5 Things Your Pediatrician Wants You to Know
what your pediatrician wants you to know

As a pediatrician and mama, I am writing this in hope that it helps ease some of the million and one worries we all have about our kiddos! Most importantly, trust your instincts. And if you feel like something is off with your little one, please bring them to your pediatrician.

1. Fever

When your child is sick and has a high fever, it can be one of the scariest feelings as a parent. Your little ones don’t look like themselves, sometimes their temperatures are very elevated, they’re not eating, and mama panic mode sets in. Fevers are not all bad, though. They are the body’s primary immune defense, especially against your common cold. Since there is no “antibiotic” for viral colds,  your body’s elevated temperature is your best defense against viruses. If your child (as long as they are over 2 months old) has a fever, treat it with fever reducers and always check in with your doctor if you’re worried. If they are under 2 months, they should be seen right away.

2. Boogers

Having 3 young boys means a never ending supply of tissue paper at our house. There is a constant runny nose and sometimes it’s clear and sometimes it is neon green. But not every greenish-yellow full of boogers nose needs an antibiotic. A good majority of the sick visits that I see are viral infections, meaning that very few are actual bacterial illnesses that need an antibiotic prescription. So even if your little one has been having discolored, thick nasal congestion, it could still be viral. Most of the time you can just treat at home with nasal saline spray and a humidifier. BUT if it has been going on for a while and they’re not their usual happy, energizer bunny self, please bring them to their doctor.

3. Coughs and Colds

A cough is the body’s natural defense against irritants to the lungs and infection. Treating a cough to help your child sleep at night is fine, but cough medications are not meant to completely stop the cough. Over the counter cough and cold medications may be used on children older than 4 years. Under 4 years, the best remedy for a cough is honey (if your child is over 1 years old). If your child’s cough is lasting more than a few days, interrupting sleep, seems to be constant, or affects their normal breathing pattern, they should be evaluated.

4. During certain times of the year kids are sick . . . a lot

Pediatric offices are usually packed full from October through March with strep, flu, RSV, you name it. If your kid seems to get sick, get better, and then get sick again 2.5 days later, that is usually completely normal. Especially in younger kids who do not yet remember to cover their mouths when they cough or when your little one just starts school or daycare and is exposed to a ton of new stuff. Don’t panic if he or she seems to have back to back colds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is called summer.

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 5. Immune System

As parents, we always worry if we are doing enough to keep our kids healthy and well. Unfortunately, there is no magic vitamin that can ward away coughs, colds, and fevers–but there are some things you can do to help your little ones stay well:
  • Colors! Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily helps increase your body’s supply of vitamins and antioxidants, and taking a daily multivitamin on top of a healthy diet is also a plus.
  • Sleep is key. Young kids (>2 YO) need 10-12 hrs of sleep per night, and older kids (>6YO) need 9-10hrs.
  • Hand washing is a great habit to teach kids from a young age. Wash your hands when you get home after being out, wash your hands before you eat, and wash your hands after your use the restroom.

Healthy parenting, mamas and papas!

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