|To schedule an appointment, call 703-327-0075|
ADVICE LINE: 703-327-0075
BILLING & INSURANCE: 703-327-1800
25055 Riding Plaza, Suite 150
South Riding, VA 20152
MONDAY - THURSDAY:
7:00 AM - 7:30 PM
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
8:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Our office is closed on Sundays.
There are many potential causes of belly pain. Any pain that is severe or prolonged deserves a visit to the office. The information below is designed to help with suggestions for relief overnight for acute onset abdominal pain and to determine whether or not to seek emergency care for your child.
If your child has vomiting and/or diarrhea – see the Vomiting & Diarrhea topic below.
For Intermittent gas pain, a warm water bottle (hot water bottle) on the abdomen may be soothing. We occasionally will recommend some Tylenol (acetaminophen) for temporary pain relief. In general if there is a risk of dehydration, we avoid the use of ibuprofen.
If the pain is chronic or recurrent, causes are multiple and include:
This list is not all–inclusive and determining the cause usually requires an office visit. If you feel your child’s pain is a chronic problem or due to stress, please let our front desk know so they can give the physicians adequate appointment time to take a complete history.
**Please be advised that the concentration of INFANT ACETAMINOPHEN has changed as of August, 2011. PLEASE DOUBLE CHECK THE CONCENTRATION LISTED ON YOUR BOTTLE BEFORE DOSING YOUR CHILD. CALL OUR OFFICE WITH ANY QUESTIONS.
Dosing : ¼ tsp=1.25ml ½ tsp=2.5ml 1 tsp=5ml
ACETAMINOPHEN DOSING (TYLENOL)
|Infant Drops-OLD||Infant Drops-NEW||Children’s Suspension||Children’s Chewables||Jr. Strength Chewables|
|Concentration||80 mg/0.8ml||160 mg/5 ml||160mg/5ml||80mg tablet/caplet||160mg each tablet/caplet|
|6-11 lbs||0-3 mos||0.4 ml||1.25ml||1.25ml|
|12-17 lbs||4-11 mos||0.8ml||2.5ml||2.5ml|
|18-23 lbs||12-23 mos||1.2 ml
(0.8 + 0.4 ml)
|24-35 lbs||2-3 yrs||1.6 ml
(0.8 + 0.8 ml)
|36-47 lbs||4-5 yrs||7.5ml||3||1 ½|
|48-59 lbs||6-8 yrs.||10ml||4||2|
|60-71 lbs||9-10 yrs||12.5ml||5||2 ½|
|72-95 lbs||11 yrs||15ml||6||3|
|96 lbs & over||12yrs||4|
For Seasonal Allergies, click here.
Allergic reactions are common. Allergic reactions occur when our immune system overreacts to substances called allergens that we come into contact with through our skin, nose, eyes, respiratory tract, and/or gastrointestinal tract. They can be breathed into the lungs, swallowed, touched, or injected. Substances that don’t bother most people (such as bee sting venom, certain foods, medications, pet dander, and pollens) can trigger allergic reactions in others. Allergic reactions occur more often in people who have a family history of allergies.
Many allergic reactions are mild, while others can be severe and life-threatening. They can be confined to a small area of the body (local), or they may affect the entire body (systemic). The most severe form is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. Although first-time exposure may only produce a mild reaction, repeated exposures may lead to more serious reactions.
Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure. Immediate medical attention is needed for this condition. Without treatment, anaphylaxis can get worse very quickly and even lead to death.
Most severe allergic reactions occur within seconds or minutes after exposure to the allergen. However, some reactions can occur after several hours, particularly if the allergen causes a reaction after it has been eaten. In very rare cases, reactions develop after 24 hours.
Runny or stuffy nose, sometimes with fever, sore throat, cough, hoarse voice or swollen glands in the neck
Many children and adults have a profusely runny nose in the winter when they are breathing cold air. This usually clears within 15 minutes of coming indoors. This requires no special treatments and is not the result of infection. Children and adults who suffer from allergies will also have nasal congestion. They require appropriate allergy treatment. Newborns may sound stuffy on and off, but there is no nasal discharge. They are having dried mucous developing in the nasal passage which can be cleared with salt water drops and bulb syringing. Chronic nasal congestion lasting greater that 2-3 weeks may be a sign of a sinus infection or a foreign body placed in the nose (causes one-sided foul smelling thick runny nose).
Colds are caused by viruses, and therefore cannot be treated with antibiotics. Transmission of colds is by hand-to-hand contact, sneezing, and coughing. They are not transmitted by cold air or drafts. People are contagious for a day or two before the onset of symptoms and for an average of 7 to 10 days. As the colds progresses, contagiousness gradually decreases. Incubation time is less than a week. Most children get 6 to 10 colds a year, and the frequency increases if the child is in daycare or has siblings in school.
If a fever accompanies the cold it usually lasts less than 3 days, and the throat and nose symptoms typically last 7 to 10 days. The cough may persist up to 2 to 3 weeks.
For runny nose with lots of discharge- For infants use a bulb syringe to clear the secretions. It is especially helpful before a baby nurses or takes a bottle. Use a humidifier at night. Elevate the head of the crib or bed.- place a pillow underneath the mattress.
For stuffy nose with little discharge-Warm nose drops with a solution of salt water (use 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) or purchased saline drops can be placed in each nostril. This helps to break up the mucous and then you can suction the secretions with a bulb syringe. An older child can be told to blow the nose after the drops have been in for a minute. Use a humidifier at night.
Over the counter medications are not recommended in children under 2 years of age. In older children they may or may not be helpful. They do not shorten the course of the cold . These medications may also have some undesirable side effects such as jitteriness or excessive sleepiness. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used for fever recuction.
