It's important to be able to spot the differences between a regular sore throat or viral infection and strep throat. Anyone can get strep throat, but it is most common in children and teenagers. If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it's important to see your pediatrician immediately to determine whether or not your child has strep throat. Here are some symptoms of strep throat.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and throat pain. Severe pain in the throat is normally the first sign of strep throat. If you notice that your child's sore throat isn't going away easily, you may need to take your child to the pediatrician because it's usually difficult to get rid of the discomfort completely without the use of prescription medication.
Yellow or white patches on the tonsils or in the back of the throat are another symptom of strep throat. Instead of yellow or white patches, you may instead notice long streaks of pus coating your child's tonsils.
Pain during swallowing is another common symptoms of strep throat. If it becomes difficult for your child to swallow and they experience pain when they attempt to swallow, they may have strep throat.
If you touch the glands in your child's neck, you may be able to feel if their glands are swollen. The lymph nodes in your child's neck will usually be tender to the touch and swollen if they have strep throat, because normal lymph nodes are generally not painful or tender.
Headaches are another common symptom of strep throat. They can range in severity from mild to extremely excruciating. If your child's headache occurs frequently or worsens, be sure to consult a pediatrician immediately.
Another common symptom of strep throat in children is a fever over 100'F. A lower fever may end up being a symptom of a viral infection and not strep throat, so be sure to take note of that. With a viral infection, most fevers should go away on their own within one or two days, and by the third day, other symptoms should start to disappear.
So what are you waiting for? If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, be sure to consult your pediatrician as soon as possible so that they can determine whether or not your child has strep throat or just a viral infection and your child can receive all the relief they need.
Bacterial and viral infections can present with similar symptoms, but they are caused by two distinct types of microbes (single-celled germs that can cause disease) and are treated differently.
Both bacterial and viral infections can be minor (like sore throat), moderate (like chickenpox), or severe (like meningitis). The symptoms of both types of infection are similar.
Some infections can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. Examples include ear infections, pneumonia, meningitis, and upper respiratory infections (URIs), including the common cold. Your pediatrician may have to do diagnostic testing to determine whether the infection is viral or bacterial so they can treat the infection appropriately.
Read on to learn about the causes and symptoms of bacterial and viral infections and how your pediatrician might treat them.
You won’t be surprised to learn that bacterial infections are caused by bacteria. Bacteria are tiny microbes that enter the body and multiply. Many bacteria are beneficial to humans, like those in the stomach that help with the digestion of food. However, other types of bacteria can cause infection and illness.
Types of Bacterial Infections
The most common bacterial infections in children are ear infection, strep throat, and skin infections such as impetigo. Other examples include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Bacterial pneumonia.
- Pertussis (whooping cough).
- Bacterial meningitis.
- Lyme disease.
Causes of Bacterial Infections
Most bacterial infections are contagious. They can be spread by:
- Coughing or sneezing.
- Contact with an infected person, including touching and kissing.
- Contaminated water or food.
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face, nose, or mouth.
- Cuts on the skin.
- Contact with infected animals.
- Transfer from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
As you may have guessed, viral infections are caused by viruses. Viruses are microbes that are even smaller than bacteria, and there are hundreds of viruses that can infect humans. They enter the body and hide in cells where the body’s illness-fighting antibodies can’t reach them. This makes them difficult to treat and not responsive to antibiotics.
Types of Viral Infections
The most common viral infections seen in children include the common cold, ear infections, tonsillitis, bronchiolitis, chickenpox, and skin infections like molluscum contagiosum and warts. Other examples include:
- Influenza (flu).
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease.
- Fifth disease.
- Viral pneumonia.
- Epstein-Barr virus/mononucleosis.
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
- Viral meningitis.
- Viral infections can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term or even lifelong).
Causes of Viral Infection
Many viruses are contagious. Some of the ways they can spread from person to person are:
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Bites from infected insects like mosquitoes.
- Exposure to infected body fluids or needles.
- Transfer from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth.
Symptoms of Bacterial and Viral Infections
The symptoms of both types of infections are similar. In general, symptoms are the body’s efforts to rid itself of the infection. Common signs of infection include:
- Cold symptoms
How Diagnoses Are Determined
If your child has symptoms of an infection other than common cold symptoms, you should make an appointment with their pediatrician. The pediatrician will review your child’s medical history and do a physical exam.
