Posts for category: Children's Healthcare
Does your child need a physical in order to participate in a sport? School physicals, offered by your Clearwater and Westchase, FL, pediatricians at Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care, ensure that your child is healthy enough to play sports.
Why are physicals important?
School physicals identify issues that could threaten your child's health or affect his or her performance on the playing field. If the physical uncovers any health issues, the pediatrician will recommend appropriate treatments. In some cases, your child may not be cleared to play until the health condition is treated or controlled.
What happens during a school physical?
During a school physical, also called a sports physical, your child's pediatrician evaluates his or her health and ability to handle physical activity.
Your son or daughter's Clearwater or Westchase pediatrician will measure your child's height, weight and blood pressure. He or she will also listen to your child's heart and lungs; examine eyes, ears, mouth, and nose; and look for abdominal abnormalities. If your son or daughter isn't up-to-date on vaccinations, he or she will receive them during the visit.
Sports physicals also focus on issues that could affect your child's health during a game or practice, such as scoliosis, heart conditions, asthma or other breathing issues, or joint instabilities. If your child has been injured in the past, the pediatrician will make sure that your son or daughter has recovered sufficiently to practice and play this season.
School physicals may also include:
- Information about avoiding injuries: Your child's pediatrician may discuss how to prevent new injuries or avoid aggravating an old injury. Proper use of protective gear, such as helmets, pads, and goggles will also be discussed.
- Discussions about healthy habits: During the physical, your child may learn about healthy food choices and the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol.
- Recommendations for handling chronic conditions: Suggestions for managing conditions that can affect performance, such as asthma, will help your child avoid problems while playing. For example, his or her pediatrician may recommend using an inhaler before practices and games and taking more frequent breaks.
School physicals help safeguard your child's health. Schedule a physical with the pediatricians at Westchase Pediatric Care or Clearwater Pediatric Care by calling (813) 818-1543 for the Westchase, FL, office or (727) 461-1543 for the Clearwater, FL, office.
Is your child suffering from allergies? Read below to learn the warning signs.
From sneezing and coughing when playing outside to experiencing a stomach ache after eating certain foods, there are many warning signs that your little one might be dealing with allergies. Allergies are one of the most common chronic illnesses in the US, and from our office in Westchase, FL, pediatricians Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, and Dr. Sheila Mak all understand the symptoms and signs of childhood allergies and can determine what treatment option is best for the situation.
Allergy Symptoms in Children
The symptoms your child exhibits will depend on the type of allergen they are sensitive to. Common allergy symptoms include:
- Rashes or hives
- Asthma, wheezing, or trouble breathing
- Coughing and sneezing
- Runny nose
- Stuffed up nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting
If your child is recurringly experiencing these symptoms, it’s time to make an appointment with a pediatrician to find out what might be causing their symptoms.
Treating Your Child’s Allergies
There are many things that can be done to help manage your child’s symptoms and to make sure that their daily life and activities aren’t impacted. Here are two approaches that our Westchase, FL, children’s doctors might recommend to treat your child’s symptoms:
Avoiding the Allergen
Okay, so this might sound rather obvious but sometimes it’s not always that easy to stay away from the allergen. Depending on the cause of your child’s symptoms, this may mean cutting back on time spent playing outdoors or keeping windows and doors closed during allergy season.
It’s also important that your child is bathing and washing their hair, especially after playing outside or spending time outdoors. Doing this will prevent the allergen from getting into their bedding and causing symptoms to flare up. Furthermore, keeping your home clean, dusted, and vacuumed will reduce exposure to the allergen.
One of the most common medications used to treat allergy symptoms is an antihistamine. Depending on the severity of your child’s symptoms, they may be able to take a simple over-the-counter medication or they may require a prescription-strength form. Sometimes decongestants or nasal sprays can also help with stuffy noses, breathing issues due to nasal swelling and congestion, and facial pressure and pain. Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, may be recommended in some cases.
Interested? Give Us a Call!
Here at Clearwater Pediatric Care, we are dedicated to providing children living in Westchase and Clearwater, FL, with the quality and comprehensive pediatric care they deserve. If your child is suffering from allergy symptoms, call our office today for an evaluation: 813-818-1543 for Westchase, 727-461-1543 for Clearwater.
In infants, toddlers and preschoolers, the most frequent cause of sore throats is a viral infection. No specific medicine is required when a virus is responsible, and the child should get better over a seven to ten day period. During this period, your child may develop a fever, but they generally are not very sick.
It is not uncommon to experience a sore throat when your child has a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, there are other reasons for sore throats to develop that may be symptomatic of more serious problems. Children tend to have sore throats more often than adolescents or adults, with sore throats being the most common during the winter months when upper respiratory infections are more frequent.
