Posts for category: Child Health Care
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
August 13, 2021
Noticing rough, scaly patches of skin on your newborn’s scalp? If so, this is a sign of cradle cap. This condition (also known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis) is fairly common in newborns and typically isn’t anything to worry about. It’s similar to dandruff for adults; however, while it might not be harmful or painful for your little one, you may be curious to know how to get rid of it. While it will go away on its own, there are things you can do from the comfort of your own home to treat symptoms of cradle cap.
First, is it actually cradle cap?
It’s important to be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms of cradle crap. This condition most often occurs within the first 2-4 weeks of a baby’s life. This condition is characterized by oily, scaly, white or yellow patches that may crust over. While it might look unpleasant it isn’t painful and shouldn’t itch, but may be slightly red. You may also find these scaly patches on other parts of the body including the nose, ears and groin.
If the patches are itchy or painful, this could be a sign of another skin condition that will warrant seeing your pediatrician for an accurate diagnosis.
Should I seek treatment from a pediatrician?
Your baby’s cradle cap should go away on its own with a few weeks or months. You can care for cradle cap by simply using a mild shampoo and by shampooing your baby’s scalp every few days, which can help to remove scales. It’s important that you don’t scrub or become too aggressive with the scalp; however, if your child’s symptoms are severe or aren’t responding to home care, then it’s time to turn to a pediatrician who can prescribe a special, medicated cream or shampoo.
If you ever have concerns about your child’s health or any symptoms they may have, even minor ones, it’s important to bring it up with a qualified pediatrician that can address these concerns and also provide a fast diagnosis. No concern is too small when it comes to the health and wellbeing of your child.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
July 19, 2021
Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly widespread in the US, and not just with adults! In fact, about one in 10 children in the US are deficient in vitamin D and as many as 60 percent could have “suboptimal levels” of vitamin D, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. This is why all pediatricians need to screen children for a vitamin D deficiency, as this can impact bone growth, metabolism, and multiple organs and systems.
The Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is critical for all of us, but especially children. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium, as well as for the support and development of a healthy body. Children with severe vitamin D deficiencies may develop muscle weakness, delayed motor development, rickets, and fractures.
Where to Get Vitamin D
Unlike most vitamins, which we can often get through diet alone, vitamin D is acquired through time spent in the sun. You won’t find many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Unfortunately, if you’re in a place that doesn’t get much sunlight then chances are good your child may not be getting enough vitamin D.
Children get about 80 percent of their vitamin D from sunlight. So if your child doesn’t spend much time outdoors (especially during the winter months) it’s a good idea to talk with your pediatrician about ways to ensure that your child is getting enough vitamin D.
Children with certain health problems such as cystic fibrosis or celiac disease, as well as children who’ve undergone bone surgeries may require more vitamin D. This is something you should discuss with your pediatrician. Children over 1-year-old need at least 600 IU of vitamin D (or more) a day. Ideally, children should get around 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day.
We also know that too much time in the sun can also pose risks for children, especially their skin. During the summer months, children only need a few minutes a day in the sun to get enough vitamin D. During the winter months, kids should get about 2-3 hours per week. Children under 6 months old should never be placed in direct sunlight.
Children with darker skin will also need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same levels of vitamin D as kids with lighter skin. Just sitting inside near windows won’t be enough for your child’s body to produce vitamin D.
Nothing is more important than keeping your child healthy. If your child hasn’t been checked for a vitamin D deficiency, you must talk with your pediatrician to find out if this screening is right for them. Fortunately, if you find out that your child is deficient, it’s an easy fix!
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
May 04, 2021
Tags: Ear Infection
Wondering if your child might be dealing with an ear infection?
While you will certainly know when you’re dealing with an ear infection; unfortunately kids, particularly newborns and toddlers, can’t tell you that they are experiencing ear pain. Ear infections are incredibly common in young children, with five out of six children experiencing at least one ear infection by the time they turn three years old. Know the warning signs and when to turn to your pediatrician for treatment.
They may have trouble sleeping
It’s not too surprising that with pressure building up in the middle ear due to bacteria that your child may get fussy or even throw a tantrum about going to bed. Children with ear infections often toss and turn and feel worse when they lie down. If your little one suddenly starts crying when they lie down this could be a sign of an ear infection.
They tug at their ears
While a toddler won’t be able to tell you that their ear hurts, they can show you. You may be able to discern whether your child could have an ear infection by whether or not they are tugging and pulling at their ears. Again, the pressure inside the ears can be incredibly uncomfortable and even painful, and children might fidget with their ears to minimize the discomfort.
