If your child is in school, they may need to have an annual physical before beginning their school year. However, you may not know why they need this doctor’s visit or how it can benefit them. Luckily, your child’s pediatrician can help you understand this requirement and ensure that your child’s health remains in tip-top shape. Find out more about school physicals and why they are necessary with your child’s pediatricians Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, Dr. Pamela Kilbride or Dr. Sheila Mak at Clearwater Pediatric Care with locations in Westchase and Clearwater, FL.
What does a school physical involve?
A child grows at a rapid pace, allowing for many changes within a single year. Annual visits to the doctor to assess your child’s growth and development ensures they develop at a normal rate and that any issues, physical or developmental, are caught and treated early. Your doctor will use a physical examination to assess your child and ask a series of questions to assess many aspects of your child’s health, including sleep, nutrition, and their general well-being. These visits also give your pediatrician the chance to catch your child up on any vaccines they may require that year.
Does my child need a school physical?
Your child’s school will inform you if your child requires a school physical prior to the start of the school year. Younger children starting kindergarten will most likely require their 4/5 year vaccines at their physical. After starting school for the first time, your child will probably require a school physical every two years. Teenagers will also most likely need a physical every two years, but most schools require a yearly physical if the student plays a sport. Consult with your child’s school or coach to ensure that they are up to date on their school physical.
School Physicals in Clearwater and Tampa
For more information on school physicals, please contact your child’s pediatrician at Clearwater Pediatric Care. Call (727) 461-1543 to schedule your appointment at the Clearwater, FL location and (813) 818-1543 to schedule your appointment at the Westchase, FL location today!
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.
The Centers for Disease Control says that asthma accounts for 1.6 million visits to hospital emergency rooms in the United States annually. Overall, about eight percent of children suffer from asthma. To avoid trips to the hospital, missed school days and sporting events and decreased overall well-being, the pediatricians of Clearwater and Westchase Pediatric Care partner with parents of asthmatic youngsters to manage this sometimes difficult chronic respiratory condition. Your child can breathe better and live well with proper asthma care in Westchase and Clearwater, FL.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma involves inflammation of the airway from the trachea on down to the smallest of bronchioli and alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. Triggered by stress, exercise, weather changes and/or allergens, an acute asthma attack can include:
- Wheezing from constricted airways
- Muscular spasms
- Shortness of breath
- Decreased blood oxygen levels as measured by pulse oximetry
- Persistent coughing, particularly at night
Your pediatrician considers asthma poorly controlled when children's normal activities become limited and if they are symptomatic more than twice a week.
Control is key
You can get great help for your child's asthma in Westchase and Clearwater, FL. Of utmost importance is identifying what brings on, or triggers, an asthma attack. Is it exercise, cold weather, the family pet or something else?
Next, your pediatrician will formulate an asthma action plan to include:
- Measuring and charting peak flow of expelled air with a Peak Flow Meter (typically, peak flow begins to drop as asthma symptoms increase)
- Use of prescription medications such as fast-acting inhalers and maintenance steroids to reduce inflammation
- Documentation of symptoms, triggers (including things your child is allergic to) and what relieves them
- When to call Clearwater and Westchase Pediatric Care
- When to go to the hospital emergency room
Are you concerned about childhood asthma?
You and your child can breathe easier when you seek help from your Westchase pediatrician. If you need immediate help for an asthma-related issue or need some additional counseling on asthma control, please contact Clearwater or Westchase Pediatric Care. Call (727) 461-1543 in Clearwater. In Westchase, phone (813) 818-1543.
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.
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