The major cause of a sore throat is an infection, whether it is viral or bacterial, and can also be caused by allergies and environmental conditions. If your child has a sore throat that lasts longer than the typical five to seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, it is important to contact your local pediatrician. The following are signs and symptoms to alert you to take your child to the pediatrician:
- Severe and prolonged sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Joint pain
- Fever that is over 101 degrees
- Frequent recurring sore throat
- Lump in the neck
- Hoarseness lasting over two weeks
At the first onset of a sore throat it is always important to monitor the progress and recognize any other symptoms that may accompany the sore throat, which could cause it to worsen into strep throat, inflamed tonsils, or laryngitis. Contact your pediatrician if your child is experiencing a sore throat that won’t go away. Your pediatrician will help diagnose and treat your child’s symptoms.
Many people mistake a common cold for sinusitis, and vice versa, as the symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection can be quite similar to each other because the same viruses often cause both conditions. Additionally, since the nose and sinuses are connected, it is possible for viruses to move easily between the nasal passages and the sinuses.
Your child may feel run down, have a low-grade fever, post-nasal drip and a sore throat. So is it a common cold or a sinus infection? Typically, a cold can definitely morph into a sinus infection, but there are some classic symptoms for each illness that can help distinguish between the two.
The Common Cold
With a cold, there is a cluster of symptoms that your child might be experiencing, including:
- Nasal congestion
- A run-down feeling
- Runny nose with clear discharge
- Sore throat
- Post nasal drip
- Fever may be seen in children, but not often in adults
If your child has a cold, they may even experience a cough or a headache, and it can often last from three to seven days with or without any treatment. Your child develops a cold from a virus in which the symptoms usually build slowly over the course of a day or two, peak by days three or four, then slowly improve around the fifth or seventh day.
With a cold, treatment might include supportive care, fluids and chicken soup. Drinking plenty of water is also beneficial as it helps to hydrate your child. By hydrating your child through water consumption, you can help to flush out the infection because it liquefies the mucus. There are also medications available to help make your child more comfortable as the cold passes.
Sometimes colds can set in the sinuses and cause swelling, which then prevents the flow of mucus and turns the cold into a sinus infection. Sinusitis is the inflammation of the sinuses that can be caused by a cold, an infection or allergies. Any swelling of the sinuses can produce symptoms such as:
- Pressure or pain behind the eyes or cheeks
- Pain in the top teeth
- Green or yellow nasal drainage
- Post nasal drip
Your child may also complain of being tired, having a difficult time breathing through his or her nose, decreased sense of smell and restless sleep. If your child develops a cold every month or every other month, this is because his or her sinuses are flaring up and it is probably not a cold, but chronic sinusitis.
The main difference between a common cold and sinusitis is that a cold comes around once a year and lasts for three to five days, and then is gone and your child most likely will not experience it again until next year. Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than four weeks, with chronic sinusitis lasting more than 12 weeks. So if your child’s symptoms last more than a week, odds are they are experiencing a sinus infection and should visit your pediatrician.
By visiting your child’s pediatrician, you can help your child breathe easy once again. Whether it is a common cold, or a more serious sinus infection, your child’s pediatrician is available to help relieve their symptoms.
Generally, a fever is brought on by an infection from a virus or bacterial infection. While many times a parent’s first instinct is to worry when their child has a fever, it’s not necessarily a sign that something serious is taking place. That’s because a fever is the body’s normal, infection-fighting response to infection and in many cases is considered a good sign that the child’s body is trying to heal itself.
When to Visit Your Pediatrician
Fevers are one of the most common reasons parents seek medical care for their child. Most of the time, however, fevers require no treatment.
When a child has a fever, he may feel warm, appear flushed or sweat more than normal—these are all common signs. So, when does a child’s fever warrant a pediatrician’s attention?
You should call your pediatrician immediately if the child has a fever and one or more of the following:
- Exhibits very ill, lethargic, unresponsive or unusually fussy behavior
- Complains of a stiff neck, severe headache, sore throat, ear pain, unexplained rash, painful urination, difficulty breathing or frequent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
- Has a seizure
- Is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
- Fever repeatedly rises above 104°F for a child of any age
- Child still feels ill after fever goes away
- Fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years or more than 3 days in a child 2 years of age and older
All children react differently to fevers. If your child appears uncomfortable, you can keep him relaxed with a fever-reducing medication until the fever subsides. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions about recommended dosage. Your child should also rest and drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Popsicles are great options that kids can enjoy!
For many parents, fevers can be scary, particularly in infants. Remember, the fever itself is just the body’s natural response to an illness, and letting it run its course is typically the best way for the child to fight off the infection. Combined with a little TLC and a watchful eye, your child should be feeling normal and fever-free in no time.
Whenever you have a question or concern about your child’s health and well being, contact your Clearwater pediatrician for further instruction.