Colic means excessive crying in an infant 2 to 12 weeks of age who is otherwise healthy. It is a very common occurrence among infants, and the cause is unknown. Because many physical problems can cause excessive crying in an infant, the diagnosis of colic should be made only by a doctor.
Colic usually begins by 2 to 3 weeks of age and may last 3 or 4 months. Colicky infants usually cry at least 3 hours a day. The crying may or may not occur at the same time each day, but usually happens more often in the evening. The baby does not stop crying when usual ways of comforting, such as holding and feeding, are tried.
No one really knows the real cause of colic, but some things that may be related include:
Reflux (GERD) and constipation may also cause similar symptoms
There are a wide variety of things that may help, but very few that will work every time. Often, it is trial and error to find the ones that work best for your child. Suggestions that have helped babies with colic include:
The conjunctiva is a thin clear membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the eyeball. Pink eye is the inflammation or infection of that membrane. It occurs very commonly in all age groups. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, injury, allergy or foreign body. Infants can have repeated episodes of conjunctivitis secondary to blocked tear ducts. Bacterial conjunctivitis is extremely contagious and is very common in children who attend daycare or preschool.
The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of the pink eye. Bacterial conjunctivitis requires antibiotic drops or ointment. The infection usually clears in a few days. After 24 hours of medication it is okay to return to school or daycare. Other comfort measures include washing the affected eye(s) a few times a day with cold water. Apply a washcloth with cold water over the eyes for 5 minutes to soothe the itch or pain. Before putting in any medicines, remove all the pus from the eye with warm water and wet cotton balls. Unless this is done, the medicine will not have a chance to work. Other treatment measures include treatment for allergies or removal of a foreign body if these are determined to be the cause of the pink eye(s).
Constipation is a common illness that affects both small infants and older children. It can be a source of pain and embarrassment for the child, and frustration for the parent. In general, we define constipation by pain and effort, instead of duration. For instance, some babies stool every 5th day. This is normal as long as there is no pain associated with the bowel movement (BM). Some babies stool 2 times a day, but have pain associated with it. This is true constipation. Constipation can occur at any time, but usually presents in 2 age groups–shortly after birth and early school years.
Try to stay calm, positive, and understanding. This is not something children decide to do, and therefore punishment is not recommended. Do not give enemas, suppositories, or laxatives unless you are told to do so by your Doctor. Call your Doctor with any further concerns or issues.
Cough is one of the most frustrating symptoms to deal with as a parent, and equally frustrating for the physician. MOST of the time there is very little that can be done about a cough.
Most of you reading this will not be dealing with a child with the above level of distress and you are accessing our web site to learn if there is some way to get through the night. First, a bit about why we cough:
As it is with most “symptoms”, our bodies produce the cough as a means of protection. Coughing increases mucous clearance and speeds up the tiny hair cells in our airways that help protect our lower recpiratory tract from infection. So, think of a Cough as a good thing. This is why we don’t necessarily recommend suppressing it. A good example of how helpful our cough is comes from the experience in caring for children with cystic fibrosis. These children have much thicker mucous and have damage to their Cilia (the tiny Hair cells mentioned above) consequently, their cough is less effective. They suffer from recurrent bouts of pneumonia and need external assistance to bring up mucous. So, hopefully after reading this as you hear your child cough you may have less anxiety about it and actually welcome a bit of coughing.
Most coughs then, are a product of an upper respiratory infection (a cold or flu) that causes increased secretions. Mucous that an adult or older child would spit out or blow into a tissue is swallowed by the young ones. This post nasal drip is what accounts for the more severe sounding cough in our children. Cough without the post nasal drip can also be caused by irritation or mild inflammation to the upper respiratory tract, such as croup. Croup causes a dry dog or seal like barking cough that is worse at night. Most of these viral coughs last about 2 weeks, but some cause a prolonged (>3 week) cough. If your childs cough has lasted more than 2 weeks and is not improving or worsening we should see them in the office the next day. Prolonged cough without the above emergency symptoms does not need emergency care.
If you think you are dealing with one of the viral coughs this is where the frustration comes in. First, calm yourself by re-reading how protective coughs are, then get a humidifier or vaporizer going in your childs room (unless they have a known allergy to dust mites or molds). This adds moisture to the air and may make the cough less disruptive to sleep–it DOES NOT stop the cough. Some menthol and camphor based products, like Vicks can either be put in the humidifier or rubbed on the chest if they are old enough not to touch it and might put it in their eyes.
There are now menthol products that can be plugged indo an outlet, but I am unsure of their safety with small children at this time. The menthol conctricts the blood vessels in the nasal passage and may indirectly reduce cough by reducing the amount of congestion.
Cough syrups are rarely helpful. Dextrometorphan is the DM added to the end of the brand name and it is foul tasting and not very effective. It is hard to justify the fight it takes to get this medication into your child when it may reduce the frequency of cough by 5 – 0%. Expectorants don’t help as children don’t expectorate, so skip this one in total. If sleep is disturbed (the childs, not just yours) a single dose of diphenhydramine, (Benadryl) may help your child cross over from drowsy to actually asleep .
Of course, one should not forget the tried and true concentration on pushing fluids during a cold, it helps clear the secretions, and provides some calories for the little ones who reduce their solid food intake during the illness.
If your child has a hictory of wheezing or asthma and has a significant cough it is never wrong to try the Albeterol or Xopenex and monitor for decreased cough as a result. Remember that for a few minutes after the treatment the Cough may worsen as the treatment opens up previously closed airways and secretions are mobilized.
