One moment your child is born and the next moment they are sitting up, saying their first word and taking their first steps. It’s amazing just how many milestones your child will reach in just the first few years of their life, and in order to ensure that your child reaches all of these milestones it’s important to visit their pediatrician regularly for routine wellness visits.
Seeing the doctor isn’t just for moments when your child has a fever or the sniffles, it’s also important that they visit the doctor often for well-child checkups. The benefits of these regular visits include,
- Vaccinating your child and preventing a variety of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases
- Screening them for certain health problems
- Checking their vision and hearing
- Reducing your child’s risk of getting sick
- Monitoring and treating preexisting conditions
- Detecting health problems early on and treat them quickly
- Improving your child’s health and their quality of life
There are many things that go into a well-child visit. When your child visits the pediatrician here are some things to expect,
- Monitoring of vital signs, which includes taking their temperature, heart rate and blood pressure
- Recording their height and weight
- Asking questions about your child’s current health status, physical activity level, diet, sleeping patterns, etc.
- A comprehensive physical examination
- Administering immunizations
Additional screenings, vaccines and other elements may also be included in certain well-child checkups depending on their age. For example, most children will start getting a hearing and vision screening at around three years old.
These checkups won’t just detect physical health problems but also developmental disabilities such as ADHD and learning disorders. Bringing your child in for regular wellness checkups allows your child’s pediatrician to continue to monitor their speech to pinpoint early signs that there could be a developmental delay or disability present. All children should be screened for developmental delays by the time they are 9 months old, and again at 24 and 30 months.
Bringing your child in regularly will also get them comfortable with the doctor’s office. Your child’s first visit should happen just a few days after they are born. From there, your newborn will continue to visit the pediatrician at 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months.
Once they reach their first birthday, they will come into our office at 15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and 3 years. From 4 to 21 years old, children and teens should visit their pediatrician once a year for a checkup.
When was the last time your child saw the doctor? Keeping them healthy means keeping up with these routine checkups. Schedule your child’s next wellness visit today.
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.
Childhood asthma is more common than you might think. In fact, it is the most common chronic disorder in children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition that causes swelling within the airways, making it different for your little one to breathe. How do you know if your child might have asthma? The telltale signs include:
- Trouble or difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or whistling when breathing in
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing that often gets worse at night
- Fatigue, especially with exercise or play
If your child is experiencing or complaining about any of these symptoms it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as possible. It’s important to write down the exact symptoms your little one has been experiencing, particularly because their symptoms may not be present during their evaluation. If you have a family history of asthma, this is something that your child’s pediatrician will want to know.
During the evaluation your doctor will also perform a physical exam, taking time to listen to both the heart and the lungs for signs of asthma. Sometimes a test known as spirometry will be used to test the lung function (this is most common in children over the age of 6 years old). This test is used to measure how much air is in the lungs and how quickly your child can exhale. Other tests may also be performed to check for other health issues that could be exacerbating your child’s asthma symptoms such as a sinus infection.
Asthma is serious and requires medication to keep this problem under control. While there is no cure for asthma, your pediatrician’s goal for asthma treatment is to prevent the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. We want to prevent your little one from having to rush to the hospital for a severe attack. Luckily, there are medications that your children’s doctor can prescribe to lessen asthma symptoms.
The type of asthma medication your child receives will depend on several factors including age. Infants and toddlers may require inhaled steroids to control asthma symptoms. The dosage will also change depending on your child’s age. Along with long-term medications that will be taken every day to help control symptoms and keep inflammation down there are fasting-acting medications that your child will also be prescribed (e.g. albuterol), which is only used when your little one feels an attack coming on. Before any medication is given to your child, your pediatrician will talk to both you and your little one about how to use asthma medication properly.
Most people think that medication is the only way to manage ADHD; however, there are many treatment options that can help manage your child’s ADHD symptoms. When it comes to treating a child with ADHD it’s important that you have a family doctor that you can turn to for comprehensive and compassionate care.
