Here’s your first-aid guide on how to care for minor childhood injuries.
In a perfect world, your child would never get injured, sick, or hurt; unfortunately, this just isn’t 100 percent preventable. Children are deeply curious and far more fearless than adults, which often means that they leave themselves prone to injuries and incidents along the way. Fortunately, most minor illnesses and injuries can be treated from the comfort of home.
Quick and Dirty First Aid Tips for Injuries
Minor burns, cuts, scrapes, and wounds won’t necessarily bring your child into the pediatrician’s office but you do want to know that you are doing everything you can to treat the injury. For minor scrapes, cuts, and wounds, gently clean the area with water to wash away any debris. If there is blood, apply pressure first for about 10-15 minutes before washing the wound. Then apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage to the area to prevent an infection.
If your child is dealing with a strain or sprain, using the RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method can certainly help. Ask your child’s healthcare provider about any over-the-counter pain medications they can use that might help them manage their pain as the injury heals.
When to Call Your Pediatrician
It’s important to recognize when injuries can be treated at home and when you need to make a trip to the pediatrician’s office. You should turn to a pediatrician if,
- There are signs of an infection (e.g. fever; increased redness; pus or drainage)
- There is a visible deformity after injury
- There was a popping or snapping sound at the moment of injury
- Pain is severe or getting worse
- Your child can’t put weight on the injured leg, ankle or foot
- Bleeding doesn’t stop after 10-15 minutes of applying pressure
Treating Minor Illnesses
So, what constitutes a minor illness? Minor illnesses include colds, ear infections, sore throats, and stomach flu. Viral infections like colds and certain ear infections don’t respond to antibiotics, so often the best course of action is to keep your child well hydrated and rested so the body can fight the infection. Of course, you also want to know when you should turn to a pediatrician for treatment. It’s time to call your pediatrician if,
- Your child is dealing with a severe sore throat and is having trouble swallowing or breathing
- Your child’s fever is high (102.5 F for children 3 months to 3 years and 103 F in children older than 3 years)
- Their symptoms are getting worse or aren’t improving with home care
- Your child is showing signs of dehydration
- Your child is acting strangely (e.g. severely lethargic; confused)
- New symptoms appear
- Symptoms persist for more than 5 days
If you are ever concerned about an illness or injury your child is dealing with, it’s always best to play it safe and turn schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician.
What causes ear infections?
There is one major culprit that causes ear infections: the common cold. When your child comes down with a cold the fluids can sometimes get stuck in the middle ear, which can irritate the eardrum. Since the immune systems of children under 3 years old are still developing, this often means that they don’t have the antibodies necessary to fight off this infection. This means that it’s inevitable that many young children will deal with an ear infection at some point.
What are the symptoms?
It isn’t always easy to tell whether your child isn’t feeling well or what’s going on, particularly if your child is too young to tell you. Of course, there are some warning signs to be on the lookout for. You may notice that your child is irritable and fussier than usual. They may be upset more easily or cling to you. They may also have trouble sleeping. You may also notice them tugging or pulling at the ear.
On top of these common signs, they may also have a loss of appetite, upset stomach, diarrhea, fever or vomiting. If you notice any of these signs then it’s a good idea to call your pediatrician to see whether you should bring your child into the office.
How are ear infections treated?
How an ear infection is handled will really depend on the severity and cause of the infection, as well as your child’s age. In some instances, children between 6 months and 2 years may be prescribed a round of antibiotics while in other situations your pediatrician may just monitor their condition before deciding whether or not to prescribe medication.
Often, children over the age of 2 may not be prescribed medication right away; your pediatrician may take a “wait and see” approach since some ear infections clear up on their own.
If you are ever concerned about the issues or symptoms your child is experiencing, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician for advice on the next steps. This can often provide parents with the peace of mind they need to know they are doing everything for their little one.
What is a well-child visit?
