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Posts for category: Children's Health

By Maria Katsoulis-Emnace MD, FAAP / Lionel Foz MD, FAAP / S.K. Mate MD, FAAP
December 15, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Germs   Prevention  

Germ PreventionKids pick up germs all day, every day. Whether they are sharing toys, playing at day care or sitting in the classroom, whenever children are together, they are at risk for spreading infectious diseases.

Parents should play an active role in helping their kids stay healthy by taking extra precaution to minimize germs. Here are a few tips on how.

Tidy Up

Spending just a few extra minutes each day tidying up your household can go a long way to keep your home germ-free and your kids healthy. Disinfect kitchen countertops after cooking a meal, and wipe down bathroom surfaces as well—especially if your child has been ill with vomiting or diarrhea. Doorknobs, handrails and many plastic toys should also be sanitized on a routine basis. Simply by disinfecting your home more regularly, and even more so when someone in your household has been ill, you can significantly cut down on re-infection.

Set a Good Example

Parents should set good examples for their children by practicing good hand washing and hygiene at home. Encourage your kids to cough or sneeze into a tissue rather than their hands. Children should also be taught not to share drinking cups, eating utensils or toothbrushes. If your school-aged child does become ill, it’s best to keep them home to minimize spreading the illness to other children in the classroom.

Hand Washing

Finally, one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to prevent the spread of infection is by hand washing. At an early age, encourage your child to wash their hands throughout the day, especially:

  • After using the bathroom
  • Before eating
  • After playing outdoors
  • After touching pets
  • After sneezing or coughing
  • If another member of the household is sick

The Centers for Disease control recommends washing hands for at least 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove germs.

Parents can’t keep their kids germ-free entirely, but you can take extra precautions to help keep your environment clean. It’s also important to help your child understand the importance of good hygiene and thorough hand washing as a vital way to kill germs and prevent illnesses. 

By Maria Katsoulis-Emnace MD, FAAP / Lionel Foz MD, FAAP / S.K. Mate MD, FAAP
December 04, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Sick Child   Fever  

FeverGenerally, a fever is brought on by an infection from a virus or bacterial infection. While many times a parent’s first instinct is to worry when their child has a fever, it’s not necessarily a sign that something serious is taking place. That’s because a fever is the body’s normal, infection-fighting response to infection and in many cases is considered a good sign that the child’s body is trying to heal itself.

When to Visit Your Pediatrician

Fevers are one of the most common reasons parents seek medical care for their child. Most of the time, however, fevers require no treatment.

When a child has a fever, he may feel warm, appear flushed or sweat more than normal—these are all common signs. So, when does a child’s fever warrant a pediatrician’s attention?

You should call your pediatrician immediately if the child has a fever and one or more of the following:

  • Exhibits very ill, lethargic, unresponsive or unusually fussy behavior
  • Complains of a stiff neck, severe headache, sore throat, ear pain, unexplained rash, painful urination, difficulty breathing or frequent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea
  • Has a seizure
  • Is younger than 3 months and has a temperature of 100.4°F or higher
  • Fever repeatedly rises above 104°F for a child of any age
  • Child still feels ill after fever goes away
  • Fever persists for more than 24 hours in a child younger than 2 years or more than 3 days in a child 2 years of age and older

All children react differently to fevers. If your child appears uncomfortable, you can keep him relaxed with a fever-reducing medication until the fever subsides. Ask your pediatrician if you have questions about recommended dosage. Your child should also rest and drink plenty of fluid to stay hydrated. Popsicles are great options that kids can enjoy!

For many parents, fevers can be scary, particularly in infants. Remember, the fever itself is just the body’s natural response to an illness, and letting it run its course is typically the best way for the child to fight off the infection. Combined with a little TLC and a watchful eye, your child should be feeling normal and fever-free in no time.

Whenever you have a question or concern about your child’s health and well being, contact your Brick pediatrician for further instruction.

By Maria Katsoulis-Emnace MD, FAAP / Lionel Foz MD, FAAP / S.K. Mate MD, FAAP
November 15, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Baby Food  

Solid Baby FoodGiving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?

Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.

Is my baby ready for solids?

As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.

  • Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
  • Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.  
  • Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.

Getting started

To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.

Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.

As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.

Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.

By Maria Katsoulis-Emnace MD, FAAP / Lionel Foz MD, FAAP / S.K. Mate MD, FAAP
August 15, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Headaches  

Headaches and ChildrenA number of factors can cause a child to develop a headache, such as stress, lack of sleep, skipped meals and certain medications. Other times a child may suffer from a headache due to a common illness or infection, such as a cold or flu.  And in serious cases, head trauma or an underlying condition such as meningitis could be causing the child’s headache. That’s why it’s important for parents to pay close attention to their child’s headache patterns.

Although it’s easy for parents to worry, most headaches in children are rarely a sign of something serious. However, parents should contact their child’s pediatrician if the child has unexplained or recurring headaches over a short period of time or on a regular basis.

Parents should also notify their pediatrician if the child’s headache is accompanied by one or any combination of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Double vision, weakness in a limb or loss of balance
  • Disabling pain that does not improve with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Decreased level of alertness
  • Vomiting
  • Change in personality

To help pinpoint the causes of your child’s headaches, parents should keep a diary of their child’s symptoms. Track when headaches occur, how long they last, the severity of the headache and if anything provides relief. Over time, your notes can help you and your pediatrician understand the child’s symptoms to reach a diagnosis and proper treatment plan.

Your child’s pediatrician may also ask you a series of questions to determine the source of your child’s headaches:

  • Do the headaches follow a pattern or do they change over time?
  • Has your child recently suffered a serious injury?
  • What seems to help or worsen headaches?
  • Does your child take any medications or have any past medical issues?
  • Does your child have allergies?
  • Is there a history of headaches in your family?

In many cases, a child’s headache may be relieved at home with simple care. Over-the-counter pain medications, rest and avoiding those triggers that prompt headaches may be enough to ease the pain.

Remember, headaches are not always a symptom of something more serious. However, parents should be mindful of the types of headaches their child has and how frequently they occur. If you suspect something is wrong or not normal, always contact your pediatrician for an appointment.

By Maria Katsoulis-Emnace MD, FAAP / Lionel Foz MD, FAAP / S.K. Mate MD, FAAP
August 01, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Food Allergies   Allergies  

Food AllergyEspecially during the younger years, adequate food and nutrition is vital for a child’s growth and development. But for some children, a snack or meal as simple as a peanut butter sandwich or a cup of milk can cause serious health problems. So, what’s a parent to do when they suspect their child is allergic to a certain food?

A food allergy is the abnormal response of the immune system to a food. It’s possible to be allergic to any food, but these particular foods are responsible for the majority of allergies: milk, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and peanuts. Food allergies should not be confused with food intolerance, or food sensitivity, which is more common and less severe.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction typically occur within just moments to an hour after the child ingests a food. They can range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, so it’s important for parents to understand what to do if they suspect their child is having an allergic reaction to food. Symptoms will vary for each child, but the most common telltale signs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Trouble breathing
  • Itching or swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth or throat
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Light-headedness or loss of consciousness

Food allergy symptoms often resemble other medical conditions, so always contact your pediatrician for a proper diagnosis. If you suspect your child has a food allergy, remove that particular food from your child’s diet immediately. If the allergic reaction is severe, seek medical care right away.

The good news is that food allergies are often outgrown during early childhood. Your pediatrician or allergist can perform tests to pinpoint and track your child's food allergies They can also work with you to modify and manage your child’s diet to ensure they are receiving adequate nutrition for growth and development without putting them at risk for additional allergic reactions.