Perhaps one of the most frightening of the common childhood illnesses that we deal with as parents is croup. Your child may wake up in the middle of the night with a barky cough, or even gasping for breath, and leave you feeling panicked. This is what croup is all about:
Croup actually describes a group of illnesses that cause inflammation (swelling) of the larynx (vocal cords) and trachea. That’s why children tend to get a dry, barky cough or hoarse voice when they get croup. Croup is almost always caused by a virus – most commonly parainfluenza – although influenza, RSV, rhinovirus, and others may also cause croup. Unfortunately, this means that antibiotics will not help cure croup. These illnesses are most common in the spring and fall/early winter, though they can occur year round. A typical infection tends to last about five days and may be accompanied by fevers (sometimes quite high), decreased appetite, and sore throat. Some children have recurrent episodes of croup, or spasmodic croup, which tends to be triggered by a mild cold or allergy. Most children with spasmodic croup do not have a fever.
There are a few important therapies that you can provide for croup. The first is humidification. Run a humidifier (warm or cool – it doesn’t matter) in your child’s room. The second is hydration. It is very important to keep your child well hydrated when he/she is sick! If your child awakens in the middle of the night coughing or gasping, first try to calm him/her down. You may notice that croup “attacks” worsen when children are upset. Sit your child directly in front of a humidifier, or sit in bathroom with a steam shower running, or take your child outside if the night air is cool. Spasmodic croup may respond to asthma medicines. Give him/her something cool to drink. If he/she is running a fever, you may give an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The humidifier/steam treatments almost always work. Try this for about 15-20 minutes if your child wakes up at night, but if you’re having trouble, call us!
Croup can be very scary, both for children and their parents, but most of the time, kids end up doing just fine and fighting off the infections on their own. Occasionally we will put kids on oral steroids to help decrease the inflammation around the larynx, if there’s stridor. Call us if you have any questions!
a) play date
b) birthday party or
c) family visit?
Exclusion criteria have been practiced for decades and there is a great deal of practical evidence that they are ineffective. (We docs are still in business). Before blaming your best friend for bringing their child into contact with your own, remember – The period of highest infectivity (most contagious) is usually BEFORE THE CHILD HAS ANY SYMPTOMS! Therefore, you must be clairvoyant to stop the spread of disease.
That said, there are some good medical tenants to REDUCE, not eliminate spread of disease.
Disease or symptom:
May return when:
|Strep throat||24 hours after starting antibiotics|
|Chickenpox||After the last lesion has crusted over|
|Pink eye||24 hours after starting antibiotics*|
|Diarrhea (viral/not bloody)||When it is contained within the diaper|
|Pneumonia||24 hours after starting antibiotics|
|Fever||12-24 hours after temperature resolves if clinically better (acting well)|
|Runny Nose||No exclusion criteria
(our schools would be empty)
|Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease||24 hours after fever resolves|
|Impetigo||24 hours after antibiotics started|
|Lice||After the first treatment with an effective pediculicide (Elimite, Permethrin)|
|Pinworms||Only restrict if accompanied by diarrhea|
|Ring worm||After treatment is started or lesion are covered|
* unless caused by allergies – itchy with clear discharge
These are guidelines only and individual schools and institutions may have different restrictions. Consult your school handbooks for guidance.
Diaper rash is one of the most common pediatric health issues. Nearly all children develop a rash or inflammation in their diaper area at some time, often during the first year of life. Most of these rashes are caused by contact with moisture and irritants found in urine and stool.
The steps outlined below should help an existing rash to heal. They are also good techniques for preventing rashes when your child has diarrhea, whether from a viral infection or as a side effect of antibiotic therapy.
If you have followed these steps for 3-4 days and the rash is not improving, your child should be seen by a doctor. It is possible that the skin has become infected with yeast or bacteria and that a prescription will be required to clear the rash.
Ear pain is one of the biggest causes of distress and sleepless nights for children and their parents. For those of us who have experienced one of those sleepless nights with our children we understand how difficult they can be! However, it rarely is a true emergency that necessitates a middle of the night ER visit.
Most ear infections are otitis media or an infection of the inner ear. Typically, an ear infection is preceded by a cold or upper respiratory infection, although not always. Most children with ear infections have fever and complain of a painful ear. Typical symptoms in an infant are fever, sudden difficulty sleeping or lying flat, and crying when sucking/decreased appetite. Parents often bring infants in because the baby is “pulling” on the ear. Sometimes this is associated with an infection, but it is unlikely to be in the absence of any other symptoms. Sometimes you can see pus-like drainage coming from the ear. This usually means the eardrum has perforated. If your child has ear tubes, follow the directions of your ENT if you see drainage from the ear. If your child does not have ear tubes, we should see them in the office the next day.
Ear infections can be caused by a viral infection or a bacterial infection. We used to almost always treat ear infections with an antibiotic. However, we have learned that this is probably not necessary as in many cases the ear infection will resolve on its own. We follow the most up to date recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics when considering how to treat an ear infection. In children under 2 years old, we usually treat the ear infection with antibiotics. In children over 2 years old, we can treat the pain of the ear infection but wait to see if it resolves on its own in 48 hours. If the infection has not gone away in 48 hours, we would then consider treating with antibiotics. We do not call in antibiotics on the phone. In order to give your child the best care possible, we will need to see them in the office to examine their ear.
Most of the time if your child has symptoms that you suspect are related to an ear infection, it is ok for the child to wait to be seen the next day in our office. It will not cause damage to the ear if the infection is not treated right away. At home, you can treat the ear pain by using acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil).
