My Blog
By Virginia Pediatric Group
March 26, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Whooping CoughPertussis, more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. The nickname comes from the “whooping” sound that occurs when a child breathes. While many people assume that whooping cough is an infection that no longer exists, it’s actually more common in the US than we’d like to admit. In fact, pediatricians have seen an increase in the number of whooping cough cases over the last couple of decades.
Whooping Cough May Look Like a Cold

You might brush off the early signs of whooping cough because they look an awful lot like the common cold. Older children and teens may develop congestion, mild fever, cough, or runny nose; however, within the first 1-2 weeks you will notice that the cough gets worse. In fact, your child may develop severe and sudden coughing fits.

Children and newborns are more likely to display severe symptoms. They may not have a whoop in their cough, but they may vomit or show severe fatigue after coughing. While anyone can develop whooping cough, infants are at particular risk for serious and life-threatening complications so it’s important to have your family vaccinated.
Vaccines Can Protect Against Whooping Cough

While newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough, you should make sure that the rest of your family is fully vaccinated. The DTaP vaccine will protect against whooping cough and will be administered at 2, 4, and 6 months old, again at 15 to 18 months, and again at 6 years for a total of five doses.
Turn to a Pediatrician Right Away

If you suspect that your child might have whooping cough, you must call your pediatrician right away. Children under 18 months old may require hospitalization so doctors can continuously monitor them, as children are more likely to stop breathing with whooping cough. Of course, coming in during the early stages of the infection is important as antibiotics are more effective at the very start of the illness.
Until the body clears whooping cough, some of the best ways to manage your child’s symptoms include,
  • Resting as much as possible
  • Staying hydrated
  • Sticking to smaller meals to safeguard against cough-induced vomiting
  • Making sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations
If you want to fully protect your child against many dangerous communicable diseases, one of the best ways is through vaccinations. Your child must be up to date on all of their vaccines. Talk with your pediatrician to find out when your child should get the whooping cough vaccine.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
March 16, 2021
Category: Child Health
Tags: Pediatrician   Thumb-Sucking   Pacifier  
Thumb SuckingReflexively, your baby is born with the ability to suck. It makes sense. After all, your little one must be able to suck to get nutrients, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. Thumb sucking also has the ability to soothe and calm your little one. However, there are moments as your child gets older where thumb-sucking may become a problem. Your pediatrician can provide you with the tips and tricks to help your little one grow out of this habit.
Thumb-Sucking Tendencies

This is a normal habit in newborns that typically goes away around 6-7 months; however, this seemingly innocuous habit may actually be a cause for concern if thumb sucking continues beyond 2-4 years, where it can alter the shape of the face or cause teeth to stick out.
When to Consider a Pacifier

Many children desire a pacifier between feedings, but this should not be a replacement for feedings. It’s important to recognize when your child is sucking because they are hungry and whether they merely want to self-soothe. If your child still has an urge to suck and they don’t need to nurse, then a pacifier is a safe way to soothe and ease your child’s needs (if they want it).
It is safe for children to use a pacifier while sleeping, whether at bedtime or when they go down for their naps. Just prepare for babies to wake up fussy in the middle of the night when the pacifier falls out of their mouths, as they aren’t able to place the pacifier back in their mouths themselves. Make sure that you do not try to place the pacifier on a string around your baby’s neck or tie it to the crib, as this can lead to a serious and potentially deadly injury.
How to Phase Out the Pacifier
There will come a point when your child will need to give up their pacifier. While the medical community has different age ranges, The American Dental Association recommends that children stop using a pacifier by age 2, as going beyond two years old could alter the alignment of your child’s teeth or impact the shape of their face.
Here are some tips to phase out the pacifier,
  • Do not tease or punish your child for using a pacifier, but instead praise them when they do not use it. Provide them with rewards when they go without it.
  • Some children use pacifiers out of boredom, so give your child something to do to distract them such as playing with a game or toy (to keep their hands busy).
  • If incentives and rewards aren’t enough and your child is still using a pacifier, your pediatrician may recommend a “thumb guard” that can prevent your child from sucking their thumb. While you may feel in a rush to get rid of your child’s pacifier, it’s important to be patient. All children eventually stop this habit.
Even if you are concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking, it’s important to know that most children do grow out of it not long after starting school. While you can provide them with helpful ways to ditch the habit it’s important not to put pressure on them. With the help of your pediatrician, your child can and will outgrow this habit.
By Virginia Pediatric Group
March 04, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Allergies  

Discover some simple ways to keep your child’s allergies in check.

Breaking out in hives after your child eats something they are allergic to or dealing with red, itchy eyes and sneezing when your little one goes out to play during the springtime are just some of the problems that parents face when they have kids with allergies.

Our pediatricians have convenient locations in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and Aldie, VA, where they offer both in-office and telemedicine visits to help you better control your child’s allergy symptoms, here are some additional helpful tips for controlling your child’s allergies.

Wash Up

If your child is playing outside or playing with the neighbor’s dog, it’s important that the moment they come inside that they wash their hands and face thoroughly to remove any trace of the allergen. If your child has outdoor allergies, you’ll also want to immediately toss their clothes into the wash and have your child hop in the shower or take a bath.