They could have a fever
If a child has a middle ear infection, commonly, they could also have a fever. If your child’s ear looks red, if they tug at their ear and seem fussier lately, and they have a fever over 100 degrees F then it’s probably time to see a pediatrician.
Their ears might drain
Another telltale sign of an ear infection in your little one is the presence of fluid or pus draining from the ear. If there is the presence of blood in the fluid this might be a sign of a ruptured eardrum. While the eardrum will heal on its own, it’s still a good idea to see your pediatrician if pus or fluid is draining from your child’s ear.
If your child is displaying symptoms of an ear infection, or if you’re concerned about your child’s recurring ear infections, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician. A pediatrician will be able to dispense the proper medication and discuss other ways to reduce your child’s risk of developing future infections.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
April 15, 2021
Mono, nicknamed the “kissing disease” because of how easily it spreads from person to person, is a viral infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Pediatricians most often see this infection in teens and it may be mistaken for the flu. While most cases of mono will go away on their own, it can take months for a child or teen to fully recover. It’s important to be able to recognize the differences between the influenza virus and mono.
What are the symptoms of mono?
Symptoms will vary between children, teens, and adults. Children don’t typically show the standard symptoms of mono. In fact, mono might look more like a cold or flu in your little one. The classic symptoms associated with mono are more apparent in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 to 24 years old.
Classic mono symptoms include,
- High fever
- Extreme fatigue and exhaustion
- Body aches
- Muscle weakness
- Swollen lymph nodes of the neck
- Sore throat
Symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, and muscle weakness may be severe and can last for several weeks.
When should I turn to a pediatrician?
As you might already know, many of the symptoms above can be caused by colds, flu, and other infections that aren’t mono. If your child’s symptoms are mild, then you might not need to come into our office right away. Of course, if symptoms persist for weeks or get worse, then it’s time to visit your pediatrician.
You should call your pediatrician right away if,
- Your child develops a severe headache or sore throat
- Has seizures
- Displays changes in behavior
- Has a very high fever over 104 F
- Is dehydrated
- Develops a rash
While teens and adults can often be diagnosed through a standard physical examination, your pediatrician may need to perform blood tests to detect the Epstein-Barr virus in babies and young children.
If you are concerned that your teen may have mono, you must schedule an appointment with their pediatrician as soon as possible. While most cases will go away on their own without treatment, your child’s doctor can provide you with options for helping your child better manage their symptoms and feel better faster.
By Belkis R. Cepero, MD
March 30, 2021
Pertussis, more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a contagious bacterial infection of the lungs. The nickname comes from the “whooping” sound that occurs when a child breathes. While many people assume that whooping cough is an infection that no longer exists, it’s actually more common in the US than we’d like to admit. In fact, pediatricians have seen an increase in the number of whooping cough cases over the last couple of decades.
Whooping Cough May Look Like a Cold
You might brush off the early signs of whooping cough because they look an awful lot like the common cold. Older children and teens may develop congestion, mild fever, cough, or runny nose; however, within the first 1-2 weeks you will notice that the cough gets worse. In fact, your child may develop severe and sudden coughing fits.
Children and newborns are more likely to display severe symptoms. They may not have a whoop in their cough, but they may vomit or show severe fatigue after coughing. While anyone can develop whooping cough, infants are at particular risk for serious and life-threatening complications so it’s important to have your family vaccinated.
Vaccines Can Protect Against Whooping Cough
While newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough, you should make sure that the rest of your family is fully vaccinated. The DTaP vaccine will protect against whooping cough and will be administered at 2, 4, and 6 months old, again at 15 to 18 months, and again at 6 years for a total of five doses.
Turn to a Pediatrician Right Away
If you suspect that your child might have whooping cough, you must call your pediatrician right away. Children under 18 months old may require hospitalization so doctors can continuously monitor them, as children are more likely to stop breathing with whooping cough. Of course, coming in during the early stages of the infection is important as antibiotics are more effective at the very start of the illness.
Until the body clears whooping cough, some of the best ways to manage your child’s symptoms include,
- Resting as much as possible
- Staying hydrated
- Sticking to smaller meals to safeguard against cough-induced vomiting
- Making sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations
If you want to fully protect your child against many dangerous communicable diseases, one of the best ways is through vaccinations. Your child must be up to date on all of their vaccines. Talk with your pediatrician to find out when your child should get the whooping cough vaccine.