***If your child has ear tubes you should follow the instructions of your ENT. Sometimes your ENT will give you special drops that can be used at home if you suspect an ear infection.
Swimmer’s ear orotitis externa is an infection of the ear canal. It is usually caused by swimming in a lake/ocean/river or by very frequent swimming. Typical symptoms are a very painful ear. It is painful to touch the outside of the ear with swimmer’s ear but there is no redness or swelling of the ear or the skin around the ear. It should not be painful on the skin around the ear. There is no fever with swimmer’s ear. We treat swimmer’s ear with antibiotic drops that are applied to the ear canal. Swimmer’s ear can also be treated at home with pain medication and then be seen in our office the next day.
Fever is the number one concern for which parents call us and the number one symptom for which we see patients in the office. Fever can be frightening and concerning for parents, but it doesn’t have to be.
Fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. Most pediatricians consider any temperature over 100.3 F (38 C) to be a fever. Fever is usually a sign that your child is fighting an infection. In children, viral infections (like the common cold) are the most common cause of a fever. Fever is a sign that your child’s immune system is working and doing what it is supposed to do.
We recommend using a digital thermometer (not mercury) for measuring your child’s temperature. The temperature can be measured rectally, orally, or underarm (axillary). Under 3 years of age the best method for taking the temperature is rectally. This is easy to do and does not hurt the child. You can ask one of our nurses or doctors to show you how to take the temperature rectally if you would like. Over 3 years old, most children can cooperate enough to have their temperature taken orally. An underarm temperature is an alternative in children over 3 months of age; however this method is not as accurate as an oral or rectal temperature. We do not recommend using tympanic (ear) thermometers, pacifier thermometers or other methods as they are much more likely to be inaccurate. Regardless of the method you use to take the temperature, it is important to tell us what method you used if you are reporting the fever to us.
Fever does not have to be treated. Treating a fever gets rid of the fever but not the underlying cause of the fever. However, treating a fever usually will make your child feel better. Medications commonly given to treat fever are acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil). It is important to know the correct dose of these medications for your child. CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 3 MONTHS SHOULD NOT RECEIVE ANY MEDICATIONS FOR FEVER, UNLESS YOU HAVE FIRST TALKED TO YOUR PEDIATRICIAN. Children under the age of 6 months or children who have been vomiting or are dehydrated should not receive ibuprofen. Aspirin should never be used in children for fever.
The height of the temperature does not necessarily mean that your child is sicker or is in more danger. Fevers of 102-103 are very common in children. Your child’s fever will not “keep going up and up” unless your child has been exposed to an external source of heat, like an overheated car.
There is no specific temperature at which we get worried. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN EVALUATING FEVER IS EVALUATING THE CHILD. If a child has a temperature of 104 and is happy, smiling and eating well, it is very unlikely that the child has a serious underlying cause of the fever. Alternatively, if a child has a fever of 100 but is irritable and inconsolable, we should be called right away. However, most children and adults feel worse with high temperatures. That is why we recommend treating fever.
NO! Fever is not dangerous. Fever is good. It is a sign that your child’s body is working well. Fevers of up to 105 do not cause brain damage. It is true that some children have seizures with fever. However, this is more related to the child’s genetic make-up than the level of the fever. Some parents believe that all children will have a seizure if the fever gets high enough. This is not true. Let us know if you have a family history of febrile seizures or other seizure disorders.
Seasonal influenza, commonly known as “the flu”, is a virus that infects the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs). The flu season usually extends from October to April.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, fatigue, runny nose, congestion, cough, sore throat, headache and body aches. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other viruses, although the flu tends to come on suddenly and be more severe. A test of your child’s nasal secretions can determine if your child has the flu.
The flu can infect anyone but is more likely to cause severe illness in infants, young children, the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
The flu is highly contagious. It is spread through an infected person’s secretions when they cough, sneeze or talk. People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away. If you are exposed to the flu it will take 1-5 days to become sick.
The most important method of prevention is ensuring that your child receives his or her flu shot each fall. The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age receive the flu vaccine annually. Typically our office receives the vaccine in late August or early September. A notice will be posted on our website and Facebook page each year when we begin vaccinations for that season.
Flu can predispose your child to secondary bacterial infections such as ear infections or pneumonia. Therefore, it is important to bring your child to the doctor if they are having breathing difficulty, extreme fussiness, refusal to drink, decreased urine output (wet diapers), or high fever for 5 or more days. According to the CDC, more than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year from flu-related complications.
“Stomach flu” is a term sometimes used to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These diseases are actually not caused by influenza and should more appropriately be called gastroenteritis.
Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFM) is a common illness that we see in children. The disease is most common in toddlers and school age children but can be seen rarely in adolescents. It is caused by a VIRUS known as the coxsackie virus, so antibiotics will NOT treat this illness.
HFM disease may start with the child simply feeling a bit under the weather for a few days after they were exposed to the disease. They will often begin to refuse to eat solid foods and sometimes liquids because their throat hurts a lot. These children may develop high fevers.
The distinguishing part of this disease is that they will develop red spots on the throat that may become blisters or ulcers. The kids also get small red spots which may blister on their hands, feet and even the buttocks. The rash is often found on the soles and palms which is usually for other viral rashes. It may also be painful but it usually does not itch.
Diagnosis is made by history and exam of the body that shows us the rash.
Treatment is only supportive. This is a virus so antibiotics do not help. It is important to control the child’s pain with Tylenol and/or Motrin. It is also important to keep the child well hydrated by pushing fluids such as water, formula or pedialyte. You can also use jello or Popsicles as alternatives to fluid. Drinks such as orange juice should be avoided as the acidic nature may hurt the throat.
