Posts for category: Child Care
It’s easy for parents to be able to pinpoint when there is something physically wrong with their child. They may have a fever, body aches, or abdominal pain. When these symptoms arise parents often know to seek care from their pediatrician. Mental health issues, on the other hand, are just as important to treat as physical complaints; however, these symptoms and problems aren’t always as clear-cut.
Good mental health allows children to feel confident, think properly and develop the proper skills needed for social, personal, and even professional success throughout their lifetime. A child’s environment can greatly impact their emotional and mental states, and it’s important that parents are in tuned with their children, their emotions and what’s going on for them to spot problems right away so that they can seek proper care.
Here are some ways to foster healthy mental well-being in your child:
- Provide your child with unconditional love
- Foster a safe, nurturing environment
- Help build their self-esteem and confidence
- Encourage their passions and dreams
- Provide guidance and discipline when necessary
Along with these simple tips it’s also important to ensure that your child is:
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Getting adequate sleep
Modeling Good Mental Health
Your child mirrors everything you do so by giving them a positive role model your child can mirror good behaviors that foster good mental health. When you take care of yourself your child also learns the importance in self-care. When you find joy in your life your child will also make a priority out of finding things that bring them joy.
Talk to a Pediatrician
We know that it isn’t always easy to determine what behaviors are normal and which ones warrant a deeper look. This is where your children’s doctor can provide you with the information you need. A pediatrician can answer questions about everything from healthy social and emotional skills to behaviors that could be problematic.
It’s also important that parents do not ignore their own mental well-being. After all, mentally healthy parents also provide better care and a positive, happy environment for their children to thrive. If you are having trouble with your own mental well-being it’s okay to talk to your child’s pediatrician about your issues.
If you have questions about your child’s mental health and wellness don’t hesitate to sit down and discuss your questions or concerns with a pediatrician who will be able to guide you along the way to make sure that you are providing your child with everything they need for optimal mental and emotional well-being.
What is Autism?
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is a developmental disability that can cause significant communication, communication, and behavioral challenges. The thinking, learning, and problem-solving abilities of individuals with autism can range from gifted to severely challenged. Some individuals with autism need only a bit of help in their daily lives; others need more. While there's no cure for autism, early treatment can make a big difference in the lives of many children.
ASD is the fastest growing serious, developmental disability, affecting an estimated one out of 59 kids in America. Autism begins in early childhood and eventually causes problems functioning in society — at work, in school, and socially, for example. Often kids show symptoms of autism within the first year. Autism impacts how people perceive and socialize with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.
Autism can look different in different people. Kids with autism have a hard time interacting with others. Social skills difficulties are some of the most common signs. A child with ASD might want to have close relationships but not know how. Most have some problems with communication. Kids with ASD also act in ways that seem unusual. Examples of this can include repetitive behaviors like jumping, hand-flapping, constant moving, fixations on certain objects, fussy eating habits, impulsiveness, and aggressive behavior.
The exact cause of ASD is not known, but it's believed that genetic and environmental factors are involved. Research shows that ASD tends to run in families. Changes in certain genes increase the risk that a child with develop autism. Research also shows that certain environmental influences may increase autism risk in people who are genetically predisposed to the disorder. Researchers are exploring whether certain factors such as medications, viral infections, or complications during pregnancy play a role in triggering ASD.
Treatment options may include nutritional therapy, physical therapy, behavior and communication therapies, educational therapies, family therapies, and medications. No medication can improve the core signs of ASD, but specific medications can help control symptoms. For example, antipsychotic drugs are sometimes used to treat severe behavioral problems; certain medications may be prescribed if your child is hyperactive; and antidepressants may be prescribed for anxiety.
Autism can impact your child's quality of life. If you think your child may have autism, find a pediatrician near you and schedule a consultation. Proper diagnosis and treatment of autism can help your child live a happier, more successful life. The earlier children with autism get help, the greater their chance of treatment success.
Your child just woke up with a runny nose, an elevated temperature and body aches. Could this just be a passing cold or could it be the flu? It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the two. A common cold is usually mild and will go away on its own without treatment but the flu often requires medical attention to prevent serious complications. While an annual flu shot can protect your child from developing the flu it’s also important to know what to look for and when to visit their pediatrician for care.
Warning Signs of the Flu
Unfortunately the common cold and the influenza viruses have a lot of the same symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine what your child might have. We know that you don’t want to worry unnecessarily and rush them into the office if you don’t need to but it’s also good to know when their condition warrants medical attention.
One difference is that a cold will come on gradually over the course of a couple of days while the flu will often attack suddenly, with symptoms showing up practically overnight. While a fever isn’t a common symptom of a cold a fever is almost always present with the flu, as well as full body achiness or weakness.
