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Stress Free Visits to the Doctor Helping Baby Meet the Pediatrician

Having a baby is one of the best gifts a parent could ever receive. While the baby is growing, he will encounter a lot of changes which may affect his overall health. During his first years, he will be subjected to certain activities like immunization and he will also be encountering some of the unwanted illnesses which require the attention of a pediatrician. For most children, seeing a doctor is associated with pain and parents might have a hard time going to the clinic. Below are some tips to have stress-free visits to the doctor:

Practice with Your Child at Home

Like adults, most babies feel uncomfortable when visiting the doctor. This is because all the babies think about is getting poked, and you will find it very hard to make the baby calm when you are already at the clinic for some checkup. But you can make him more comfortable doing these visits with you by practicing what is going to happen in the clinic at home. To make your baby more comfortable, you can perform what the doctors normally do during a checkup like pressing his belly, looking inside his ear with a pen light, and opening his mouth for you to take a look at. After doing your part, you can ask your baby to do the same to one of his favorite toys. It is recommended that you keep practicing for three days prior to the scheduled visit so that your baby could get used to it.

Schedule the Appointment in the Morning

If you think that waiting for your turn at clinics is stressful enough, you will not imagine the inconvenience of doing it with your impatient child. At first, your child might not get all cranky, but certainly, he will do so when he gets bored. Chances are, when it is your turn already, your child is already put off from waiting a long time. In order to avoid this from happening, make sure that you schedule your appointment early in the morning. This is because during the morning, everybody else is busy at work; hence there is not much waiting time for you and your baby.

Plan Your Visit

After your child has been examined, and if in case he gets some shots, it is very certain that he would want to go home immediately. When this happens, you will not get the chance to organize your thoughts and ask everything you want to know. You can make your visits to the doctor worthwhile by planning ahead. Before the day of your scheduled appointment, list down all the things that you want to ask and start the conversation before the doctor begins his examination. By doing this, you are giving your child the time he needs to get comfortable with the place and your child and his pediatrician are going to have a little bonding time before doing all the tests and checkups which is good for the child, and to make all his fears go away.

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Undergoing Eye Examinations: What You Can Do to Help Your Child

Every examination undergone by the child, every trip to the hospital or any consultation with a healthcare personnel may signal a child that there is probably something wrong with his body. This is but a normal occurrence, but as parents, we do not want our children to suffer a great deal especially when all that we’re doing has only something that involves preventive or precautionary measures. As parents, we have to make sure that our toddlers or pre-schoolers do not develop a sense of fear or anger towards any individual in the hospital or clinic donning a white uniform or wearing a stethoscope.

This situation also holds true for doctors who are tasked at taking care of our child’s eyes. The family physician may be able to do the initial check for eye problems but when it becomes more serious, for instance, an eye infection, another doctor may be needed specifically an ophthalmologist which will, in turn, another relatively threatening situation for the child. As parents, we have to be able to help our child for such transition of healthcare provider as well as let our child be more submissive to treatment or procedure options.

When a child undergoes an eye examination, it will be to your advantage to talk about what will happen inside the clinic or examination room. For example, you may want to narrate stories about how important our sense of sight is. Additionally, you may want to also inform your child that in cases of problems with the eyes, a doctor may need to let mommy put some eye drops to make the situation better in cases of blurry vision or eye infection. You may also want to tackle more specific procedures done in the eye center like a penlight being pointed in the eyes for a very short time just to check the colors of the eyes for instance. These are but some measures you may need to take to reassure your child of whatever might be done by the doctor. Also, make sure that either you cuddle your child or sit beside him to make your presence known and felt.

 

If the child is already able to understand charts, he may also need to be instructed about using his hands in order to mimic whatever is in the chart. Herein, a kid who may have problems at home prior to the visit may not be very cooperative; that is why, again, it is crucial to explain to the child in the simplest terms possible the importance of the eye check-up. Also, remind your child that the Snellen chart is not really to decipher if he is a smart kid or not. There are eye patches given but for children who are competitive and who want to be correct or right, there is a tendency to peek through the patches during the exam.

Finally, remember that these tests should be undergone by a child not only during birth but also when he hits six months, three and five years old. Thereafter, you have to accompany him every year or as the need arises. Whether the professional involved is an ophthalmologist, optometrist or an optician, the important thing you should be wary of is that the personnel involved is duly recognized to avoid any unnecessary problem that may arise in the process.

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Baby Has a Secret: Medical Conditions that Your Infant Can’t Tell You About

Babies are a melting pot of all things cute and cuddly, that is, until they get sick. Then you never know what to do with them. When your precious little one becomes ill, she can’t tell you what hurts, where and how it started. She won’t be able to say what could make it all better, so you’re pretty much left to try and err. Even doctors have several diagnoses, especially when the only symptom is incessant crying.