The virus is spread via particles in the stool and your respiratory secretions (AKA snot). You can also get this from objects such as changing tables and toys. You should wash hands frequently. Children should also not attend daycare for several days.
If your child recently experienced head trauma either through a fall or a collision, the questions below will help you to determine if you need to seek emergency care for your child.
If your answers are DIFFERENT than those listed, call the office to discuss care immediately.
If your answers are the SAME as those above, there is no cause for immediate concern.
Monitor him or her closely for the next several days, and if any concerning symptoms such as those listed above develop, call the office to discuss further care.
Note: If your child is under 6 months and had a significant head injury, these questions do NOT apply. Call us for guidance immediately.
Very few medical topics give people the heebie jeebies as much as head lice. It is a very common affliction and there are many misconceptions. Most importantly, these little critters do not harbor any dangerous diseases, and with persistent treatment and patience can be eradicated within 1-2 weeks.
SCALP ITCHING! The most common sites of infestation and itching are behind the ears and the nape of the neck. You may even see redness in those places.
Living lice may be difficult to detect. They are gray or white, and about the size of a sesame seed or splinter. Have your child sit in the brightest room in your house, and take a pen or comb and part your child’s hair in an organized, sweeping fashion. The lice hate light, and will try to quickly move to the scalp or deeper portions of your child’s hair. The nits (eggs) are smaller, more numerous, white, yellow, or brown specks that can mimic dandruff, dirt, and droplets. In contrast, nits typically adhere to the hair and are difficult to pull off.
The nits are made out of extremely strong material that is practically indestructible. They hatch in about 7 days and away from a host cannot survive more than 2 weeks. Once hatched, a louse can survive for almost a month on the scalp, but only 24 hours once away from the scalp.
Probably the most important part of treatment is to do nightly checks and combing out of nits. This is best performed under bright light with a specific lice comb, such as Licemeister. Be organized and thorough as you comb through your child’s hair, using hair clips if needed to section off already scanned hair.
Over thousands of years there have been many treatments for head lice. The first thing to know is that at this point there is no magic bullet. You should probably expect to be dealing with these itchy critters for a period of time. Often, kids get re-infected because of repeat exposure at school or home, failure to completely comb out nits, and/or failure to repeat treatment in 7 days. This is common.
Other treatments such as nightly olive oil or Cetaphil have been also shown to be effective. To do this, apply either above solution to hair. Put a shower cap on your child and leave on for 8 hours overnight before shampooing the next morning. This may be repeated every 2-3 nights for 3 weeks. The daily combing out of nits is once again the most important part of this treatment.
Wash in hot water (140 degrees) all clothing, bedding, combs, teddy bears, and other possible harbors that your child has spent time with in the past 3 days. If they can’t be washed, seal them in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
Remember – lice do NOT CAUSE LASTING MEDICAL PROBLEMS and they do NOT carry disease.
According the American Academy of Pediatrics and your pediatricians: NO CHILD SHOULD EVER MISS SCHOOL BECAUSE OF LICE.
In summary, when you see head lice, remember to remain calm, that you are in no way a bad parent, and to keep combing!
IBUPROFEN DOSING (MOTRIN, ADVIL). NO CHANGE TO INFANT CONCENTRATIONS OF IBUPROPHEN
(Must be 6 months or older)
Dosing : ¼ tsp=1.25ml ½ tsp=2.5ml 1 tsp=5ml
|Infant Drops||Children’s Suspension||Children’s Chewables||Jr. Strength Chewables||Junior Strength Caplets|
|Concentration||50 mg/1.25ml||100 mg/5 ml||50 mg each||100 mg each||100 mg|
|WEIGHT||AGE||use dropper provided||tablet||tablet||caplet|
|under 6m||Do Not Use|
|12-17 lbs||6-11 mos||1.25 ml||1.25ml|
|18-23 lbs||12-23 mos||1.875 ml||2.5ml||1 tablet|
|24-35 lbs||2-3 yrs||2.5 ml||5ml||2 tablets||1 tablet||1 caplet|
|36-47 lbs||4-5 yrs||7.5ml||3 tablets|
|48-59 lbs||6-8 yrs.||10ml||4 tablets||2 tablets||2 caplets|
|60-71 lbs||9-10 yrs||12.5ml||5 tablets||2-1/2 tablets||2-1/2 caplets|
|72-95 lbs||11 yrs||15ml||6 tablets||3 tablets||3 caplets|
If you have a child and you are doing the right thing by encouraging them to get outside and enjoy nature, chances are almost 100 percent that your little loved one will be bitten by a tick. Please DO NOT let this anxiety prevent you from enjoying the great outdoors! By and large most tick bites are harmless, and those that are not can be easily monitored to provide proper treatment. Ticks must be attached for at least 24 hours to transmit disease, so if you are reading this after a routine tick check and KNOW the tick just bit your child, relax, remove it and carry on.
If you are reading this because:
1) You found a tick on you or your child and don’t know how to remove it or
2) You removed it and want to attempt to identify it, please jump to the following links for proper instructions:
Lyme disease is caused by transmission of a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi via a tick bite. The most common tick to transmit this is the black legged deer tick while in its nymphal stage. The most common time of the year for this transmission to occur in our area is the spring and early summer, as that correlates to the life cycle of the tick. That said, Lyme disease can be contracted at any time of year.
Within 3 – 30 days from the bite the disease starts as many bacterial infections do, with a “prodromal” series of symptoms as your immune system gears up to fight the infection. This includes fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. Some patients (70-80%) have a very distinctive rash called erythema migrans. It appears as a target like rash, red center, white surround with a second red ring around the entire thing. It spreads at a speed of about 1 cm per day.
