6 Reasons to Call the Pediatrician

sick is no funSick children at home? If they’ve got a cold, they’ll usually recover on their own within seven to 10 days, but in some cases, those sniffles can develop into a more serious condition that requires medical attention. If you notice any of the following warning signs in your kids, you’ve got reason to call the pediatrician.

Warning Sign No. 1: A high fever

A fever of 105 F or more can mean your child has another problem, like strep throat. If your baby is younger than 3 months old, you should also call your doctor if he or she has a fever of 100.4 F or more.

Warning Sign No. 2: Symptoms that persist after the fever subsides

Most kids start to perk up after their fever goes down. But if your little one still seems tired and miserable after the number on the thermometer drops, it could mean she’s dehydrated — or even has a more serious infection such as meningitis, so get a hold of your doctor’s office as soon as possible.

Warning Sign No. 3: Wheezing or vomiting while coughing

Call your pediatrician if coughing causes your child to gasp for breath or throw up. She may want to screen for asthma or whooping cough.

Warning Sign No. 4: Symptoms that don’t improve

Kids sometimes catch two colds in a row, so they can be sick for longer than the normal weeklong span. But if it doesn’t seem your child is improving and her runny nose remains consistent for more than 10 days, it’s worth calling your doctor.

Warning Sign No. 5: Rash with fever

Children can get rashes from viruses and allergic reactions. But if the rash doesn’t blanch — or fade — when you press on it, call your pediatrician immediately. It may be a sign of a serious infection.

Warning Sign No. 6: Gut feeling that something’s wrong

I’m a firm believer in a mother’s “sixth sense,” or gut intuition. You know your child best, so if something doesn’t seem right, call your doctor. It’s better to address your concerns early on, so we can catch any illnesses as soon as possible.

Summer Camp Health Tips – a Pediatrician’s Point of View

Summer camp experiencesLetting go of your child for a day, a week or even a month of camp during the summer is often a very difficult thing for parents to do, and initially, might be very difficult for the child. Most children, however, when they return from such an experience almost invariably have enjoyed themselves and gotten the first taste of living without parents. This can be an extraordinary experience for your child as he or she learns to live and be accountable for certain rules and restrictions.

Of course, you as a parent will worry the first couple of times your children go off “by themselves”. It may help to know that every camp is equipped with fairly up to date equipment and at least a very experienced nurse or Doctor. I myself did this (physician for an overnight camp for a 6 week period) just as I completed my Pediatric Residency and prepared to enter the Air Force. It was a rewarding experience for me and my family.

Most incidences of a medical nature are minor although very rarely a serious issue may occur. When you first apply for the camp for your child they will ask for a complete medical history including chronic or serious conditions that your child may have and any and all allergies, medication or non-medication related. This is an extremely important bit of information so try to be as specific as possible.

Teach your child ahead of time about the importance of such simple things as the proper use of insect repellents and sun blocks as these constitute the causes of the majority of the “problems” in the camp setting. They must also need to be taught the importance of reporting to the nurse or physician any issues they are worried about or are experiencing, as some children will do all they can to avoid seeing these people. If your child has a chronic disease such as asthma, he or she must be aware of the problems they can experience as a result of their illness and report such occurrences to the medical staff. Of course, the medical staff will also be familiar with such individual problems. They should also know about how to self-medicate (inhaler, etc.) if necessary.

Poison Ivy is also a very common occurrence as children spend more time outdoors, they should be told what it looks like and feels like so they can see the medical staff when necessary.

Other “problems” are injury-related and should be brought to the attention of the medical staff – fortunately the majority of these are also of a minor nature.

Finally, they will likely be taught about insects and other critters that can be encounter in the wild during the first days or weeks of camp; snakes, small mammals, spiders, etc. The camp staff will be very particular and complete when describing such encounters and will err on the side of conservatism while they are in charge of your child.

Wishing you and your kids a happy, healthy, and safe summer.

Will Immunotherapy Reduce My Child’s Allergies…Is It Worth It?

Allergy shotsImmunotherapy is a series of injections that helps build the body’s immunity to substances that trigger allergy symptoms. Each shot contains a tiny amount of the offending allergen. Over time, your immune system builds up a tolerance, which means that those sniffles and watery eyes lessen or even disappear.

Since immunotherapy is a commitment — the entire course takes years — it’s recommended for people who have multiple allergies and suffer from symptoms at least three months out of the year. Speak with your pediatrician about your child. Most doctors, including myself, advise that children should be at least 5 years of age to start allergy shots.

If your child is a candidate, consider whether or not you’d be able to take him to the doctor’s office regularly. He’ll need to get shots once a week for several months, and then once a month or so for two to five more years.

Next, check in with your insurance company. Most cover immunotherapy, but some have a yearly maximum or deductible. It’s important to have a clear idea of what’s covered before you begin treatment.

The good news:

  • 85 to 95 percent of patients experience a significant improvement in their allergy symptoms.
  • And for most, those benefits last for life.
  • What’s more, immunotherapy will protect your child from developing allergy-induced asthma and other types of allergies.

Has anyone in your family tried immunotherapy? Did it work?