My Blog
By Southwestern Pediatrics PLLC
May 17, 2018
Category: Child Care
Tags: Allergies  

Your five-year-old child is sneezing and coughing. Her eyes are watery and puffy. This can't be another cold, can it? Maybe it's not a viral infection but rather something which plagues millions of children. This could be allergies, and your pediatricians at Southwestern PediatricsAllergies in Maricopa, AZ, can help. Your "kid doctor," Dr. Anthony DiGeorge, and his caring, professional team decipher allergic symptoms and formulate treatment plans that work.

Symptoms

Allergies are the human body's response to certain environmental triggers--things ingested, touched, or inhaled. While these substances are not toxic by nature, the child's immune system over-reacts to them, secreting histamines and other microscopic substances which produce symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Hives (red, itchy, raised skin bumps)
  • Tongue and facial puffiness
  • Anaphylactic shock

The last symptom may include unconsciousness and severe constriction of the airway. Many children with allergies suffer from anaphylactic shock in response to peanuts or an insect bite or sting. This kind of response is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

Diagnosis

Identification of symptoms plays a big role in allergy diagnosis. Your kid doctor in Maricopa also may perform skin testing which involves introducing a tiny amount of a suspected allergen under the skin and observing the results. Blood tests also help pinpoint allergic responses.

Your pediatrician may suggest eliminating certain foods from your child's diet to see if that impacts symptoms. The American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology also advises a complete medical exam and history to rule out other health problems.

Treatment

Immunotherapy, or introducing known triggers through allergy "shots" or drops, remains a common and well-respected method of de-sensitizing both children and adults to allergens. Use of oral medications, such as antihistamines, treats symptoms as does avoidance of the environments, foods, or substances which precipitate symptoms.

Severe reactions may require administration of adrenaline as soon as possible. Many parents and older children carry EpiPens to give a fast and often life-saving dose of medication on site before proceeding to Southwestern Pediatrics or the hospital emergency room.

Day to day helps

  1. Wash face and hands after playing outside. Leave shoes in the hall or mudroom to avoid tracking allergens indoors.
  2. Keep pets, pet bedding, and cages clean.
  3. Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days. Keep windows closed.
  4. Avoid foods known to cause symptoms.
  5. Take medications as prescribed.
  6. Symptoms change over time. Be alert to a reduction in symptoms and to new ones which may arise.

Learn all you can

Dr. DiGeorge and the staff at Southwestern Pediatrics are happy to help children and parents deal with allergies. If you think your child is developing allergic sensitivities, call the office in Maricopa, AZ, for an appointment. Our providers are very knowledgeable, caring, and accurate in their treatment plans. Contact us today: (520) 568-9500.

By Southwestern Pediatrics PLLC
May 15, 2018
Category: Child Health
Tags: Diabetes  

You disinfect their toys. You make sure they wash their hands. You keep them from putting odd things they find in their mouths. You do everything you can to keep your child healthy and happy, but some illnesses aren’t completely under your control. Type 1 diabetes, most commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, is an autoimmune disease where the body stops producing insulin. It has no known cause, there is no way to prevent it, it is not tied to lifestyle or diet, and there is no cure. But there are recognizable symptoms, which can help you catch it early and get your child the help they need.

Common Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

The most common early signs of diabetes are increased urination and thirst. This is because your child doesn’t have enough insulin to process glucose, leading to high blood-sugar and a reaction where their body pulls fluid from tissues. This makes your child constantly thirsty and in need of bathroom breaks. Other warning signs include:

∙         Fatigue: Your child always seeing tired or drowsy could signal their body is having trouble processing sugar into energy. Extreme instances of this include stupor and unconsciousness.

∙         Changes in vision: Having high blood-sugar often causes blurred vision and other eyesight problems.

∙         Fruity smelling breath: Having breath that smells fruity, even when it’s been a while since your child ate, often means there’s excess sugar in their blood.

∙         Increased hunger or unexplained weight loss: Extreme hunger can mean your child’s muscles and organs aren’t getting enough energy. Any sudden weight loss in your child should not be ignored, but especially when they’ve been eating more.

∙         Changes in behavior: Your child suddenly seeming moodier or more restless than normal while showing any of the symptoms.

Get Help from Your Pediatrician

Your child having heavy or labored breathing or experiencing nausea and vomiting are also signs of diabetes, but all of these symptoms, regardless of whether or not they are from diabetes, are cause for you to take your child to their pediatrician. Untreated, type 1 diabetes can be life-threatening. But with the help of a pediatrician and the same diligence you use to keep your child safe from viruses and bacteria, your child can grow up healthy and happy. If you have any questions or concerns, call our office today.

By Southwestern Pediatrics PLLC
May 01, 2018
Category: Child Care
Tags: Eye Problems  

When your little one is first born they will go through a series of tests and screenings to make sure they are healthy. This includes checking theirEye Problems vital signs, hearing, and vision. Your child’s first battery of health screenings will occur while you are still in the hospital. If everything checks out just fine then you’ll be good to go until you need to visit the pediatrician in the coming week. Of course, if we discover that there is an issue with their vision you may need to visit your child’s pediatrician sooner.

Of course, not all pediatric eye problems occur at birth. They can also happen as your child continues to develop over the years. This is why it’s so important that you are visiting your pediatric doctor regularly to ensure that if there is a problem with your child’s vision that they get the proper care they need to prevent more serious issues from happening.

Here are just some of the most common eye problems that children face:

  • Nystagmus: A condition that causes involuntary and repetitive eye movements, which results in a reduction in vision.

