Immunizations, or childhood vaccines, are foundational to your family's health and well-being. Here at Pediatric Associates of Davidson County's Nashville office, your team of five pediatricians and their support staff recommend the vaccine schedule published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Safe and proven to limit the devastating effects of a wide range of communicable diseases, immunizations arm your child's body to fight infection and to keep the world around them healthy, too!
How immunizations work
Most childhood and adult "shots" contain a small amount of disease-carrying micro-organisms that have been severely weakened and purified into an injectable form. Post-administration, this medication stimulates the body's own defenses to produce antibodies which protect against active infection and the dangerous symptoms of diseases such as tetanus, whooping cough, measles, and chicken pox.
Additionally, childhood vaccines benefit the community at large with something called "herd immunity." When as many people as possible are vaccinated against a communicable disease, fewer people get sick overall, and therefore those who cannot receive shots due to ongoing cancer treatment or other serious reason, are protected.
While some parents worry about the possible side effects of childhood immunizations, your pediatricians wish to assure you that vaccines are safe and effective. Localized reactions, such as fever, site soreness, and tenderness, are minor, limited, and far outweighed by the benefits of these easily accessible and effective protections.
Other important information
Immunizations are required for many childhood activities such as school, sports, and participation in community organizations. Pediatric Associates of Davidson County will keep accurate records of your child's shots and give appropriate documentation to school, camp, daycare, and more as warranted.
The doctors follow the immunization schedules as published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Birth through age 6), (Ages 7 through 18) and a catch-up schedule for children who have gotten behind in receiving their vaccines due to illness or other circumstance. Vaccines are administered during well-visits.
At Pediatric Associates of Davidson County, we welcome questions about immunizations or any other aspect of your child's healthcare. Good health begins right away, and the doctors wish to help parents in maintaining it for each and every child. Call us for your next well-child visit: (615) 329-3595.
A hearing screening is the easiest way to determine if your child is suffering from hearing loss. Thanks to a hearing screening, your pediatrician can determine the degree of hearing loss and how best to help your child hear well again. If your child’s hearing loss goes undiagnosed, it can lead to problems with normal development, learning disabilities, and problems socializing with others.
Your child could be suffering hearing loss from a variety of causes including a family history of hearing problems, infection during pregnancy, or birth complications. Hearing problems can also be caused by middle ear infections, infectious diseases, or even loud noises.
So, how do you know if your child needs a hearing screening? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) these are some of the most common signs and symptoms of hearing loss in babies and children:
- Not turning toward sounds at 6 months
- Not saying single words at 1 year
- Not hearing all sounds
- Not answering to their name
- Delayed or unclear speech
- Difficulty following directions
Hearing screenings are often performed at well-child visits and during school physicals. If your child hasn’t had a hearing screening, and you notice any of the signs and symptoms listed above, you should schedule a hearing screen as soon as possible. Early detection of hearing difficulties leads to early treatment, which is much better for your child.
If your child has hearing difficulties, don’t worry. There are many effective ways to help with hearing loss including:
- State-of-the-art hearing aids, cochlear implants and other hearing devices
- Medications if the hearing loss is caused by an ear infection
- Surgical treatment to correct structural issues which may be causing the hearing loss
- Alternative communication techniques
- Educational and supportive services for the family
A hearing screening is important to the health and well-being of your child. You don’t want your child to miss out on all of the beautiful sounds of life. Your pediatrician can help you schedule a hearing screening to get your child started on the road to hearing well.
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:
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:
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:
Slowed or stopped breathing
Feeding difficulties, which may lead to dehydration and severe weight loss
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!
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!
Does Your Child Have Vision Problems?
Does your child have vision problems? Children learn through their eyes. Healthy vision is critical for children to see the computer and chalkboard, read, write, and even play. Children's eyes should be examined regularly, as many eye conditions and vision problems can be detected and treated early. Here are six signs that your child may have a vision problem.
1. Squinting eyes. If your child is nearsighted then squinting his eyes helps him make his vision a little clearer and can clear up any distorted vision. Nearsighted just means that they can see things that are near them but have a harder time with objects that are far away. Squinting is a coping mechanism to help relieve their blurry vision.
2. Sitting close to the TV. While it's a myth that sitting close to the television will damage your eyes, this habit may be a sign of a vision problem. If your child can't see televised images clearly or always holds a book too close, it could mean she or he is nearsighted.
3. Frequent eye rubbing. Yes, kids often rub their eyes when they're upset or tired. But if your child rubs her eyes while she's trying to concentrate on something, or while she is being active, it could mean that she has a vision problem. Frequently rubbing their eyes can be a sign of eye strain in children. It can be a sign of a focusing issue that causes the eyes to tire easily.
4. Losing place while reading. When children learn to read and are sounding out words, they will frequently use their finger to track which word they're on. But eventually children should be able to focus without losing their place. If after a while your child still uses his finger, ask him to try reading without pointing. If he has trouble, he may have a vision problem.
5. Sensitivity to light. Are your child's eyes sensitive to sunshine or indoor lighting? Many common eye conditions can make people more sensitive to light. If your child's light sensitivity is caused by an eye condition, then treatment for their condition can mean that his eye becomes less light sensitive.
6. Receiving lower grades. If your child is having a hard time seeing what her teacher writes on the board because of poor vision, she may not tell you about it. As a result, her grades can suffer. Most of what kids learn in schools is taught visually. That means if your child has an untreated vision problem, it could affect his or her development.
Yearly eye exams are as important as visits to the pediatrician. If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule an appointment with a doctor. Early detection and treatment provide the best opportunity to correct a vision problem so your child can learn to see clearly.
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