The importance of immunizations
Childhood immunizations are one of the most important safeguards against communicable diseases and their serious, long-term complications. Your pediatrician closely adheres to the vaccination schedules published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why? Well, there's nothing more important than your youngster's health and well-being, and immunizations effectively guard them.
Just what is an immunization?
Most immunizations are given as "shots," or injections, but some, such as the Rotavirus vaccine, are oral medications. However administered, vaccines boost your child's immune system in its battle against diseases which easily spread from person to person.
Each vaccine contains a small amount of a killed or weakened micro-organisms. These altered viruses or bacteria raise the body's defenses against a particular illness such as chicken pox. pneumonia, polio, tetanus, and more...up to 14 in all by time your child is two years old, says the CDC.
Are immunizations necessary?
Your pediatrician, his or her colleagues and decades of research prove that vaccines protect the health of individual children and of the community at large. Also called herd immunity, community immunity works best when as many babies and youngsters receive all their "shots" on schedule. Community immunity protects youngsters who cannot receive vaccines because of cancer treatment, HIV infection or other serious reason. It also shields the general population when people travel from countries which cannot provide access to these important medications.
Both the AAP and the CDC publish and recommend set vaccine schedules carried out at well-baby and well-child visits at the doctor's office. In addition, there is a "catch-up" schedule for children who have begun their immunizations late or had them interrupted by illness or other serious concern.
Your pediatrician's services
They're so important. Your child's doctor keeps your child's immunization records and can distribute them to schools, camps, college, sports, daycare and other organizations who require proof of up-to-date vaccines. The doctor also monitors your child for any adverse reactions, although typically, vaccines produce no more than:
- Localized redness and soreness at the injection site
- Low grade fever
- Pain and swelling
Cold Vs. Flu
Is it a cold or the flu? When it comes to your child's health, your pediatrician provides great information and guidance on the most common illnesses plaguing families. If you are wondering about the exact nature of your child's illness and how to treat it, learn the differences between a cold and the flu and how to treat and prevent them.
What is a cold?
A cold is an upper respiratory viral infection lasting 5 to 7 days in both adults and children alike. Generally milder in intensity and shorter in duration than influenza, a cold causes:
- Watery eyes
- A runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- High fever
- Body aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Severe headache
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Avoid crowds during peak cold and flu season.
- Keep your child home from daycare and school if he or she is sick.
- Teach your child to cover his or her mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Don't share food or utensils, even with family members.
- Vaccinate against the flu. Ask your pediatrician for your child's "shot."
Even though you try as hard as possible to keep your child safe while they are playing sports, accidents still happen. At these moments, it’s important that you know whether these are injuries that can easily be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether you need to turn to a pediatrician for proper medical attention.
Pediatricians have seen a lot of sports-related injuries over the years and while we also focus as much of our attention on prevention, we know the importance of being able to get immediate and comprehensive care when your child does sustain an injury.
Common sports-related injuries include:
- Dislocations (particularly in the shoulder)
- Traumatic injuries (this includes cuts, sprains and strains, and broken bones)
- Stress fractures
- Tendinitis (often in the hand or wrist)
When a dislocation happens many times it is accompanied by an audible popping sound at the moment that the injury occurred. This unnerving sound is often followed by sudden and intense pain. It’s important that you turn to a pediatrician who can put the shoulder or any other area of the body back in place. The joints of a child’s body are looser than adults, so it makes shoulders and other areas more prone to dislocations.
Minor cuts, sprains, and strains can often be handled with at-home care. In most cases, the RICE method is a great way to ensure that your child gets the rest they need to heal properly and to stay off of the injury until it fully heals. Icing and elevating the injured area can also reduce pain and swelling. Of course, if you suspect that your child has a broken bone, this will need to be evaluated by a medical professional right away.
Children who are serious or long-term athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries. These injuries occur over time rather than suddenly and they are often the result of performing repetitive movements. Overuse injuries include stress fractures and tendinitis. If your child feels pain whenever they move a certain area of the body or if they notice pain or swelling in a certain area it’s important that they get checked out.
Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your child’s head while playing sports. Of course, if your child has received a blow to the head and is experiencing dizziness, fatigue, frequent or severe headaches or just seems out of sorts it’s crucial that you bring them in right away to see if they’ve incurred a concussion.
When in doubt, pick up the phone and talk to a pediatrician about your child’s injuries and symptoms. They will be able to determine whether or not they should come in for proper care.
No two children are ever the same and while you certainly want to let your child discover their unique personality it is important to know when these differences in your little one might mean that it’s time to schedule a behavioral or development consultation with a pediatrician.
Whether you’ve noticed that your child has difficulty making friends, doesn’t have any interests or seems to throw more temper tantrums then other kids their age, it’s important to not only be able to pinpoint these differences but also find out what might be causing them. This is where a behavioral or developmental consultation could benefit both your child and your family.
When you hear the words “behavioral consultation” it sounds pretty disconcerting; however, there are many reasons why parents bring their children in for these visits. Perhaps your preschooler hasn’t started talking yet, or your child has difficulties interacting socially with other children. Maybe their academics are falling behind or they aren’t able to keep up with the challenges of school. When scenarios like this arise a behavioral consultation is the best way to be able to figure out what might be going on and what our pediatric team can do to help get your child back on track.
While some of these situations may be due to behavioral disorders, it is also possible that there are certain developmental delays that could also be responsible for these behaviors. There are developmental milestones that every child must reach physically and mentally. No matter whether your child is displaying signs of an autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, or is having difficulties with social situations, sleep, anxiety, aggression or impulsivity, it is important that they visit a children’s doctor for an evaluation.
Whatever concerns you might have about your little one, it’s important that you turn to a pediatrician that you can trust to perform a thorough behavioral consultation while also providing compassionate care and support. It’s essential that your child has everything they need to be successful in their personal, academic and social life and by assessing, diagnosing and treating any behavioral or developmental disorders early, we can provide your child with the treatment they need to lead a healthy and happy life.
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.
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