A complete description with a cartoon representation is found at:
A second phase of Lyme disease can occur if the original infection is missed. This symptom complex includes:
A third and much later onset of symptoms can occur months to years after the infection. These include arthritis and neurological symptoms of memory loss and nerve pain in the extremities (hands and feet).
If your child has a routine tick bite, we do not recommend treatment with an antibiotic. The tick must be on for at least 24 hours to transmit the disease. Sometimes the time from bite to removal is known. More commonly, it is unclear. If the bite is from a nymphal deer tick and has been on for at least 24 hours please call us for discussion and a visit to the office.
If your child has a rash within 30 days of a bite, or a puzzling rash, call us for an appointment. We cannot diagnose this over the phone. If it’s a Sunday, take a picture of the rash so we can use it for comparison purposes on Monday in the office. THERE IS NO NEED TO RUSH TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. The rash lasts days and expands, so seeing a patient too early can lead to miss-diagnosis.
If your child has a swollen painful knee or a loss of function of one half of their face, we should see him or her the same day.
If you have just been bitten: Test will be normal regardless, hence useless at this stage.
If you have the rash (Erythema Migrans): Testing is not necessary and will be falsely negative as your immune system has not had time to mount a response. Diagnosis can be made by the rash alone.
If you have late symptoms, more than 2 months after bite: Tests are excellent at determining your exposure and immune response to Lyme. A screening test, if positive, will be followed by a more specific test that is accurate. If we are unsure, an initial negative test can be repeated in 2 months to assure us all it was not missed.
Think of this bacterium like many others. Most of you reading this will be familiar with Strep throat caused by Group A beta hemolytic strep. Either your child has had this or you know someone who has. Borrelia is a similar organism. It does not have super powers as sometimes claimed on internet sites. It is sensitive to Amoxicillin for 21 days in most routine diagnoses.
More severe or later presentations sometime require more aggressive therapy, but by then you will be in the secure hands of our doctors with help from infectious disease specialists in our area if needed.
There are a group of physicians calling themselves “LYME LITERATE Physicians” (LLMD). They are intimating that other doctors are illiterate when it comes to treating Lyme disease. This is certainly not true. These LLMD’s have ignored the basic tenants of infectious disease medicine and research and are recommending prolonged courses of antibiotics for a condition they call “chronic Lyme disease”. This does not exist. There are many cases of harmful courses of action being delivered by these physicians. If you have further questions on this topic, it’s best to come in and speak to our physicians.
Over–the–Counter (OTC) medications can be very confusing and potentially dangerous for parents and their children. Even doctors and nurses can feel overwhelmed and confused when walking into the cold/flu aisle of your local pharmacy. There are hundreds of products each supposedly providing relief for different symptoms. We are going to try and help take away the myth of all these medications and to help you safely use these medications for your children. First lets figure out the basic types of medication.
|Type of medication||What it treats||Examples of medication names|
|Analgesics (Pain medications)||Relieves body aches, headaches, and other forms of pain||Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Naproxyn (Aleve), Aspirin**|
|Antipyretics (fever reducing medications)||Reduces fever||Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Naproxyn (Aleve), Aspirin**|
|Decongestant||Stuffy nose, Runny nose, Congestion||Pseudoephedrine
Phenylenphrine, Oxymetazoline, Naphazoline, Xylometazoline
|Antihistamine||Runny nose, itchy eyes, itching, hives, sneezing, itchy throat||Diphehydramine (Benedryl), Chlorpheniramine, Brompheniramine, Pheniramine
Clemastine, Loratadine (Claritin)
|Expectorant||Thins secretions making them easier to cough up||Expectorant|
Rules of Over the Counter Medications
Remember these medications will NOT cure your child’s illness and they are not a miracle fix. Many time cool mist humidiers, bulb suction and nasal saline drops in the nose, warm showers and plenty of fluids will work just was well.
This is a contact allergy that is caused by urushiol oil. Urushiol oil is found on poison ivy, oak and sumac. The oil can be irritating for up to 5 years after the plants are dead. You can inhale the oil when the plants are burned, and as little as one nanogram (one billionth of a gram) can cause a reaction.
The rash is usually red and may look like scratch marks. It is usually extremely itchy. It may be swollen and have weeping blisters.
You can inhale it. You can touch it directly. You can touch clothes that had contact with the oil, or you can touch a pet that touched the oil (brushed its fur on the plant).
The rash does NOT spread. Once someone comes in contact with the oil, it may take 3-7 days for the rash to fully develop, but can appear as early as a few hours to days after first contact. Once the rash has fully developed it may take another 1 to 3 weeks to heal, depending on severity. The areas that had the greatest and longest contact with the oil will be the first to develop.
No, the rash is NOT at all contagious. The only way to get the rash is to come into contact with the oil. One you have washed with soap and water and washed your clothes, you cannot spread the oil.
(Remember – wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER you go to the bathroom to avoid this rash on the genitals.)
Yes, this rash is not contagious.
Benadryl, by mouth, or Claritin my control some of the itchiness. You may also apply 1% Hydrocortisone to the area 3-4 times per day. You may also apply Calamine lotion and/or take an Aveeno oatmeal bath. Avoid any lotions that contain Benadryl (i.e. Caladryl) as they may make the rash worse. Benadryl by mouth is fine.
It can be tender, red (or dark pink), and/or warm to the touch beyond the rash itself. It may have red, tender streaks going from the rash. There may be honey-crusted scabs around the blisters. The blisters may grow or ooze pus.
