to think about is the health of your little one throughout the course of your pregnancy and once they are born. It’s never too soon to choose a pediatrician, and taking the time to find one you trust is important not just for your baby but also for you.
Once your little one is born they will be spending a lot of time with their pediatrician, so this is why it’s crucial that you find out that provides gentle, compassionate care and really takes time with you and your baby. The first two years of your baby’s life are so very important because this marks a significant developmental time for them, so it’s essential that you have a pediatrician that will be there to monitor their progress and detect any developmental delays or health problems right away.
The first pediatric visit will occur a few days after the birth. This first visit is vital, as it allows your children’s doctor to make sure everything functions as it should. This includes everything from reflexes to alertness to their hearing. Measurements are also taken to check their height and weight and to begin recording their development. Besides performing a physical exam to check the overall health of the baby this is also a time to answer any questions you might have about feeding schedules, habits, developmental milestones, etc.
After this initial visit, you should expect to bring your little one in for visits at:
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 24 months (2 years old)
- 30 months
- 3 years old
Once your child turns 3 years old they will only need to visit a pediatrician once a year, unless there are any health problems or concerns in the interim. These visits are imperative for every child as they are key to preventing certain illnesses through immunizations and physical checkups, tracking their growth and development, and also providing you with answers and support to help you properly care for your little one along the way. Call a pediatrician to schedule your child’s first appointment today.
Childhood immunizations. Many Americans remember their smallpox vaccinations and have circular scars on their upper arms to prove it. The New York State Department of Health reports that administration of this vaccine stopped in 1972 because deadly smallpox was eradicated. Today's vaccines also protect children from the ravages of 18 communicable diseases. At Virginia Pediatric Group in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, your team of pediatricians and support staff recommend adherence to a vaccination schedule birth through the college years.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics see great benefit in giving intramuscular, sublingual, and subcutaneous vaccinations against chickenpox, measles, Hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, influenza, HPV, diphtheria, and other harmful and possibly deadly diseases. So they set a schedule for parents and health care providers to follow so children's immunity builds against infection.
How do vaccines work?
Based on principles discovered by who we now call immunologists, vaccines introduce a small amount of a disease-causing agent--virus or bacteria--into the patient. The patient's own bodies (immune system) react immediately and begin producing antibodies, microscopic defenses against disease.
Vaccines are made in several safe and effective ways. Some are composed of weakened microbes, and others are composed of parts, or antigens, of bacteria or viruses. While a child may exhibit some mild reactions to the germs (a low-grade fever, soreness at the injection site as examples), he or she will not develop the active disease. In fact, the body will become much stronger in its defense against the sickness.
Are vaccines worth it?
Vaccines are safe, and yes, they do work. Children are spared serious illness and complications. As such, your pediatricians in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax ask that parents and caregivers stay on schedule with immunizations at their children's well-baby and well-child visits.
Not only do these medications protect your own family, they also protect families across the country. As more people are immunized, fewer contract these diseases. Additionally, youngsters who cannot receive vaccines because they are allergic or are immuno-suppressed actually benefit from the general population getting vaccinated. Why? Well, fewer germs will pass from vaccinated individuals to those around them. This principle of immunology is called "herd immunity" or "community immunity."
Besides the obvious health benefits of vaccines, your child's school, daycare, camp, and, later on, college, will require proof that he or she has been fully immunized. At Virginia Pediatric Group, we keep an electronic record of immunizations to supply to those agencies and organizations who require proof of them.
Regarding those schedules...
The CDC and AAP put out immunization schedules for health care providers to follow. They list vaccines and dosages for children birth through six years, ages seven through 18 and also a "catch-up" schedule. The catch-up schedule helps children get immunizations they need but somehow missed due to illness or other circumstance.
Is your child on schedule?
Childhood immunizations are so important. To make your well-child visit, contact Virginia Pediatric Group in Herndon, Great Falls, South Riding, and Fairfax, VA, today at (703) 573-2432.