Because the symptoms of viral and bacterial infections are so similar, the doctor may also order blood work, urine tests, or cultures to identify the bacteria or virus. Occasionally they will order a biopsy (in cases of skin infection, for example).
Treatment for Infections
Once your child’s doctor has identified the type of infection, they will determine how best to treat it.
In the case of a bacterial infection, your doctor may decide that the infection will clear safely on its own and will advise symptom management. This could include medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to control fever, along with rest and drinking lots of fluids. Other times, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
If your child’s infection is viral, antibiotics will not help. Most viruses are self-limited, meaning that the virus will “run its course” and your child’s immune system will clear the virus on its own. Medications are available for severe viral infections, but in most cases, your doctor will suggest symptom management alone.
How to Prevent Infection
Vaccinations provide the best protection from some major viruses such as measles, hepatitis A and B, and polio as well as bacterial illnesses like influenza, whooping cough, and tetanus.
With acute infectious illness, frequent handwashing is the best way to prevent spreading an infection to others, especially after toileting and after handling animals. Teach your child to always cover their nose or mouth when they cough or sneeze, or better still, cough or sneeze into their elbow. Avoid contact with others who have symptoms of respiratory infections. Disinfect doorknobs, counters, and other hard surfaces in your home regularly.
Bacterial and viral infections have a lot in common, including similar symptoms.
Your child should see a doctor if they have infectious symptoms other than common cold symptoms.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent major viral illnesses.
The best way to prevent acute infection is with good hand washing and avoiding those who are sick.
Symptom management is the best way to manage many bacterial infections. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
Antibiotics do not help with viral infections. Most childhood viruses will get better on their own with rest and symptom management.
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Here at Pediatrics On Demand, we have all the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully treat and provide care for your child. Contact us today to make an appointment or for more information.
With the rise of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children in the US, it’s now more important than ever for both parents and children to understand ways to prevent diabetes, as well as being able to identify the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. A pediatrician is an integral part of your child’s health, providing everything from screenings and vaccines to routine checkups and lifestyle recommendations to ensure that your child stays healthy.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects glucose levels in the body. When the cells in the pancreas responsible for making insulin do not produce enough insulin or are insulin resistant, this results in diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is most often diagnosed during childhood and is not the result of a poor diet or being overweight. In those with Type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas are unable to produce enough insulin. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes in children.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is also becoming increasingly common in children because of the high rates of obesity. Type 2 diabetes means that the body doesn’t use insulin properly. Ensuring that your child eats right, gets regular exercise and maintains a healthy weight can greatly reduce your child’s risk for type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of childhood diabetes?
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes will appear suddenly, while type 2 symptoms will develop over time. Symptoms may include:
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urination
- Extreme tiredness
- Mood swings
- Blurred vision
- Sudden weight loss
- Cuts or sores that don’t heal
- Dark patches of skin
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child it’s best to see a pediatrician right away. The sooner a diagnosis is made the sooner your child can get the proper medication and treatment they need to manage their blood sugar levels. By managing your child’s diabetes right away our doctors can prevent potentially serious complications and hospitalizations.
How is diabetes treated?
There are a variety of lifestyle modifications and medications that will be recommended to help treat your child’s type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For both forms of diabetes, a healthy diet and active lifestyle are paramount. Talk with your doctor about what foods your child should avoid. You will also want to monitor your child’s glucose levels during the day to make sure that the insulin medication is working effectively.
All children should visit their pediatricians regularly for checkups, vaccines and care. Of course, if your child displays any symptoms of diabetes, call our office immediately.
While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to manage your child’s asthma symptoms and to reduce the risk for a flare-up. Of course, to be able to properly control your child’s asthma it’s important to understand more about this condition and what triggers your child’s symptoms. A pediatrician will be a valuable asset when it comes to discussing asthma treatment options and addressing any concerns that you might have.
