Cold Vs. Flu
Is it a cold or the flu? When it comes to your child's health, your pediatrician provides great information and guidance on the most common illnesses plaguing families. If you are wondering about the exact nature of your child's illness and how to treat it, learn the differences between a cold and the flu and how to treat and prevent them.
What is a cold?
A cold is an upper respiratory viral infection lasting 5 to 7 days in both adults and children alike. Generally milder in intensity and shorter in duration than influenza, a cold causes:
- Watery eyes
- A runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- High fever
- Body aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Severe headache
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Avoid crowds during peak cold and flu season.
- Keep your child home from daycare and school if he or she is sick.
- Teach your child to cover his or her mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Don't share food or utensils, even with family members.
- Vaccinate against the flu. Ask your pediatrician for your child's "shot."
Even though you try as hard as possible to keep your child safe while they are playing sports, accidents still happen. At these moments, it’s important that you know whether these are injuries that can easily be treated from the comfort of your own home or whether you need to turn to a pediatrician for proper medical attention.
Pediatricians have seen a lot of sports-related injuries over the years and while we also focus as much of our attention on prevention, we know the importance of being able to get immediate and comprehensive care when your child does sustain an injury.
Common sports-related injuries include:
- Dislocations (particularly in the shoulder)
- Traumatic injuries (this includes cuts, sprains and strains, and broken bones)
- Stress fractures
- Tendinitis (often in the hand or wrist)
When a dislocation happens many times it is accompanied by an audible popping sound at the moment that the injury occurred. This unnerving sound is often followed by sudden and intense pain. It’s important that you turn to a pediatrician who can put the shoulder or any other area of the body back in place. The joints of a child’s body are looser than adults, so it makes shoulders and other areas more prone to dislocations.
Minor cuts, sprains, and strains can often be handled with at-home care. In most cases, the RICE method is a great way to ensure that your child gets the rest they need to heal properly and to stay off of the injury until it fully heals. Icing and elevating the injured area can also reduce pain and swelling. Of course, if you suspect that your child has a broken bone, this will need to be evaluated by a medical professional right away.
Children who are serious or long-term athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries. These injuries occur over time rather than suddenly and they are often the result of performing repetitive movements. Overuse injuries include stress fractures and tendinitis. If your child feels pain whenever they move a certain area of the body or if they notice pain or swelling in a certain area it’s important that they get checked out.
Wearing a helmet is crucial for protecting your child’s head while playing sports. Of course, if your child has received a blow to the head and is experiencing dizziness, fatigue, frequent or severe headaches or just seems out of sorts it’s crucial that you bring them in right away to see if they’ve incurred a concussion.
When in doubt, pick up the phone and talk to a pediatrician about your child’s injuries and symptoms. They will be able to determine whether or not they should come in for proper care.
Your child is eager to start the school year so they can participate in sports. That’s great news! Keeping your child active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and sports can be a great experience for many children; however, it’s also important that your child’s pediatrician performs a yearly sports physical to make sure that they are ready for physical activity.
A sports physical is necessary for every child regardless of their current health. In fact, some schools make it mandatory for children to get an annual sports physical before they participate in any school sports. Regardless of whether this physical is mandatory or not, it’s highly advised that all children get a sports physical once a year.
Your child’s sports physical will involve going through their medical history and conducting a physical examination. The physical examination is pretty self-explanatory. We will check their vitals, as well as their height and weight. We will perform a vision test and evaluate everything from their heart and respiratory system to their musculoskeletal system. The goal of a physical exam is to make sure that your child hasn’t incurred any past injuries or developed any health problems that could be exacerbated by physical activity.
A pediatrician can also answer questions and provide counseling on nutrition, healthy weight loss or gain, and habits that could help your child’s physical health. Remember to bring any questions along with you.
Besides the physical examination, we will also sit down with you and your child and ask questions about their medical history. It’s important to be as detailed as possible. If it’s the first time they are having a sports physical it’s important to bring in a list of any supplements or medications (both over-the-counter or prescription) that they are currently taking.