While newborns and infants have different schedules when it comes to how often they need to see their pediatrician, children over the age of 3 years old still need to come in once a year for a routine checkup.
These checkups are designed to check your child’s physical, mental and emotional health, and these checkups are not to be missed (no matter how healthy your child might seem). These visits are comprehensive because they are designed to help prevent health problems from occurring.
- Check and record their vitals (e.g. blood pressure; heart rate)
- Make sure they are meeting developmental milestones
- Screen for certain illnesses
- Administer necessary immunizations
- Providing advice and health education to both children and their parents
Have concerns about your child’s health, whether it’s physical symptoms or behavioral issues? A pediatrician is here to help with all of those issues and more. Remember, our medical team wants to work with you to make sure your little one always has thorough and individualized medical care.
If it’s time to schedule your little one’s next checkup, or if you have questions about the pediatric medical services your pediatrician offers, don’t hesitate to call them today. After all—your child’s health is always a top priority.
Is it safe to incorporate peanuts into my child’s diet?
Research shows that introducing a small number of peanut products to your baby’s diet may actually reduce their risk for an allergy. This means everything from adding a little bit of peanut butter to peanut powder to their food. You can introduce your child to peanut-based products at around 4-6 months old.
Is my child at risk for a peanut allergy?
It is important to recognize if your child is at high risk for a peanut allergy. If your child has an egg allergy or has severe eczema they may be more likely to have a peanut allergy and should be properly screened by a pediatrician, as even trace amounts of peanut products could cause a reaction. A skin or blood test may be performed to check your child’s response to peanuts and look for allergy signs.
What are the signs of a peanut allergy in children?
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, often coming on suddenly and lasting for hours. Mild symptoms may include hives on the face and mouth or a rash. Signs of a more severe allergic reaction include:
- Widespread hives
- Tongue or facial swelling
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the lips
My child has a peanut allergy. Now what?
While there isn’t a way to cure a peanut allergy the best treatment option is to simply avoid consuming peanuts and peanut products. Your child’s pediatrician can provide you with an extensive list of products your child will need to avoid. Make sure that they also don’t share food with other kids at school. Your pediatrician may also prescribe an EpiPen, which is to be used if your child has a severe allergic reaction. Your pediatrician may also recommend that your child see a pediatric allergist who can provide further and more specialized recommendations.
If your child is showing signs of a peanut allergy, call your child’s pediatrician today to schedule an evaluation. If you simply have questions about incorporating peanuts into your child’s diet to reduce their risk for an allergy, your pediatrician can also provide you with expert advice.
Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe for children?
Yes, the Covid-19 vaccine is safe for kids 5 years old and older. The vaccine has undergone the same testing, clinical trials, and authorization that the Covid-19 vaccine has for adults. While it is normal to experience mild side effects such as soreness at the injection site or fatigue, these are signs that the body is building up protection. While some kids may experience side effects, not all kids will.
What is in the Covid-19 vaccine?
There is a blend of active and inactive ingredients within the vaccines and each manufacturer has published a list of their vaccine’s ingredients online. All vaccines are free from metals and manufactured products such as carbon nanotubes. Vaccines do not contain eggs, latex, preservatives, or gelatin. Each manufacturer offers its list of ingredients that you can check out: Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson.
How many doses of the Covid-19 vaccine does my child need?
Pfizer is the only vaccine that is currently approved for use in children ages 5 years to 17 years old. Teens 18 years old and older can choose from Pfizer, Moderna, or the J&J vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses administered at least three weeks apart, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose.
Can my child get the booster shot?
It’s is recommended that everyone get the booster shot about 6 months after getting the Pfizer vaccine. Teens 16-17 years old and older are eligible for the booster shot and should get one. Talk to your pediatrician to find out if it’s time for your child’s booster.
If you need to schedule a Covid-19 vaccine for your child or teen, call your pediatrician today to book your child’s appointment. If you have additional questions about the vaccine, don’t hesitate to call your child’s doctor.
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