Know Your Child’s Triggers
There are a variety of environmental elements and conditions that can also trigger airway inflammation and lead to an asthma attack. It’s important to figure out what your child’s triggers are so you can avoid them as much as possible. Of course, this is something that your pediatrician can help you determine as well. Common triggers include:
- Outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold
- Indoor allergens such as pet dander
- Viral infections
- Weather changes
Stick With Your Plan
Once a pediatrician has diagnosed your child with asthma, the next step is to create an asthma management plan (also referred to as an action plan). This plan is designed based on your child’s specific triggers to minimize the severity and the frequency of your child’s flare-ups, which also reduces the need for emergency medical care. So, what’s including in an asthma action plan? Here’s what should be in your child’s action plan:
- The medications prescribed to your child, along with how much they take and when they should take them
- Possible triggers
- Pinpointing the early signs of asthma flare-ups and what to do when they occur
- How to handle an asthma attack
- When to seek immediate medical attention
Take Medications as Directed
Medication is the most common way to manage asthma symptoms. Your pediatrician will prescribe a long-term controlling medication that your child will use daily to reduce airway swelling. When signs of a flare-up appear, a quick-acting inhaler can reduce swelling and prevent it from getting worse.
Know Signs of a Flare-up
Once your child has experienced a couple of flare-ups you’ll begin to pick up the warning signs so that you can start to recognize when another one might occur. These warning signs might come in the form of a persistent cough or wheezing. When these symptoms appear it’s important to have your child’s medication readily available.
If your child is showing symptoms and warning signs of asthma it’s important that you bring them in for an immediate medical checkup. Call your pediatrician today to learn more about ways to help your child better control their asthma symptoms.
With the flu season in full swing, it can be difficult to keep you and your child from contracting the virus. The flu season is most active from the months of December and March. A fair amount of people have a misconception that if they are fine now, the flu will not pose a danger to their health if they catch it. While certain groups are more at risk and vulnerable when it comes to the flu (such as those who suffer from immune deficiency conditions), it does not indicate that healthier children and individuals cannot be impacted. Any and everyone can be at risk of facing serious complications of the flu, which is why it is essential to take preventative steps. Pediatrics On Demand has listed out some healthy habits for parents to practice with their children as precautionary measures to help keep kids healthy this flu season.
Get Your Family Vaccinated As Soon As Possible
Making sure that each and every one of your family members received their flu shot is the first and one of the most important steps parents can take to keep their children from catching the flu. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) strongly recommends an annual flu shot before the peak of the flu season for everyone ages six months and older. September through October is an optimal time to receive the flu shot. The CDC has based this advice on the best scientific evidence available.
Always Practice Proper Hand Washing
All it takes is one lazy act of skipping handwashing that can lead to weeks of staying in bed in order to fight the flu. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of an infection, especially if you’re starting to get an infection. This simple action is vital for adults and parents to practice with children. According to the CDC, cleaning your hands at key times with soap and water is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to those around you. Washing your hands with warm water and soap for sixty seconds is best recommended to avoid lingering germs.
Avoid Contact With Your Face
Another easy, yet major, way of protecting yourself and your children from getting the flu is by avoiding touching your face. More specifically, it is best that you avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as these areas are where cold and flu viruses typically gain the most access for infection. If touching these areas is absolutely inevitable, parents and children should wash their hands with soap and water before all else.
Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes
When you sneeze or cough, it is especially important to cover your nose and mouth. The CDC states that children and adults with the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away. So if your child is already in school and going to work is a daily thing for parents, it is important to make sure that you are covering your nose and mouth. It is also important for children to throw used tissue away in the trash. If tissues are not available for use, sneezing into your elbow or into your shirt is also a good choice.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Practicing healthy living habits is equivalent to a healthy immune system. This calls for getting enough sleep on the daily, eating balanced meals and exercising frequently. These habits are all things you can do to strengthen a child’s immune system and to avoid the risk of catching the flu. It can also be helpful to keep your child away from areas where second-hand smoke is prevalent. Lastly, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help boost a child’s immune system as well.
Keep Children at Home to Rest and Get Well
The body needs time to recuperate and fight against illness. Working for hours on end, day-by-day can impede the rate at which you or your child can ward off the flu. Taking a few days off from work or school may be necessary. According to the CDC, people with flu are the most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Children and other individuals with weakened immune systems can pass the virus for longer than seven days. If you or your child do get sick with the flu, it is best to try and isolate yourself from others to avoid spreading the virus. If you or your child are sick with a flu-like illness, it is recommended that you stay home for at least twenty-four hours after your fever has gone down, except for when seeking medical care.
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At Pediatrics On Demand, we advocate for parents to take all the necessary steps to keep their child in the healthiest state possible. If your child has the flu or is experiencing flu-like symptoms, contact Pediatrics On Demand to make an appointment or for our walk-in services today.
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