If you have a child who is under two years old, you may need to play detective to know what’s wrong with him or her. Here are the most commonly missed ailments in babies and toddlers, and how to make sure you are getting your little one treated for the right condition:

Strep Throat

If a five – year old had a fever and said his throat hurt, his pediatrician would most likely test him for strep, but if a baby had a fever and a red throat, it would probably be another case. Strep throat is not very common among babies and toddlers, but if someone in the house has them, they can catch it. A reddish throat and a fever can be symptoms of other conditions, but it’s worth asking your pediatrician to do a strep test or a throat swab, just to rule out strep throat. This condition may seem like a common childhood infection, but when it is not managed well with antibiotics, it could descend down and cause joint pain and even heart damage.

Head Injury

They say babies are created with the capacity to survive minor falls, bumps, slips and little accidents. But then again, trauma to the head is an entirely different story. Parents should know where to draw the line between an innocent, harmless fall, and one that could cause head trauma.

Here’s the deal: If your little one falls and bumps his head, and you think rushing him to the doctor is impulsive, you will need to observe him closely for little symptoms of injury to the head. The most common sign is projectile vomiting. It’s not a spit up, but vomit that’s almost horizontal from his mouth to your shirt. This is actually caused by the sudden rise of pressure in your baby’s head. This sign alone is enough reason to bring him to the hospital.

You will be given instructions to wake your baby every couple hours. Dropping consciousness, difficulty rousing, or lethargy are also signs of head injury. If you notice these, you should definitely be on your way to the hospital. The worse sign is a seizure, which you may not be prepared for at home.

At the ER, your baby will be assessed by taking your baby’s health history, particularly the fall, palpating his skull, and shining a penlight into his eyes. If these are questionable, a CAT scan may be ordered. In fact, if your baby had already showed any of the symptoms above, a CAT scan would be the best way to go.

GERD

Spitting up is a normal event, especially during your baby’s first few months. Her digestive system is just starting to learn how to hold all that milk in. Sometimes, spitting up combined with non-stop screaming and body curling (a sign she has stomach pain) can be dismissed by the pediatrician as a harmless colic, a condition when baby swallows in too much air.

However, it may actually be a case of gastroesophaseal reflux disease, a condition wherein the sphincter that keeps the stomach tightly sealed after food has entered it does not work, so the food that’s mixed with digestive acids regurgitate back and upwards, causing intense pain and of course, spitting up. It may not seem like a big problem, however, babies who have GERD sooner or later manifest signs of poor growth and development. That is because majority of what they consume gets spitted up and is not absorbed for nutrients. If ignored, the constant rising of acids back to the esophagus can cause erosion, which means more pain and discomfort for your baby. Mild cases of GERD can usually be managed by thickening the baby’s milk with powdered rice, or by keeping his head elevated when he sleeps. Non-acidic foods and small frequent feedings also help.

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Essential Items You Should Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet

Ideally, every household should have a medicine cabinet, most especially if there are children around. The medicine cabinet is the first thing we have to manage minor accidents and injuries as well as uncomplicated medical conditions. Our medicine cabinet should contain all the essential items that we might need. Accidents usually happen when we least expect them to, that is why it is very important to be always prepared. Aside from preparation, knowing what each item is indicated for is also a necessity. Being prepared and knowing what to do when the situation arises are two of the most important skills parents and care takers should possess.

There are several essential must-have items for every medicine cabinet. The first essential item is drugs. Medicine cabinets should contain sufficient amounts of over the counter drugs as well as prescription medications that can last for at least 2 months. Over the counter drugs that need to be present are Tylenol and Ibuprofen. Popular brand names for Tylenol and Iburprofen includes acetaminophen, motrin and advil respectively. Both these medications manage fever and relieve minor aches, muscle discomforts, inflammations and swellings. Prescription drugs such as antibiotics, antihistamines, and antacids must also be included in the medicine cabinet. Benadryl antihistamines are effective for moderate allergies. Children who are hypersensitive to weather changes, certain foods and other external substances can benefit from this medication. Antihistamines are not only good for keeping indoors; it is also handy for people who go camping or to the beach. This medication can treat bee stings as well as jelly fish and sea weed rashes. Chewable antacids such as Emetrol can manage tummy aches and stomach upsets. It is also good to keep anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medications, the child might need it after eating an irritant.

The second must-have item for every medicine cabinet is an antibacterial ointment. Antibiotic topical creams and corticosteroids work on cuts, scrapes and wounds. This medication can help open wounds heal faster; it can also minimize pain, discomfort, swelling and infection.

The third essential item is a wound dressing kit. This kit must contain clean and sterile bandages, skin tapes and assorted band aids. Wound dressing kits must also have antiseptic solutions like alcohol, hyrdrogen peroxide and betadine as well as clean cotton balls and cotton applicators. Wounds that result from trauma and injury come in various shapes and sizes, cleaning and covering them properly is one of the most effective ways of infection control and healing.

