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Posts for category: Child Healthcare

By Children's Mercy - Pediatric Care North
July 15, 2021
Category: Child Healthcare
Vitamin DVitamin 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 Children's Mercy - Pediatric Care North
July 12, 2021
Category: Child Healthcare
Tags: Newborn   Pediatrician  

You may not realize that a pediatrician can do more than just help you care for your child after they are born. It’s important you find a pediatrician before your child is born to ensure that both you and your baby are getting the proper support and care you need. Your pediatricians at Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO, are here to help you understand the importance of a newborn doctor and how they can benefit you and your baby.

How Having a Pediatrician Before Birth Can Benefit You

When you’re expecting, there are many things you need to take into consideration to make sure your baby is getting proper care from the minute they’re born. Your newborn doctor in Kansas City, MO, can help give you the proper tools to care for your child as soon as they enter the world.

At your first consultation, your pediatrician will be there to answer any questions you may have about things like vaccinations, newborn care, breastfeeding, circumcision, or scheduling. Taking care of a newborn requires a lot of information and a lot of work, so it’s important to take advantage of the extra help and information that your pediatrician can provide you with. They will also have you meet with a lactation specialist at your first visit so that you can learn more about breastfeeding and if it’s the right choice for you and your baby.

Choosing a pediatrician before your child is born is also a good idea because they can come to check on you while you’re in the hospital with your newborn and answer any questions you may not have been able to ask yet. Your pediatrician will then be able to work directly with you to ensure that your child is healthy and progressing as they should be.

Call Your Pediatrician Today!

It’s important to meet with your pediatrician before your child is born so that you can be ready to care for your child when they get here. Call Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO, today at (816) 587-3200.

By Children's Mercy - Pediatric Care North
May 19, 2021
Category: Child Healthcare

Well child physicals play an important role in children’s health and wellbeing. Scheduling regular pediatric visits enable the doctor to monitor your child’s growth and development and ensure your child is up to date with vaccinations. The frequency with which well child physicals are needed varies by age. The experienced and friendly pediatricians at Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO, can advise you as to how often to schedule a visit for your child.

Well Child Visits

The purpose of well child visits or physicals is to promote better overall health for your child. There are several aspects to a well child visit, including information gathering for personal and family medical histories, and a physical exam. All of these things help the pediatrician better monitor your child’s growth and development. Well child physicals also enable the doctor to identify health, growth, or development concerns and treat potential problems right away before they become more serious.

Several topics are usually discussed with parents during a well child physical, including nutrition, dietary guidelines, vaccine recommendations, physical and growth development, developmental skills, social skills, and emotional well-being. The specific topics that are addressed vary based on the age of the child. For example, toilet training is discussed during the toddler years, while school and peer interactions are talked about when kids are in upper-grade school.

Younger children can benefit from scheduling a well visit every few weeks or months, depending on their age. Kids two years of age or older only need to schedule one well child physical per year. The skilled pediatricians at our office in Kansas City, MO, can develop a schedule for how often your child should come in for a checkup.

Immunizations

An important component of well child visits is immunization. The purpose of immunization is to help kids develop immunity to certain illnesses and diseases, such as measles or the flu. The way children build immunity is through vaccination. Many vaccines are administered by injection, while a few are taken orally.

The experienced pediatricians at our office recommend children receive all vaccines at the age-appropriate visit according to the immunization schedule developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kids who are behind on their vaccinations can be placed on a catch-up schedule.

Well child physicals help your child enjoy better health by enabling the doctor to monitor growth and development, as well as help your child stay up to date with vaccinations. To schedule your child’s next well visit with one of our caring pediatricians, call Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO, at (816) 587-3200.

By Children's Mercy - Pediatric Care North
April 30, 2021
Category: Child Healthcare
Tags: Ear Infection  
Ear InfectionWondering 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 Children's Mercy - Pediatric Care North
April 14, 2021
Category: Child Healthcare
Tags: Mono   Kissing Disease   Mononucleosis  
MononucleosisMono, 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
  • Rash
  • Headache
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.