Posts for category: Children's Health Care
Find out why all children need a back-to-school physical.
It might be hard to think of back-to-school physicals right now, but before you know it, summer will be flying by, and you’ll be getting your kids ready for another school year. Don’t forget about your child’s school physical, especially since these physicals book up quickly with our Westchase, FL, pediatricians.
What is a school physical?
Sometimes referred to as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE), this simple checkup is essential for evaluating your child’s health as a whole and pinpointing any potential issues they may have, such as changes in vision or other health problems that could impact their ability to participate in school or certain activities including physical activity.
But my child goes in once a year for a doctor’s checkup. Isn’t that enough?
While it’s important for your child to see their doctor at least once a year (or more often, depending on their age), this won’t take the place of this physical. A back-to-school physical is explicitly focused on the parts of their health. If your child is going to play sports, they must undergo a comprehensive school physical with our Westchase, FL, pediatrician.
What happens during a school physical?
Several things will occur during your child’s checkup. First, our nurses will come in to check their vital signs (e.g., heart rate; blood pressure) and record their height and weight.
After this, your doctor will go through your child’s medical history. It’s important to document any past illnesses, hospitalizations, surgeries, injuries, or current symptoms they are experiencing (e.g., abdominal pain; wheezing). Any information you provide can help our doctor identify possible problems that may require treatment.
Lastly, our pediatrician will perform your child’s physical exam. During this exam, every area of the body is thoroughly examined, from head to toe, to make sure everything is healthy and functioning correctly. We will listen to the heart and lungs, check your child’s reflexes, examine their posture, test their reflexes, and check everything we need to protect your child from potential health problems.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your child’s school physical. All it takes is a quick call to our Clearwater or Westchase, FL, office. Call Clearwater Pediatric Care at (727) 461-1543 or (813) 818-1543 today.
Find out how to best manage your child’s allergy symptoms.
Childhood allergies are actually pretty common. In fact, as many as 50 million Americans, including children, have some kind of allergy. Whether your little one is allergic to hay fever during the spring and summer months or they are dealing with food allergies, our Clearwater and Westchase, FL, pediatricians are here to provide the care and support you and your child need to get their allergies under control.
What are the different kinds of allergies?
There are a lot of things that surround us that can cause an allergic reaction, but the most common allergens tend to be:
- Pollen (also known as hay fever)
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Foods (often eggs, shellfish, wheat, and nuts)
- Insect bites or stings
What are the symptoms of an allergy?
If your child has an airborne allergy (e.g. pollen; mold) then you may find that they experience symptoms such as:
- Red, itchy, or watery eyes (this can also be a symptom of conjunctivitis)
- Itchy nose
- Scratchy throat
- Stuffy nose
If your child is allergic to certain medications, foods, or insect bites/stings, symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening. If your child begins wheezing, is having trouble breathing or experiences lightheadedness it’s important that you seek emergency medical attention right away. Other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, hives, and a stomachache should also be evaluated by our Clearwater and Westchase children’s doctors if they are reoccurring.
Of course, you won’t know whether your child’s symptoms are due to allergies or not unless you bring them in for testing. The sooner we figure out what allergies your child has the sooner we will be able to provide an individualized treatment plan for them.
Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care in Clearwater and Westchase, FL, are here to help your little one find the relief they need from their allergy symptoms. If you suspect your child might have allergies call our office today to schedule an appointment with us.
Has your child received the immunizations he or she needs to stay healthy? The Clearwater and Westchase, FL, pediatricians at Clearwater and Westchase Pediatric Care explain why vaccinating your child against common illnesses is important.
Immunizations protect your child and your community
Immunizations prevent your child from catching a range of communicable diseases, including whooping cough, measles, meningitis and chicken pox. Although chicken pox and whooping cough may seem like minor childhood illnesses, they can have serious consequences and may even result in death, in some cases.
You probably read about an increase in whooping cough cases in Florida and other parts of the country this past winter. It's only in the past few years, that whooping cough has become a problem, due to a reluctance by some parents to fully vaccinate their children against illnesses or even vaccinate them at all. Unfortunately, whooping cough can be a very serious illness, particularly in young children and babies. Coughing may be so severe and constant that children may not be able to breathe, eat or drink.
