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By AAA Pediatrics
February 07, 2019
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Whooping Cough  

Named after the characteristic sound of its notorious coughing fits, whooping cough is an extraordinarily uncomfortable condition that typically manifests itself in babies and in children ages 11 to 18 whose vaccine-provided immunities have begun to fade. In addition to causing several debilitating symptoms, whooping cough also carries the possibility of infant mortality, particularly for patients under 12 months old. Further complicating the matter, initial symptoms often resemble a common cold, making quick detection a tricky task. To be more proactive in the treatment and prevention of this disease, read below to learn the basics on whooping cough and how to best go about alleviating it.

What is Whooping Cough?

Officially diagnosed by the name pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection that resides within the nose and throat. Whooping cough is spread through airborne bacteria produced by an infected person’s sneezes, coughs, or laughs. Once whooping cough has been contracted, the apparent symptoms begin in an identical fashion to the common cold. That includes:

  • Runny nose

  • Mild cough

  • Fever (below 102 F)

  • Congestion and sneezing

After a week to 10 days, these symptoms begin to grow worse. Mucus thickens and starts to coat the patient’s airways, leading to rampant and prolonged coughing. These fits can be so violent that that they may cause vomiting, lengthy periods of extreme fatigue, and result in blue or red face. This last sign is the direct outcome of the body’s struggle to fill the lungs with air, and once breathing is finally achieved, the loud “whooping” sound that defines the condition is produced.

What are the Dangers of the Disease?

If left untreated, whooping cough can produce a number of painful and dangerous complications, with the specific ailments depending on the age of the patient.

For teens and adults, untreated whooping cough can result in:

  • Abdominal hernias

  • Bruised or cracked ribs

  • Broken blood vessels in the skin and whites of the eyes

For infants, complications from whooping cough are a great deal more severe. They include:

  • Pneumonia

  • Slowed or stopped breathing

  • Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss

  • Seizures

  • Brain damage

What Can I Do About It?

The best approach to preventing the disease is through vaccination. This is especially important for babies, as whooping cough leaves them in significant danger, though it is essential to keep your children on regular vaccination schedules, regardless of their individual age.

While vaccines are extremely effective in reducing the likelihood of contracting whooping cough, the possibility of developing the condition is still present. Due to this perpetual risk, if you witness your child’s cold symptoms continuing to worsen, arrange an appointment with their local pediatrician to find out if the problem may be whooping cough. If diagnosed early enough, antibiotics can be used to cut down on the painful symptoms and prevent the infection from spreading to others.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

Whooping cough is a serious condition that can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. If you have any suspicions that your child may have developed this condition, give us a call today!

By AAA Pediatrics
January 29, 2019
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Immunizations  

Immunizations are a crucial and necessary part of you and your child’s life. Not only can vaccinations protect your child against potentially deadly illnesses, but they can protect others, too. Learn more about how immunizations work and why they are so important to every child’s health with Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Meza at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA.

What is immunization?
It is important to understand the terminology surrounding immunization to help understand it fully. Immunization is the act of creating immunity to a disease or infection. A vaccine is a substance injected into the body which makes it immune to the illness. Doctors inject the vaccine with a shot, usually in their office.

Why are immunizations so important?
Immunizations save lives. The diseases they prevent were once highly-feared and posed a large risk to people all over the world. However, access to vaccines has dramatically decreased these diseases’ presence in today’s society. Vaccines also prevent illness in those who cannot be vaccinated. People who are immunocompromised or who have certain medical conditions may not be able to be immunized. Additionally, newborns cannot receive their first round of vaccines until they are about three months old. However, if the people around them are vaccinated, they are never exposed to these illnesses, keeping them safe and healthy. This is referred to as “herd immunity,” and plays a critical role in the overall health of people everywhere.

Immunizations in Woodbridge, VA
Vaccinating your child ensures that they stay free from diseases which were once highly feared, such as polio, measles, hepatitis, influenza, and whooping cough — and helps unvaccinated people remain healthy, too. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-suggested vaccination schedule for children from birth contributes to their health for the rest of their lives.

For more information on childhood immunizations, please contact Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Meza at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA. Call (703) 580-6400 to schedule your appointment with your child’s pediatrician today!

By AAA Pediatrics
January 16, 2019
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Newborn   Newborn Care  

There is a lot of care and work that goes into raising a newborn, and your pediatrician is here to help right from the beginning. Your pediatrician typically sees your newborn for their very first appointment within a few days of being discharged from the hospital. Your pediatrician is here for you to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have about your newborn and caring for your newborn. Some of the topics that your pediatrician may discuss in that first visit are:

Feeding- Your pediatrician will watch your baby’s feeding habits during this period and make sure that their growth is right on schedule. During the first six months of your newborn’s life, you’ll feed them formula or breastmilk. Breastfed babies tend to eat more frequently than babies who are fed formula.

Sleep- Every baby has different sleep schedules and needs. Most newborns tend to sleep sixteen to seventeen hours a day, but only sleep a few hours at a time. Sleep cycles don’t tend to normalize until your baby is about six months old. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that healthy infants should sleep on their backs until they are able to roll over on their own.