Avoid the Allergen

Sometimes this is easier said than done. However, there are certain allergies that may be a little easier to avoid. For example, if your child has food allergies it’s important that you not only know what food or foods that they are allergic to but also that they avoid these foods. By avoiding these foods, you can prevent hives, stomach issues, and other symptoms from flaring-up. If your child has outdoor allergies, it’s best to check the weather reports before letting your little one go outside to play.

Have Meds Handy

Regardless of whether your child is taking simple over-the-counter allergy medication or our pediatricians have prescribed an allergy medication, it’s important that your child always has easy access to their medications when symptoms arise. There are some chewable allergy meds that are easy for your child to take regardless of whether they are at home, school, or on the go.

Talk to a Doctor

If you’re having trouble getting your child’s allergy symptoms under control our Fairfax, VA, pediatricians can help. If you don’t want to come into the office right now, we offer telemedicine visits with our pediatricians so that you can talk to one of our doctors about ways to get your child’s symptoms under control or to discuss other treatment options. We can even refill prescriptions with a telemedicine visit.

Do you think your child has allergies but you’re not quite sure? If so, you should consult our pediatricians. With telemedicine visits, we can offer a lot of the same care that you have come to expect when walking through our doors here at Virginia Pediatric Group but virtually.

To schedule an in-person or telemedicine visit for your child at one of our convenient locations in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and Aldie, VA, call (703) 573-2432 today.

By Virginia Pediatric Group
March 01, 2021
Category: Child Health
Tags: ADHD  

ADHD manifests itself in children as inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and inappropriate social behavior. It is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders diagnosed in about 4% to 12% of all children, according to the CDC.

There are three main classifications of ADHD: Inattentive Presentation, Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation, and a combination of both. Boys are twice to thrice as likely as girls to have hyperactive or combined ADHD. Children who have ADHD may struggle to pay attention, remember details, or sit quietly. In school, this can lead to learning difficulties and misunderstood behavior.

The pediatricians of Virginia Pediatric Group want you to recognize the symptoms of ADHD in children so you can empathize with your child if they are struggling. Visit the Virginia Pediatric Group in Fairfax, VA, to diagnose your child and find treatment options.

Symptoms of ADHD in Children

The symptoms of ADHD in children, most typically, are behaviors associated with hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattentiveness. Children with ADHD may exhibit behaviors such as:

  • Fidgeting, not sitting still
  • Forgetting details, losing things
  • Talking out of turn
  • Putting themselves in danger with careless mistakes
  • Inability to complete tasks
  • Poor organizational skills

It is important to recognize that all children can display any one of these symptoms, but that does not mean they have ADHD. Children are naturally full of energy and will mistakes as they grow-up. When these symptoms manifest frequently, hindering their ability to learn and socialize, treatment may be recommended by your Fairfax pediatrician. The pediatricians of Virginia Pediatric Group will devise a treatment plan that meets the needs of your child to help manage their ADHD.

Treating ADHD in Children

Treatment for ADHD can involve a combination of psychostimulant medication and psychosocial treatment. Medication is used to balance the chemicals that cause impulsiveness and distraction. Medication can help children focus, improving school work and social skills. For psychosocial treatment, parents, teachers, and children can learn how to manage behaviors and approach certain situations complicated by attention deficits or hyperactivity. You and your child can learn the skills to manage ADHD. ADHD can affect a child well into adulthood, learning how to manage it now will save them in the future.

If you have any questions about ADHD in children, please call the Virginia Pediatric Group at (703) 573-2432. Your child may be suffering from ADHD if they frequently exhibit the symptoms described here. Get help from a skilled child doctor in Fairfax, VA, at Virginia Pediatric Group.

By Virginia Pediatric Group
February 24, 2021
Category: Child Health Care
Tags: Head Lice  
Head LiceYou’ve just received a call from the school: someone in your child’s class has head lice. We know that hearing that your child has or might have head lice can be stressful, but don’t worry. Your pediatrician can help guide you through the best methods for getting rid of pesky head lice once and for all.

If you notice head lice in your child there’s no way around it: you have to treat the lice. They will not go away on their own. It might give you the heebie-jeebies but it’s important to find a treatment that will get rid of these little critters quickly. You should also check all members of your family to make sure they don’t have lice too, as this problem can spread quickly.

The good news is that you can often treat lice from the comfort of your own home. While there are certain hair salons that may cater to the treatment of lice, it’s worth it to try and treat the problem yourself. There are a variety of over-the-counter shampoos and rinses that can kill lice and their eggs (also known as nits). You may want to talk with your pediatric doctor about the treatment process, which products to use and whether or not you should reapply the shampoo or rinse days after the first application.

Still seeing lice? This is a literal head scratcher for some parents, but don’t worry. This is when a pediatrician can prescribe a much stronger treatment option such as shampoos containing benzyl alcohol, or lotions containing either ivermectin or malathion (both pesticides), or spinosad (an insecticide).

Since some of these products work differently from others, it is important that you read and follow all instructions. Some products will require more than one application while others will only require one. Again, if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s lice treatment don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician.

Treating Your Home After Lice

The good news is that lice need blood in order to survive so they won’t live very long if they don’t have a human host. However, you will want to wash all bedding, towels and clothes that may have lice or nits on them. Make sure to wash them thoroughly in hot water that is higher than 130 degrees F. If you can’t wash these items immediately, promptly bag them until you can clean them properly.

Head lice can be annoying, but turning to a qualified pediatric doctor can help you get the answers you need to tackle this hairy little problem. Call your pediatrician to learn more.

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