Vaccines were essential in decreasing or eradicating many serious childhood disease in the past, including smallpox and polio. Although some children should not have immunizations due to certain medical conditions, most children can be safely immunized. It was once believed that vaccines were the cause of autism, but research studies have found no link between autism and immunizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Immunizing your child not only protects him or her, but also protects other people in your family and community. When the majority of people are vaccinated, they can't contract diseases and pass them along to babies and young children who aren't old enough to receive vaccines yet. Mass immunizations also protect older people who have weak immune systems and others who have diseases that compromise their immune systems.
Most children who receive vaccinations in our Westchase or Clearwater office only experience mild, temporary side effects from vaccines, such as a low fever or irritability. These side effects only last a day or two, but the benefits of immunizations last many years.
Protect your child's health by ensuring that he or she receives recommended immunizations. Make an appointment with Westchase Pediatric Care in Westchase by calling (813) 818-1542 or Clearwater Pediatric Care in Clearwater by calling (727) 461-1543.
The tonsils are oval-shaped, pink masses of tissue on both sides of the throat. They are part of the body's immune system, designed to fight off bacteria and viruses that try to enter the body through the mouth. Sometimes common illnesses are too much for the tonsils to handle, and the tonsils become infected themselves. This condition is known as tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils that can cause a sore throat and discomfort for your little one.
Tonsillitis is common in children, but it can occur at all ages. Many cases of tonsillitis in elementary-aged kids are caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu. Bacterial infections, particularly streptococcus (strep), can also cause an infection of the tonsils.
If your child has tonsillitis, his or her main symptom will be a sore throat. It may be painful to eat, drink or swallow. Other common signs of infected tonsils include:
- Red, tender and enlarged tonsils
- Yellow or white coating on tonsils
- Swollen, painful lymph nodes in the neck
- Bad Breath
If your child’s symptoms suggest tonsillitis, call your pediatrician. Your child will need to visit a pediatrician to determine whether it is a bacterial or viral infection, which can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam and a throat culture.
If bacteria caused the child’s tonsillitis, then antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the infection. If a virus causes it, then the body will fight the infection on its own. Rest and drinking fluids can also help alleviate symptoms and ease pain. In some cases, if the child suffers from frequent episodes of tonsillitis or repeat infections over several years, your pediatrician may recommend a tonsillectomy, a common surgical procedure to remove the tonsils.
Because tonsillitis is contagious, kids should help protect others at school and home by washing hands frequently, not sharing cups or other personal utensils, and covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing.
Always contact your pediatrician when you have questions about your child’s symptoms and health.
It may seem like your teenager is ignoring you, but in reality, they may be having trouble hearing you. More and more we see kids listening to their MP3 players while doing homework, walking to school or riding in the car. The result? A surge in hearing loss.
For years, studies have shown that constant exposure to loud sound damages hearing. In fact, between the mid-1990s and 2006 there was a 31 percent increase in the prevalence of hearing problems among U.S. adolescents, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers suggest that one in every five teens today has some sort of hearing impairment.
Chronic exposure to loud noise may not cause hearing loss in the short term, but it can gradually result in irreversible hearing loss later in adult years. Even slight hearing loss can have a negative impact on a child’s academic success and social interaction. Warning signs of potential hearing loss include: difficulty following directions, asking that things be repeated, trouble with speech and language and listening to the TV at a high volume.
With the prevalence of music devices only gaining popularity, parents need to be particularly aware of their kids’ music-listening habits and educate them about the dangers of excessive noise.
To mitigate hearing loss, talk to your kids about how to use their music players properly to protect their ears from hearing damage.
- Teach kids to never play their music devices at full volume.
- Monitor your child’s music volume and frequency.
- If you can hear the music from the child’s ear buds, then the music is too loud.
- Explain to your child the importance of wearing ear protection when they are in an environment with loud noises for long periods of time, such as concerts.
The difficult truth about hearing loss is that in many cases it is not reversible, and it can even be progressive over time. Talk to your kids about the dangers of hearing loss now, and keep the volume and length of their listening to a minimum.
Whenever you have questions about your child’s hearing, talk to your pediatrician.