You should call the doctor immediately, or go to the emergency room if after hours, if you are having difficulty breathing. You should call the doctor during office hours if the rash is over one quarter of your body or more, it is on your genitals, you think an infection may be starting, there are any large blisters, the rash is open and oozing, the rash is on the eyes, lips or mouth. Call the doctor immediately if you think there may be an infection with a fever, there is severe swelling, or you are uncertain if infection is spreading.
By spending a few minutes learning about how infections are spread, you may be able to significantly reduce the number of times you and your children become ill this winter.
Despite many people’s beliefs, colds are not caused by being cold; they actually spread from one person to another. The germs that cause colds and flu are found in the secretions from our noses, mouths and eyes. The germs spread when people sneeze, cough or blow their nose, allowing the particles to travel up to 6 feet into the surrounding environment. They can then infect people directly or may come to rest on nearby objects. Viruses and bacteria can live for several hours on surfaces such as toys, tables and doorknobs. When someone touches the contaminated object, then touches their nose, mouth or eyes, the cycle of infection continues.
To help break this cycle and prevent infection, follow these suggestions:
Try not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes.
For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/germstopper/index.htm.
By definition, a rash is a change in the color or texture of skin. There is huge variation in the appearance and cause of different types of rashes.
When you call us about a rash it is helpful to describe the rash to us. Some ways to describe a rash that can help us with the diagnosis are:
There are many different causes of rashes. Broadly they fit into the following categories:
Call us or seek care immediately if:
Rashes are one of the more difficult things to diagnose over the phone so it is often best to schedule an appointment to be seen.
The following situations warrant an office visit ASAP but may not need emergency care:
The doctors of Farrell and South Riding Pediatrics have composed this list of books for parents. This list is a collection of books we as doctors and/or parents have found useful to assist parents with raising their children. There are thousands of books available to parents and this list is just a small sampling. We hope that you will find these books helpful but we know that every child is unique and what we have included may not work for your family. Please contact our offices if you are in need of further assistance.
• The Doctors of Farrell and South Riding Pediatrics •
Your Baby and Child, Birth to Age 5, Penelope Leach—General book on raising children with a behavioral focus.
Happiest Baby on the Block, Harvey Karp—A book that provides guidance to parents with fussy/colicky babies.
Touchpoints, T. Berry Brazelton
Your Child’s Health, Barton Schmidtt—This book is a guide for common childhood illnesses, emergencies and behavior problems.
AAP: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5, Steven Shelov, Robert Hannemann—General guide for basic child care including infancy.
AAP: Caring for Your School Age Child: Ages 5-12, Edward Schor—Comprehensive guide to your “middle aged” children and the unique challenges facing this age group.
AAP: Your Baby’s First Year, Steven Shelov—Comprehensive guide for newborns includes topics such as safety, well child care and month-to-month guides to development.
Baby 411, Ari Brown, MD and Denise Fields—Written by a doctor and a mom, this is a helpful guide for you and your new baby.
The Discipline Book, William Sears, MD and Martha Sears
Parent Power, John Rosemond—Traditional views of parenting kids of all ages.
The Challenging Child, Stanley Greenspan, MD, Jacrueline Salmon
1, 2, 3 Magic, Thomas Phelan—Teaches parents some simple, precise and effective ways to manage your children age 2-12 years.
Raising Your Spirited Child, Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
The Book of Virtues, William Bennett
Solve your Child’s Sleep Problems, Richard Ferber—Recommends techniques for working through different childhood sleep problems.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution, Elizabeth Pantley—This book may be helpful for parents who seek and alternative to “the crying it out” method of sleep.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Marc Weissbluth
Child of Mine, Ellyn Satter
AAP: Guide to Your Child’s Nutrition, William Deitz, Loraine Stern—Reference guide to childhood nutrition. Provides an easy guide to help parents manage dietary requirements for newborns thru adolescent.
The Care and Keeping of you: The body book for Girls (American Girl Series) Valorie Lee Schaefer—Book provides an age appropriate look at puberty and body change in our adolescent girls.
Who Moved the Goal Posts
Taking Charge of ADHD, Russell Barkley
The Out of Synch Child, Carol Stock Kranowitz
Quirky Kids, Perri Klass & Eileen Costello
The Boy Who Loved Windows, Patricia Stacey
Baby Bargains, Denise and Alan Fields—Helps to navigate the world of baby stuff and recommends what a new parent needs.
Siblings without Rivalry, Adale Faber, Elaine Mazlish—Provides a positive approach to help parents teach their children to get along.
Mommy Guilt, Devra Renner—Provides a helpful approach to make parenting enjoyable and less stressful
Babyhood, Paul Reiser—Laugh out loud about being a new parent
In general, a child should not return to school or daycare until they have had no fever for 24 hours. Please keep in mind that individual illnesses have different times of contagion. There is no set rule for all viruses or bacterial illnesses. Some rashes are not contagious, but others are. Please check with your own school or daycare for specific guidelines.
For additional information, please see our article on Exclusion Criteria.
Also known as “Hay Fever” or “Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis”
Your child may be suffering from Seasonal Allergies if he/she has some of the following symptoms:
These symptoms typically occur during a certain time of year, such as when outdoor molds release their spores or trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny pollen particles into the air to fertilize other plants.
In people with allergies, the immune system treats these particles (known as allergens) as invaders and releases chemicals (such as histamine) into the bloodstream to fight these invaders. These chemicals are what cause the allergy symptoms.
Those children who have allergies can be allergic to one or more types of pollen or mold. The symptoms may occur at different times of the year depending on what he or she is allergic to.