What are the different ADHD treatment options?
Let’s not focus on the medication aspect of treatment just yet; after all, there are other effective strategies and resources available that can improve hyperactivity and impulsivity, classic behaviors of ADHD.
You will work with a family physician to create a treatment plan that works best for your child based on the types of symptoms and behaviors they are displaying. Some treatment options will include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Learning new coping strategies
- Improving social skills
The goal of ADHD treatment is to not only curb those negative behaviors but also improve your child’s social, academic, and personal life so they can foster relationships and enjoy the academic process.
The most common types of ADHD medication are stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin. While they are one option for helping your child they aren’t right for all children. These medications can help a child stay more focused and reduce fidgeting. ADHD medication can improve a child’s behaviors while also bolstering their academic performance. Of course, no one should rely solely on medication in order to treat the symptoms and behaviors of ADHD. After all, it’s not a cure-all.
Medication works more effectively when combined with other treatment options including lifestyle modifications and therapy. Again, this is something that you and your child’s doctor can determine together. Your doctor will also monitor your child when they begin a new treatment plan or medication regimen to make sure that it’s working effectively. If there are any problems your doctor will want to know right away so they can make proper changes.
It’s also important to understand that even if your child does receive medication to control their ADHD, this doesn’t mean that they are on it for life. If for any reason you or your child would like to stop taking medication let your doctor know so they can begin to taper your child’s off the drug safely.
The whole family will need to work together to establish boundaries and rules within the household that can reduce unwanted ADHD behaviors. This includes simple changes like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Providing a reward system may also help your child successfully complete chores and tasks around the house. Getting ample sleep is also crucial for improving symptoms of ADHD. Make sure that your child is getting proper sleep each and every night.
Your child’s doctor may also recommend behavioral therapists, counselors and psychologists who can also work with your child to provide behavioral modifications programs and also an outlet for your child to discuss the issues they are having.
As a culture we are placing more and more of an emphasis on leading a healthier life, from exercising more often to maintaining a balanced diet. Changes to your diet and physical activity can do wonders not just for shedding unwanted weight but also improving your health. No matter whether you are looking to lose 10 or 100 pounds, sometimes losing weight can be challenging. Our bodies don’t all respond the same way and there are many factors to consider before deciding the best strategies for helping you lose weight effectively. That’s why more and more people are turning to their family doctors to help them with their weight loss journey.
Losing weight on your own can be difficult and there are so many diets out there that tout results; however, how do you know if they are the right option for you or that they are even safe? Having a doctor that you can turn to in order to provide you with healthy changes you can make to your routine is invaluable. Furthermore, having a doctor to supervise your weight loss can often increase your accountability and long-term success.
Your doctor will go through your medical history and current lifestyle to see what can be tweaked. Again, many diets out there come and go. Some people swear by Paleo while others love South Beach. Of course, some of these diets are so strict that they are nearly impossible to maintain. Sometimes it’s less about following a diet, per se and more about adopting a healthier eating mentality. A doctor can show you what foods to incorporate into your diet and which foods and drinks to avoid.
Along with recommended healthier dietary options a doctor can also help you pinpoint issues involving your eating habits. For example, you may be a stress eater or you might deal with binge-restriction cycles due to anxiety around eating. Your doctor can craft a weight loss plan that will also address some of these issues surrounding foods.
Whether you already have a fitness routine in place or you want to start incorporating physical activity into your routine, a family physician can also make sure that you are healthy enough for activity and help you create a treatment plan based on your current health and fitness level and the types of activities you prefer. Having a fitness regimen that you actually enjoy is important. For some that means joining a community sports team while others may enjoy brisk walks around their neighborhood every day. You don’t have to join a gym in order to stay physically active.
Having a doctor by your side that your trust can hold you accountable and help you lose weight. If you are having trouble with your weight and feel like you don’t know where to start then talk with your family practitioner today.
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