We will ask a series of questions to find out if there are any serious or chronic health problems that run in the family, if your child has experienced any past injuries, if they’ve ever undergone surgery or been hospitalized, if they have any allergies or if they have any current disorders or illnesses. It’s important to provide as much detailed history as possible so that our pediatric team can perform a thorough and comprehensive physical.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your child’s sports physical. It’s important to get your child on the books before the summer is gone and the doctor’s schedule fills up. You don’t want your child being benched during the season because they didn’t get a sports physical. Call your pediatrician today.
Choosing a doctor for your child is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a parent. A pediatrician, a doctor who specializes in the care of babies, children and teenagers, just may be the best choice for your son or daughter. Woodbridge, VA, pediatricians Drs. Oscar Sugastti and Griselda Meza offer the specialized care essential for your child's good health.
What advantages do pediatricians offer?
Pediatricians receive special training in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and conditions that affect children. After they graduate from medical school, they spend three years in medical residency devoted solely to pediatrics.
Other benefits of visiting a pediatrician include:
- Kid-Friendly Offices: Your pediatrician's office is designed with kids in mind. They're often decorated in bright colors and offer plenty of toys and books to keep your children occupied while they wait for their appointments.
- Compassionate Care: Pediatricians and their staff know that visiting a pediatrician can be a little scary for young children. They strive to make appointments positive experiences and have infinite patience with frightened kids.
- Familiarity with Pediatric Illnesses and Conditions: Your child's pediatrician has extensive experience treating conditions and illnesses that occur during childhood. Expertise and training play an important role, whether he or she is diagnosing a case of hand, foot and mouth disease or a more complicated medical problem. Pediatricians also evaluate developmental and behavioral issues and can make referrals to other medical professionals if needed.
- Well-Child Exams: During periodic or yearly well-child examinations, your child's pediatrician will chart his height and weight, evaluate hearing and vision and perform an examination to determine if your child is developing normally. Well-child exams can help detect health conditions in the earliest stages, allowing your child to receive prompt treatment.
- Peace of Mind for Worried Parents: You become a partner in your child's healthcare when you visit a Woodbridge pediatrician. Your child's doctor can provide helpful information on child development or offer a few tips that will help your child take his or her medicine. Whether you have questions about your baby's feeding schedule or your teen's emotional problem, he or she is available to share his or her expertise and offer guidance.
Visits to the pediatrician help your child maintain good health. Call Woodbridge, VA, pediatricians Drs. Oscar Sugastti and Griselda Meza at (703) 580-6400 to schedule an appointment.
No two children are ever the same and while you certainly want to let your child discover their unique personality it is important to know when these differences in your little one might mean that it’s time to schedule a behavioral or development consultation with a pediatrician.
Whether you’ve noticed that your child has difficulty making friends, doesn’t have any interests or seems to throw more temper tantrums then other kids their age, it’s important to not only be able to pinpoint these differences but also find out what might be causing them. This is where a behavioral or developmental consultation could benefit both your child and your family.
When you hear the words “behavioral consultation” it sounds pretty disconcerting; however, there are many reasons why parents bring their children in for these visits. Perhaps your preschooler hasn’t started talking yet, or your child has difficulties interacting socially with other children. Maybe their academics are falling behind or they aren’t able to keep up with the challenges of school. When scenarios like this arise a behavioral consultation is the best way to be able to figure out what might be going on and what our pediatric team can do to help get your child back on track.
While some of these situations may be due to behavioral disorders, it is also possible that there are certain developmental delays that could also be responsible for these behaviors. There are developmental milestones that every child must reach physically and mentally. No matter whether your child is displaying signs of an autism spectrum disorder or ADHD, or is having difficulties with social situations, sleep, anxiety, aggression or impulsivity, it is important that they visit a children’s doctor for an evaluation.
Whatever concerns you might have about your little one, it’s important that you turn to a pediatrician that you can trust to perform a thorough behavioral consultation while also providing compassionate care and support. It’s essential that your child has everything they need to be successful in their personal, academic and social life and by assessing, diagnosing and treating any behavioral or developmental disorders early, we can provide your child with the treatment they need to lead a healthy and happy life.
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