The fourth must-have item every medicine cabinet should have is a thermometer and ice pack. These items are useful for children who have fever. Digital thermometers can accurately measure the febrile child’s temperature. Application of ice packs can help lower them. Ice packs can also be used to reduce bruising and swelling in minor injuries.

The final essential item every medicine cabinet should have is fluids and electrolytes. These substances contain important nutrients and minerals like sodium and potassium that can prevent dehydration. Conditions like diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating can lead to dehydration. 

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Tips on How to Get Rid of Lice

How does one rule out the condition called pediculosis? Of course, do not just rely on what others specifically the school might have told you; visually check for nits or live lice in your child’s hair. Once you are able to rule out the condition, then, it is time to do something about it. As you know, there are different methods of killing lice; some were even used by our parents in the past so, choose the one which you think will fit in your budget as well as your time sa some tasks are relatively time-consuming. For your work to be more effective and safer, it is best to consult a doctor especially when you will be using medicines.

You may want to go old-school. This would mean using your ever-dependent lice-comb. The use of a special lice comb as opposed to a lice-killing product called pediculicide may prove to be less harmful to the child. Otherwise known as the mechanical approach, using the lice-comb also helps a parent be able to check on wounds that might have existed because of the lice; this is especially true when you comb your child as he will be able to tell you if you might have struck something and have caused pain in the head. On your end, you might feel a slightly raised area. In doing this procedure, it is best to do it on a daily basis and to stick to that regular routine for a longer duration. Additionally, you may also want to set the task after your child has taken a bath as it is easier to catch the lice.

On the other hand, some parents will agree on using over-the-counter lice medication. This would mean the use of a pediculicide. These products are available in pharmacies and could be bought even without doctor’s prescription. The good thing is there is a range of product you may want to use from shampoo, gel, mousse, cream rinse and a lot more. As you would see on the label, you may have to reuse it again after nine days in order to make sure that no lice is spared.

You may also find other alternatives specifically those bought online that are not actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration but has been used by friends or relatives. However, be wary that these have not been proven to be safe.

And then you may also want to check out the sprouting lice-removal salons. These are centers whose personnel have been specifically trained to treat lice condition. Simply put, they’re lice experts. So, what you’ll only have to do is schedule an appointment and bear through the process of the services they offer. The only downside to this approach is that you will have to shell out more money as compared to lice comb and pediculicide.

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Preventing Dehydration in Children

The children’s immune system is still very weak that is why bacteria and viruses can invade their young bodies and cause them to have diseases. Their bodies’ defenses are still developing that is why they are so much prone to get sick from time to time. Often children are susceptible to have diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

The conditions mentioned above are easy to manage but sometimes it can lead to complications especially when parents fail to see the doctor for immediate medical attention. One of the most common complications that those diseases lead to is dehydration. Dehydration is defined as insufficient amount of fluids inside the body. Aside from diarrhea, vomiting, and fever, children can be dehydrated too when they are exposed under the heat of the sun for long hours without drinking water.

As parents it is very important for you to be watchful for the signs of dehydration. It is highly fatal and when left unmanaged, it can lead to death. Signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mucous membranes, crying with no tears, sunken eyes, dizziness, and the child did not urinate for the last ten twelve hours. When these symptoms are present in your child, make sure that you see your healthcare provider the soonest time before things get worst.

Just like on any condition, prevention will always be better than cure and that goes the same with dehydration. When your child has fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and been exposed to the extreme heat of the sun, here are some of the ways on how to prevent dehydration:

  • When your child loves to play outdoors, arrange the time on when he is going out. The sun is most harmful at 10 am to 4 pm so it would be best to have him exposed to the sun earlier or later than those times.
  • When outdoors, always have energy drinks for your child to drink. Energy drinks contain electrolytes that can replace what was lost on your child’s body because of sweating. If you do not have energy drinks, regular water will do.
  • When your child is sick, make sure that you continuously hydrate your child especially when fever, diarrhea, and vomiting are present. You can let him drink oral hydration solutions or drink soups to prevent dehydration.
  • When your child is not able to drink due to extreme vomiting, offer ice chips for him to chew. This will help replace all the fluids lost because of vomiting.

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Cystic Fibrosis: What Parents Need to Know

A chronic disease brought about by hereditary conditions, Cystic Fibrosis or the scarring and cyst formation of the pancreas can be a fatal disease especially if parents are either misinformed or uninformed of the situation their child has. A child suffering from the condition will have sticky mucus, salty sweat and oddly thickened digestive juices because of the altered movement of the salt inside the body.