Children are also more likely to deal with diarrhea or vomiting with the flu. While symptoms of a cold are usually localized to the head, flu symptoms are more widespread.
You Suspect Your Child has the Flu. Now What?
The first step is to call your pediatrician. While it can take up to a week for your child to feel better after the flu sometimes medical attention is required. It’s especially important that you talk to your doctor if your child has flu-like symptoms and they are under the age of 5, as young children are more likely to deal with health-related complications from the flu.
You’ve talked to your doctor and you now know whether you are supposed to bring them in right away for care or whether you should continue to monitor their condition before bringing them in. At this point the most important thing you can do is help reduce their discomfort and control their symptoms. Make sure they are staying hydrated and getting as much rest as possible.
Avoid giving your child over-the-counter medications, as many of these medications aren’t safe for young children and won’t be effective for treating flu symptoms. If your child has a mild fever ask your pediatrician what over-the-counter medications could help alleviate their fever. Keep in mind: Children should never take aspirin!
The sooner you seek medical attention for the flu the better, as many antiviral medications can prevent the virus from getting worse if it’s administered within the first 48 hours. This medication is often taken for 5 to 7 days and it can help ease symptoms and speed up recovery.
The key is making sure to get your child proper medical care as soon as flu-like symptoms appear. Call your children’s doctor right away.
Does your child struggle with asthma symptoms? Houston, TX, pediatricians Drs. Heena Thakkar and Shilpa Pankaj can help you manage your child's condition and decrease flareups.
What is asthma?
Asthma symptoms occur when the small airways in your child's lungs become inflamed and swollen, reducing airflow to the lungs. Breathing becomes even harder when the muscles around the airways begin to tighten, or the airways fill with mucus caused by inflammation. More than 6 million kids in the U.S. under 18 have asthma, according to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.
Does my child have asthma?
Wheezing is a common sign of asthma, but it's not the only one. Other asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Coughing: Children who have asthma may cough even if they don't have a cold or illness. Coughing can increase with exertion or when your child laughs or cries.
- Fatigue: Does your child tire easily? Asthma may be to blame.
- Shortness of Breath: Shortness of breath may occur if your child can't breathe in enough air due to narrowing and inflammation of his or her airways.
- Chest Pain: Kids who have asthma may complain that their chests hurt.
- Rapid Breathing: If the airways become severely constricted, your child may begin to breathe rapidly or even look blue. Take him or her to the emergency room immediately if you notice these symptoms.
How can my pediatrician help?
Your child's Houston pediatrician can offer treatments and suggestions that will help you manage your child's respiratory disease. She may recommend daily maintenance medication that helps reduce or prevent asthma flareups. The medication may be offered in pill or inhaled form. Your child may also need a rescue inhaler. The inhalers offer quick relief of symptoms when a flareup does occur. Allergy testing may be recommended if the pediatrician suspects that flareups may be triggered by allergies.
A few modifications around your home can also be helpful. Your child's doctor may recommend several changes, such as using foam rather than down or feather pillows, vacuuming, and mopping floors regularly to reduce dust and allergens, and improving indoor air quality with air-conditioners and HEPA filters.
Preventive care is essential if your child has asthma. Call Houston, TX, pediatricians Drs. Heena Thakkar and Shilpa Pankaj at (713) 861-4800 to schedule an appointment for your son or daughter.
At some point in our childhood, we might have experienced chicken pox. While chicken pox most often occurs in children under the age of 12, it can also occur in adults who never had it as children.
Chickenpox is an itchy rash of spots that look like blisters and can appear all over the body while accompanied by flu-like symptoms. Chickenpox is very contagious, which is why your pediatrician in places a strong emphasis on keeping infected children out of school and at home until the rash is gone.
What are the Symptoms of Chickenpox?
When a child first develops chickenpox, they might experience a fever, headache, sore throat or stomachache. These symptoms may last for a few days, with a fever in the 101-102 F range. The onset of chicken pox causes a red, itchy skin rash that typically appears on the abdomen or back and face first, then spreads to almost any part of the body, including the scalp, mouth, arms, legs and genitals.
The rash begins as multiple small red bumps that look like pimples or insect bites, which are usually less than a quarter of an inch wide. These bumps appear in over two to four days and develop into thin-walled blisters filled with fluid. When the blister walls break, the sores are left open, which then dries into brown scabs. This rash is extremely itchy and cool baths or calamine lotion may help to manage the itching.
What are the Treatment Options?
A virus causes chickenpox, which is why your pediatrician in will not prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. However, your child might need an antibiotic if bacteria infects the sores, which is very common among children because they will often scratch and pick at the blisters—it is important to discourage this. Your child’s pediatrician in will be able to tell you if a medication is right for your child.
If you suspect your child has chickenpox, contact your pediatrician right away!