Posts for category: Child Care
Find out why every child will need to undergo a physical before the new school year.
By the time your child is old enough to go to school they will need to visit our Westchase, FL, pediatricians for annual back-to-school physicals to make sure that they are healthy. This doesn’t just protect your child’s health but also the health of others. If this is the first time your child is coming in for a school physical then it’s normal to have questions. Here’s what to expect at routine school physicals.
Reviewing Your Medical History
Since genetics often plays a key role in the development of certain health problems, it’s important to know the details of your child’s medical history including family history of certain chronic conditions including heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure.
By understanding your child’s genetic makeup and medical history, our Westchase, FL, children’s doctor can provide more thorough and tailored school physicals to assess your child’s risk for developing these health problems. With conditions that are preventable, we can help your child reduce their risk by helping them make certain lifestyle changes.
Checking Height, Weight, and Vital Signs
When you come into the office we will also want to record your child’s height and weight, as well as check their heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. Nearly one in every three children or teens in the US is overweight or obese, which can have a serious impact on your child’s health. From hypertension (high blood pressure) to high cholesterol, these issues need to be monitored. We can also provide you and your child with tips for how to get regular exercise and improving their diet to help them maintain a healthy body weight.
Performing a Physical Exam
The main purpose of a school physical is for our Westchase, FL, pediatrician to be able to examine all parts and areas of your child’s body to be able to check for past injuries, issues, symptoms, developmental problems or abnormalities. Since many kids are undergoing physicals in order to participate in sports, we will also want to make sure that they are healthy enough for their chosen sport and that certain conditions such as asthma are being properly managed through medication to prevent complications and issues from arising.
Children and teens will also need to follow a strict immunization schedule. Florida law states that there are certain vaccines that children and teens will have to get before they can go to school. Check Florida’s vaccine requirements and make sure that your child is up to date before the school year begins.
Clearwater Pediatric Care provides comprehensive pediatric medical care to children living in and around Clearwater and Westchase, FL. Call us today at (727) 461-1543 for our Clearwater, FL, office or (813) 818-1543 for our Westchase, FL, office to schedule your child’s upcoming school physical.
Though the words “chronic condition” are not something any parent wants to hear, childhood asthma is a problem that is both common and very manageable. If your child has been diagnosed with this condition, knowing what to do to keep it under control is crucial to your child’s short and long-term health. Read below to learn how to identify childhood asthma and manage its symptoms, and if you are concerned about your child's health, call Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, Dr. Sheila Mak, and Dr. Emily Jones at either Clearwater Pediatric Care or Westchase Pediatric Care.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition which causes breathing problems by narrowing the airways and causing extra mucus production, thereby triggering symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe to even life-threatening, all while affecting daily activities as simple as walking up the stairs. Though asthma cannot be cured, it can be managed with the proper precautions and treatments.
Does my child have asthma?
Asthma symptoms may differ from patient to patient and can occur at any time:
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing sound while breathing
- Whistling sound while breathing
- Coughing (especially overnight, in children)
Some people may have asthma induced by exercise or allergies, asthma triggered by certain fumes, gases, or dust, or have asthma symptoms which occur at random.
Asthma Management in Clearwater, FL, and Tampa, FL
Treating asthma depends on its severity and the patient who has it. Avoiding triggers to prevent asthma attacks can greatly reduce the instances of symptoms. Quick-relief and long-term asthma control medications are also a common treatment for this condition. Having an asthma action plan can help parents and children act quickly in the event of an attack and know what to do to avoid complications and get the help they need.
For more information on childhood asthma, please contact Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, Dr. Sheila Mak, and Dr. Emily Jones at Clearwater Pediatric Care (in Clearwater, FL) and Westchase Pediatric Care (in Tampa, FL). Call (727) 461-1543 to schedule an appointment in Clearwater or (813) 818-1543 to schedule an appointment at the Westchase office today!