Bathing- Infants do not usually require daily bathing, as long as the diaper area is thoroughly cleaned during changes, because daily bathing dry out their skin. Instead, it’s recommended to sponge bathe areas as needed.

Umbilical Cord Care- An infant’s umbilical cord should eventually dry up and fall off on its own by the time your baby is two weeks old. Until then, make sure to keep the area clean and dry by using sponge baths instead of submerging your baby in the tub. Small drops of blood are normal around the time that the umbilical cord is supposed to fall off. If you notice any active bleeding, foul-smelling yellowish discharge, or red skin around the stump, contact your pediatrician.

Your newborn should see their pediatrician at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, and regularly throughout their life. Call your pediatrician for any questions on newborn care today!

By AAA Pediatrics
June 27, 2018
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: flu   cold  

Your child suddenly has the chills, a fever and nasty body aches. She's coughing, and you wonder if she has a bad cold or maybe the flu. cold, fluHow do you know the difference? At AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA, Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Mesa are the pediatricians to see for prevention of and relief from colds and flu. They educate parents on the differences between the two illnesses and help you nurse your youngster back to health.

What is a cold?

Basically, it's an upper respiratory infection caused by one of a variety of viruses. While it cannot be cured by antibiotics, which only eradicate bacteria such as strep, a severe cold may warrant a trip to AAA Pediatrics. Your doctor in Woodbridge, VA, can direct symptom relief and rule out more serious illnesses (pneumonia, for example).

Colds are characterized by sneezing, coughing and congestion. Green, runny noses are typical, along with fevers and feelings of malaise. Some children have mild to moderate sore throats as well.

In general, cold symptoms are far less intense than flu symptoms. Treatment with plenty of fluids, acetaminophen for body aches and fever and over-the-counter pediatric decongestants generally gets children through the five- to seven-day cold.

What is the flu?

This viral illness involves the upper respiratory system, just as a cold does, but its symptoms are more widespread and much more debilitating. Fever is higher, onset is very quick and abrupt, and body aches and headache are very intense. Your child will feel tired, and chest congestion and a hard cough are typical of the flu.

Unfortunately, for very young children, the elderly or those people who are immunosuppressed, influenza can be dangerous, and unlike a simple cold, flu can cause complications such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Myocarditis, an infection of the heart muscle
  • Encephalitis, an infection of the brain
  • Sepsis, or body-wide infection

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control says that chronic health problems may worsen with the flu. Common examples are asthma and heart conditions.

What you can do

Prevent colds and flu with careful hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and staying out of crowds during peak season. Additionally, while you cannot be vaccinated against the common cold, influenza vaccines are available each year in advance of the flu season. All children (over the age of 6 months), teens and adults should receive flu shots. However, if you or your child are actively sick or allergic to flu shot components (eggs, for instance), refrain from receiving the vaccine. In any case, consult your pediatricians, Dr. Sugastti or Dr. Mesa about when to be immunized.

Arm your family

At AAA Pediatrics, the professional team wants to help you protect your children from colds and the flu. Arm your family with knowledge about these common illnesses and how to prevent them. If you have questions or concerns, please call your pediatricians in Woodbridge, VA, at (703) 580-6400.

By AAA Pediatrics
March 06, 2018
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Strep throat  

Every year, doctors diagnose thousands of cases of strep throat. This bacterial infection can, if left untreated, cause numerous strep throatcomplications and lead to conditions like rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation. Learning the early warning signs of strep throat can help your overcome their symptoms quickly and efficiently. Find out more about the signs of strep throat with Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Meza at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA.

What is strep throat? 
Strep throat is a bacterial infection which causes a sore and scratchy throat. Though a sore throat is a symptom of many sicknesses, strep throat only accounts for a few sore throats. Strep throat occurs commonly in children, but can also infect adults. Strep throat comes from a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, often referred to as group A streptococcus.

Signs Your Child May Have Strep Throat
Strep throat’s symptoms usually appear quickly, with the most obvious symptom being throat pain and difficulty or painful swallowing. The tonsils swell, become red, and often have patches of pus on their surfaces. Fever, headache, rash, nausea, body aches, or vomiting often coincide with these symptoms. Red spots at the back of the throat may also appear. Children with a fever over 101, a sore throat which lasts longer than 48 hours, who have problems breathing or swallowing, or swollen lymph glands should see their doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosing Strep Throat
Since the symptoms of strep throat can often present themselves during other viral illnesses, your child’s pediatrician will perform a test to determine if they are suffering from strep throat or another illness. During a rapid antigen test, your child’s doctor will swab their throat. The swab is then tested for antigens which indicate the presence of strep throat. A throat culture tested in a laboratory is another, less common, way to test for strep throat.

Strep Throat Treatments in Woodbridge, VA
Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, it responds to antibiotics. These are usually taken orally and begin working quickly. However, in the time between being diagnosed with strep throat and the antibiotics beginning to work, you will want to manage your child’s symptoms. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve symptoms.

For more information on strep throat, please contact Dr. Sugastti and Dr. Meza at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA. Call (703) 580-6400 to schedule your appointment with your child’s pediatrician today!