One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illnesses is through proper hand washing. Young children in particular need to be reminded to wash their hands, which is very important after sneezing, nose-blowing, using the bathroom and before eating. With help from your child’s pediatrician, you can help keep your child healthy.
School age children are in close contact throughout the school day are more likely to share school materials, and frequently touch their faces. Since germs from sneezing and coughing droplets can survive on surfaces for up to eight hours, teaching your child about proper hand washing is very important to maintaining their health. Your pediatrician provides this step-by-step guide for proper hand washing:
- Turn on the water until it is warm, but not too hot.
- Rub your hands together to get a nice, soapy lather.
- Wash your palms, the back of your hands, fingers and under the nails.
- Sing “Happy Birthday” or count up to 15 to 20 “Mississippi’s” to effectively wash their hands for an appropriate amount of time.
- Dry hangs on a paper towel.
- If at a public or school restroom, have your child turn off the faucet with the paper towel when they are done.
- When exiting a public or school restroom, encourage your child to use the same paper towel on the handle of the bathroom door to open it and to throw it away after exiting.
Maintaining proper hand washing methods will help your child to remain healthy throughout the year. Your child’s pediatrician is available to provide you with further tips on how to maintain a healthy child. However, if your child does get sick, your pediatrician encourages you to visit their office for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Truth is, anyone with an appendix can get appendicitis—even our children. Appendicitis is a painful inflammation of the hollow, finger-shaped organ attached to the end of the large intestine. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix can rupture, leading to a lengthy hospital stay for complications including abdominal infection and bowel obstruction.
When your child complains of stomach pain, consult your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and to ensure the health of your child. Since appendicitis is potentially life-threatening, it is important to understand the symptoms so that you can spot appendicitis in your child. In order of appearance, the symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Unfortunately, symptoms of appendicitis might also be hidden by a viral or bacterial infection that preceded it. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and fever may appear before the typical pain of appendicitis, which makes the diagnosis much more difficult.
Your child’s discomfort might also disappear, which will persuade you that they are better. However, this disappearance of pain could also meant that the appendix has just broken open or ruptured. The pain might leave for several hours, but this is the moment when the appendicitis becomes dangerous, making it more important than ever to visit your pediatrician for immediate care for your child.
When your pediatrician diagnoses your child with appendicitis, surgery is usually needed as soon as possible. Surgically removing the appendix is usually the treatment of choice, as it is important to eliminate the inflamed appendix before it bursts.
While most children with abdominal pain do not have appendicitis, you can never be too safe when it comes to the health of your child. Visit your pediatrician for further diagnosis of this serious problem and to take the next steps toward a healthy child.
When your child is sick, it can take a toll on not only them, put you as a parent. Your pediatrician is available to help you restore the health of your child. Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system that is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis (or B. pertussis). This sickness is characterized by severe coughing spells, which can sometimes end in a “whooping” sound when the person breathes in.
Whooping cough mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before immunizations, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to fade adequately protect them. With help from your pediatrician, you can find relief for your infant from whooping cough.
The Signs and Symptoms
The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold:
- Runny nose
- Mild cough
- Low-grade fever
After about 1 to 2 weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells, which can last for more than a minute. When a coughing spell occurs, the child might turn red or purple, and at the end of the spell, they may make a characteristic whooping sound when breathing in.
By visiting your pediatrician, you can take the next step toward helping your child feel better once again.
Understanding Mono: The “Kissing Disease”
Often called the kissing disease, mononucleosis (mono) is a caused by a virus that is transmitted through saliva. You can get this infection through kissing, but you can also be exposed through a cough or sneeze, or even by sharing a glass or food utensils with someone who has mono. However, mono is not as contagious as some infections, such as the common cold.
As an adolescent or young adult, your child is most likely to get mono with all the signs and symptoms. If your child has mono, it is important to be careful of certain complications such as an enlarged spleen. Your pediatrician urges you to allow your child proper rest and adequate fluids for a full recovery.
Some of the signs and symptoms of mononucleosis may include:
- General feeling of being unwell
- Sore throat that doesn’t get better with antibiotic use
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck and armpits
- Swollen tonsils
- Skin rash
- Soft, swollen spleen
If your child is experience any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your pediatrician.
Since mononucleosis is spread through saliva, if your child is infected your pediatrician urges you to take extra precautions. To help prevent the spread of the virus, it is important to not kiss your child and not to share food, dishes, glasses and utensils until several days after his or her fever has subsided and even longer, if possible.
Contact your pediatrician for more information on mono and how you can help your child make a full recovery.
A child’s job is to explore every nook and cranny of their world, but that can often lead way to injury. From split lips to skinned knees, scrapes and cuts are rites of passage for our children. As parents you can take all the precautions possible, but “boo-boos” will happen. However, if you understand the basics for treating cuts and scrapes, you and your child can make it through an episode with a minimum of tears.
When a cut or scrape occurs, your pediatrician offers these helpful tips:
- Stop any bleeding. A minor scrape will stop bleeding on its own, but a cut or gash may not. Using a clean washcloth or towel, apply gentle but direct pressure to the wound until the bleeding stops.
- Double up. If the blood soaks through the cloth, place another layer over it and continue to apply pressure. Elevating the injured body part can also help to slow the bleeding.
- Rinse it off. Hold the injured body part under warm running water to wash away any dirt, broken glass, or any other foreign matter.
- Clean it up. If the skin around the cut is dirty, gently wash it with mild soap.
- Break out the bandages. Once the bleeding has stopped and the wound is clean, dab on a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and apply a fresh bandage. Little kids usually enjoy choosing from a selection of cute and colorful bandages—so let your little one choose which one he or she wants.
- Keep it clean. Change the bandage at least once a day or if it gets dirty. When a scab begins to form, you can remove the bandage, but be sure to teach your child not to pick at it.
If you are unsure how to handle your child’s injury, or if the cut does not stop bleeding, contact your pediatrician for more information.
It is almost impossible for a curious and active child to avoid some scrapes and minor cuts, but there are things you can do to decrease the number your child will have and to minimize their severity. Visit your pediatrician for more information on preventive measures and what to do when an injury occurs.
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