As a result of the altered conditions of the secretions, the child may experience clogged lungs making him at risk of developing breathing problems, lung infection and even lung injury. Moreover, the thickened digestive juices can also result to digestion problems leading to malnutrition or poor growth.

Signs and Symptoms

If you think your child is suffering from CF or if you know that he is at risk of having one, here are the signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Growth problems (weight and height) even with good appetite
  • Coughing and wheezing that becomes very persistent which may happen at the same time with asthma or upper respiratory tract infection especially to a very sensitive child
  • Salty-tasting skin
  • Fatty stools
  • Sinus infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Infertility

Risks

Your child has an increased chance of having CF if you are a Caucasian. In fact, Ireland has the highest incidence in the world while Americans see CF as the most common life-threatening disease. An African heritage also gives your child a 1 in 15,300 chance of acquiring the condition. Interestingly, Asians rarely have CF.

Diagnosis

Thankfully, there is genetic screening for Cystic Fibrosis. This is advantageous for those who know that their child may be at risk. A definitive test, which is painless and quick, may be done. The procedure involves the use of Pilocarpine. It is used on a certain spot preferably in the upper extremities to stimulate sweating. Aftersuch an absorbent paper is used to check on the salt content of the sweat. If the values are above normal, then, it is suggestive of Cystic Fibrosis, which in turn will be supported by other procedures such as saliva or blood genetic test as well as chest x-ray and family history checking.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for CF. Parents, nonetheless should be consoled that there are ongoing researches made about the condition. More treatments are geared towards helping a child live longer and helping one tolerate the untoward signs and symptoms of the disorder. Therefore, the earlier that you know about your child’s condition, more and better interventions will be introduced.

When your child suffers from cystic fibrosis, you may want to get the best possible care in a team with specialization on the said disease. Your child will usually be treated as an outpatient unless there is an immediate need for him to be confined. You will have to do continuous monitoring and that it is likely that your doctor will ask you to regularly visit him. During these visits, routine exams will be ordered such as a saliva or sputum sample. The sample will determine possible infections which can be treated using antibiotics introduced intravenously. Apart from the routine childhood immunizations your child should have, doctors may also prescribe other drugs to help your child with his condition. It is then your responsibility to check how your child responds to the medications. Since there is no cure, you have to be vigilant. Years ago, children with cystic fibrosis die at a relatively young age, now, a lot of those who suffer live longer and more significant lives.

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Managing Ear Infections

Here goes your child again. After incessantly wailing for a good eternity while tugging his ear, he now complains of headache and shows a difficulty in speaking and even in listening. Probably tired of the same problems repeating over and over again, you re-evaluate the situation and find out that your child has a fever. Add to that already burdening problem is a fluid leaking from one of his ears. At last, he is able to verbalize that something is oddly buzzing or ringing in his ear.

This, my dear parent, are classic signs and symptoms of acute otitis media that commonly affects young children and sometimes, even teenagers who are overly hygiene-conscious of themselves. When the condition worsens, expect the unexpected and rare complications such as mastoiditis, meningitis and even damage to specific bones as the bacteria seeps into the body. Consequently, an unattended acute otitis media may lead to hearing loss.

Despite the troubling symptoms a child may exhibit during a case of an ear infection, recent studies have suggested that mothers need not use antibiotic to treat their children. A recognized authority, the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends that babies 6 months and below diagnosed with AOM be given antibacterial. For those who are older than 6 months, the organization suggests that antibiotics should only be given if the symptoms are severe. Interestingly but backed by scientific studies, AAP advocate for the non-usage of antibacterials if there is an uncertain diagnosis and if the symptoms are only mild. However, at this point, parents should keep a watchful eye and observe other symptoms that might appear in the next 48-72 hours.

Recent studies have shown that the ear infections will most likely heal on its own using the body’s defenses. Additionally, it might help you to know that a lot of healthcare providers these days are becoming more wary about ordering antibiotics even for adults, especially for children. For babies as well as children who were prescribed with antibiotics, it is very important to finish the course of the therapy to ensure that the bacteria are eradicated and that the organisms do not become resistant. If the bacteria become resistant, chances are, the next time your child suffers from an infection, you’ll have to buy more expensive and stronger class of bacteria.

In the meantime, while your precious little one suffers from ear infection, you might want to relieve the pain by giving over-the-counter pain medicines such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. This will greatly reduce the pain felt and that it would be relatively easier to doze off. You can also apply a warm compress near the affected ear while keeping the head elevated for more relief.

Finally, prevent ear infections by building and boosting your child’s immunity through breastfeeding, the maintenance of a house that is free from allergens and possible infectious agents like tobacco smoke, pollens, dusts etc. Make sure that anyone especially caregivers wash their hands before holding your baby or interacting with your toddler or pre-schooler. Check with your doctor vaccinations that can help you against immunizations that may reduce the occurrence of ear infections.

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