For example, in Northern Virginia:
Thus, your child may have increased symptoms during those times of year.
Allergy symptoms often begin during childhood, typically before 10 years of age. They usually begin after 1-2 seasons of exposure to these allergens, which means a child may have allergy symptoms as early as age one or two.
Parents often ask, “How is this different from a cold?”
There is no cure for seasonal allergies, but symptoms can be controlled.
Sore throats are one of the most common illnesses that affect children. There are many different causes of sore throat, the overwhelming majority of these being viruses. Common viral infections that may cause a sore throat include: influenza, parainfluenza, RSV, rhino virus, Coxsackie virus, adenovirus, herpes, EBV, CMV, and countless others. Typical symptoms that may be associated include fever, malaise, runny nose, cough, lymph node swelling, decreased appetite, and mild irritability. Unfortunately, nobody has found the cure for the common cold and scratchy throat.
Treatment options usually involve symptomatic care with ibuprofen, acetominophen, and other over–the–counter medications (please see specific OTC section). Luckily, severe symptoms tend to last less than 3–7 days, with residual complaints of cough and runny nose for up to 2 weeks.
Strep pharyngitis or “strep throat” is a different cause of sore throat that is important to be diagnosed. It is caused by a particular type of bacterium (Group A beta hemolytic streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes). This infection is most common in school aged children and adolescents, but it occasionally can be seen in the toddler age group. It is rarely seen below two years of age. Symptoms include a high fever, severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, headaches, stomach aches, vomiting, and sometimes a rash. If your child suffers from any or all of these, in the setting of a sore throat, they should be checked for strep. Strep needs to be treated with antibiotics to prevent Rheumatic Fever. Before the age of penicillin, people developed severe skin, heart, and kidney problems as a result of untreated strep pharyngitis. We have two different tests that check for the strep bacteria. There is a rapid test that will discover the strep 85-95% of the time and a 24 hour culture that is 100% accurate. The advantage of a rapid strip test is quick identification and earlier treatment. Occasionally, however, the rapid strep test may be negative and the 48 hour throat culture may be positive. Strep throat is one of the only bacteria which is not becoming more resistant to our current antibiotics!! For that reason, most antibiotics, including penicillin and amoxicillin, are still very effective. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also indicated for fever and pain control.
As always, please call the clinic with any further concerns.
During the summer months, we start seeing a lot of “swimmer’s ear”, but if your child or adolescent is on a swim team year round, you may be dealing with this problem regardless of the month.
Basically, otitis externa is an infection of the skin that lines the ear canal. When water repeatedly gets trapped in the ear canal, the lining becomes wet and swollen. This makes it prone to superficial infections. It causes an itchy, painful ear, sometimes with drainage. There may be a sensation that the ear is plugged. Generally there is pain when the outer ear is moved up and down.
More significant cases usually require prescription ear drops, so you’ll need to make an appointment to see one of us. Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief. You can also use a heating pad or hot water bottle to the outer ear for up to 20 minutes for pain relief. With treatment, symptoms should be better in about 3 days.
Try to avoid swimming until all the symptoms have resolved. If your child is on swim team, it’s OK to continue. Swimming may slow recovery, but causes no significant harm.
The key to prevention is keeping the ear canals dry. After swimming, hair washing, showers, etc, turn the head to let the water run out of the canals. If your child is on swim team, you can make a home remedy of ½ rubbing alcohol and ½ white vinegar to rinse your child’s ear canals with after practices to restore to normal acid balance to and dry the canals.
“The ill child” can be a term that means different things to doctors and parents. The main goal is to determine if the child might be seriously ill.
One key factor is to remember that the height of the fever is NOT as important as how a child is acting. For example, a child with a fever of 101º can be sicker than the child with a temperature of 103º. Many kids look quite ill when they have a fever so it is important to give an adequate dose of Tylenol/Motrin. You should give the medicine and then observe the child in about 1–2 hours to see how sick they are acting.
It is important to remember that all children will sleep an increased amount when they are sick. However, the children should have periods of quiet play in between such as coloring or just playing with a toy quietly.
Vomiting and diarrhea are common in children. Both are almost always caused by viruses, and no medicines are used to stop either. Both usually resolve without any medical intervention.
If your child is vomiting, stop all food and drink for at least one hour. After an hour, give one teaspoon ONLY of clear liquid (Pedialyte preferred, but Gatorade may be used if the child is over a year of age). Try this every five minutes. If there is no vomiting after thirty minutes, you may give one ounce of clear liquid. Continue to give small amounts of fluids very slowly until the child has been without vomiting for at least four hours. Do not give solids or more than three ounces of fluids at a time until the child has not vomited for eight hours. Then resume bland foods (toast, applesauce, bread) slowly. The vomiting should stop within twenty-four hours. Call the office if it does not, if there is any blood in the vomit, or if your child cannot tolerate small amounts of fluids.
Diarrhea is also common. If your child has diarrhea without vomiting, there are no diet restrictions, although fruit juice may make the diarrhea worse. Feed your child a regular diet. Diarrhea can last for up to ten days. Call the office if there is blood in the diarrhea, your child refuses to drink, or if the diarrhea lasts more than ten days.
Because vomiting and diarrhea are generally caused by viruses, your child should be considered contagious until the symptoms resolve. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly when cleaning either vomit or diarrhea, and sanitize any soiled areas. Your child should not attend daycare or school while vomiting. Many child care centers will not allow your child to attend if there is diarrhea, either.
We do not recommend the use of medications such as Phenergen or Immodium.
Signs of Dehydration that require evaluation