  • Strabismus: Sometimes referred to as crossed eyes, this is when the eyes are not aligned with one another.

  • Amblyopia: Colloquially referred to as a “lazy eye”, this condition occurs when vision is one eye doesn’t develop properly, resulting in reduced vision.

  • Congenital cataract: While most people associate cataracts with older individuals, it is possible for a child to be born with this condition that causes clouding of the ocular lens.

Some eye problems can be caught at birth; however, it’s important to understand that babies aren’t born with all of their visual capabilities. This is something that is learned over time as their eyes continue to develop and send signals to their brain. A baby’s vision isn’t as clear as ours; however, in the first few months, you’ll begin to see them focus on objects close up, develop eye-hand coordination as they grab for things they want or follow moving objects.

Of course, you will have a pediatrician schedule to follow, which ensures that your little one is getting the proper care, checkups, vaccinations, and screenings they need to check off certain developmental milestones. If your pediatrician detects vision problems they will most likely refer you to a pediatric eye doctor who can provide you with the best treatment options.

If at any time you become worried about your child’s vision, then it’s important that you make an appointment with your pediatrician to have their vision tested. Your pediatrician is here to make sure that your growing child gets the care they need throughout the course of their developing life so they can become a healthy, happy adult.

By Southwestern Pediatrics PLLC
April 17, 2018
Category: Child Safety
Tags: Playground Safety  

Playground SafetyWhether it’s at the park, school or in your own backyard, kids of all ages enjoy climbing on the monkey bars, going down the slide and swinging.  Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise, take in fresh air and socialize with friends.   Unfortunately, it’s also a place many kids get injured every year as a result of faulty equipment and improper use.  In fact, each year more than 200,000 kids under the age of 15 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for playground-related injuries.

While there are some inevitable dangers, the good news is that many of these injuries can easily be prevented with proper supervision. Do you know what to look for to make sure your playground is safe?

Play it Safe: What to Look for at Your Playground

Risks linked with playground safety may not be as apparent as those associated with swimming or biking; you just have to know what to look for. You can make the playground safe and fun for your kids by checking equipment and surfacing for potential hazards and following some simple safety guidelines. These include:

  • Always supervise your child to ensure playground equipment is used properly.  
  • Regularly check playground equipment for loose, sharp or broken parts. 
  • Know which surfacing is most appropriate. Sand, wood chips and rubberized matting are the safest surfaces for playgrounds, while concrete or asphalt could lead to a serious injury if a child falls.
  • Make sure playground equipment is age and size appropriate for your child.
  • Minimize injuries by teaching your kids basic playground rules.
  • Play areas for younger children should be separated from those for older kids.
  • Don’t let children wear drawstrings, purses, necklaces or other items that could get caught on equipment.
  • Report dangerous playgrounds to responsible parties.
  • Ask your pediatrician about other tips for playground safety.

Don’t let careless behavior or a faulty apparatus ruin playground fun.  To minimize injuries, always be on the lookout for faulty equipment, improper surfaces, and careless behavior.  Play is an essential part of a child’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Following these playground safety tips will help your kids play as safely as possible.

By Southwestern Pediatrics PLLC
April 03, 2018
Category: Child Care
Tags: Head Lice  

Head LiceTwo words parents dread hearing--head lice. Head lice are parasites that can be found on the heads of people, most common among preschool and elementary children. Each year millions of school-aged children in the U.S. get head lice. Though it may be a nuisance, the good news is that lice will not cause medical harm and in most cases can be effectively treated at home.

Lice are highly contagious and can spread quickly from person to person, especially in group settings, such as schools, sporting events and slumber parties. Head lice spread mainly by direct head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice, but it can also be transferred indirectly when kids share combs, brushes, pillows or hats. Because children play closely together and often in large groups, all children can potentially be affected, and poor personal hygiene is not a significant risk factor for getting head lice. In other words, if your child is exposed to someone with head lice, they have a pretty good chance of bringing it home as well.

Does your child have lice?

The most obvious sign of head lice is an itchy scalp. If you notice your child scratching behind their ears or at the back of his neck, examine the child’s head for signs of lice. Lice are very small, but it is possible to detect them with the naked eye. Combing through the child’s hair with a fine-toothed comb can help reveal any eggs. If you are unsure, visit your pediatrician. An itchy scalp may also be caused by an allergy, eczema or dandruff.

Don’t Panic—Head Lice is Very Treatable

If your child has head lice, take action immediately once you’ve made the diagnosis as lice can spread easily from one person to another, putting other members of your household at risk. The most common treatment is an over-the-counter or prescription cream, lotion or shampoo. You apply it to the skin or scalp to kill the lice and eggs. In many cases, two treatments are necessary. If after two treatments you believe your child may still have head lice, contact your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor can recommend a different form of treatment.

You may be tempted to throw away bedding, clothing or other items in your household, but a simple wash will do the trick. Toss your child’s bed sheets, clothes, hats and other belongings in the washing machine in hot water, and dry on high heat to kill any remaining lice. Other members of your household should also be checked for lice.

To prevent kids from getting lice or becoming re-infested, tell kids not to share combs, brushes, hats or other personal items with anyone else. To prevent head lice, examine your child’s scalp regularly, especially during the school year, to detect lice early.

Remember, lice are very preventable and treatable. Be patient and follow the treatments and prevention tips as directed by your child’s pediatrician for keeping lice at bay and your household bug-free.





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