A new baby needs a lot of things. From bottles and car seats to high chairs and baby monitors, an expectant parent has a lot of decisions and purchases to make before baby’s arrival. Considering your baby will spend a great deal of time here, a crib is one of the most important things a parent will buy.
Whether you’re shopping for a brand new crib or receiving a hand-me-down from a relative or friend, remember to evaluate your baby’s resting place carefully to ensure it meets all of the safety guidelines. You can visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website for information regarding all of these important safety standards.
There are many types of cribs available today, and parents will want to be educated about safety features and guidelines before choosing one for their baby. Here are a few helpful tips from the AAP:
- Make sure the crib meets current safety standards before purchasing it. As of June 28, 2011, new federal safety standards prohibit the manufacture or sale of drop-side rail cribs. The standards also require stronger hardware and increased durability.
- If you have a crib that was manufactured before the new safety standards were enacted, contact the manufacturer to see if they offer hardware to keep the drop side from being raised or lowered. Consider buying a new crib that meets the stronger standards, if possible.
- Read and follow the directions carefully for setting up, using and caring for the crib.
- Regularly inspect your crib’s screws and hardware, and tighten them as necessary.
- The mattress should fit snugly in the crib to prevent the baby from slipping between the mattress and the crib sides. As a general rule, no more than two of your fingers should fit between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- Do not use the crib if there are any missing, damaged or broken parts, and never substitute original parts with pieces from a hardware store. Always contact the crib manufacturer for replacement materials.
- Be sure to inspect every crib your child uses—from grandma’s house to the day care center—for safety.
- Visit the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if your crib has been recalled.
- The slats of the crib should be no more than 2 3⁄8 inches apart, as widely spaced slats can trap the infant.
- All surfaces of the crib should be covered with lead-free paint, and the wood should be smooth and free of splinters.
Remember, your baby will spend many hours in his or her crib. Take special care to ensure that your baby’s sleeping place offers very little opportunity for injuries and problems. You can learn more about crib safety standards, as well as safe bedding practices by visiting www.healthychildren.org and www.cpsc.gov, or by contacting your pediatrician for more information.
A hit to the head during a soccer game or a hard fall from skateboarding may result in a serious head injury and even a concussion. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes a concussion as any injury to the brain that disrupts normal brain function on a temporary or permanent basis. These injuries are typically caused by a blow to the head, most often occurring while playing contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, wrestling or skateboarding.
For some children, concussions only last for a short while. Other times, a person can have symptoms of a concussion that last for several days or weeks following the injury. Not all symptoms of concussions will be obvious, and in some cases take several hours to set in. Look for these signs of a concussion if your child suffers a head injury:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Memory loss or confusion
- Poor concentration
- Vision problems
- Irritability or changes in mood
- Sensitivity to light or noise
Seek Medical Attention
If your child injures his head or you believe he may have a concussion, it is important that the child discontinues play immediately and visits a healthcare provider for an evaluation. All concussions are serious and should be monitored right away. A pediatrician can properly diagnose the concussion and its severity, and then make appropriate treatment recommendations.
Rest from all activities is the best treatment for concussions. Your pediatrician can make appropriate recommendations for when the child should return to future play. Recovery time depends on the child and the severity of the concussion.
Preventing Head Injuries
Not all head injuries can be avoided, but you can do a few important things to prevent them.
- Buckle Up. Make sure your child is properly buckled up in a seat belt, car seat or booster seat.
- Safety Gear. If your child plays sports, make sure he wears appropriate headgear and other safety equipment.
- Awareness. Children should be taught how to play safe and understand the importance of reporting any type of head injury to their parent or coach.
All head injuries should be taken seriously. Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent serious complications. It’s never a bad idea to contact your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns about your child’s head injury.
Whether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging. Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends. Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use. In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.
While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?
Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground
Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:
- Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.
- Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts.
- Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
- Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
- Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
- Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
- Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
- Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
- Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.
Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun. To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior. Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.