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Capital Area Pediatrics
Posted on 02/06/2018 17:24

Children & Fevers: What You Need To Know We all get a fever now and again - but for parents, few things are as stressful as a sick child. With a nasty flu virus going around this season, a rising temperature can be particularly worrisome. And it begs the question: what should be done when a child begins to feel sick? 

Understanding Fevers

A fever is defined as a temperature over 100.4 F (38.0 C). Normally, our bodies rest at about 98.6 F (37 C). The keyword here is “about” - it’s normal for our temperature to fluctuate throughout the day. Your temperature is also influenced by your age, the activities you’re participating in, and other factors.

While the magic number is 100.4 F, there are still other things to consider when evaluating a fever. In fact, most fevers usually don't indicate anything serious! Fevers are a natural response to the presence of germs that may make us sick. And fevers alone do not always provide a good indication of how serious the problem is; some major infections only cause a mild fever, while simple colds can cause a high one.

For otherwise healthy children, the majority of fevers will not need much more than home remedies and rest. For young children or children with pre-existing health issues, it’s important to discuss a plan with your doctor in advance, so that you know when to report a spiking temperature.

Guidelines For Parents

The following guidelines can help you determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary for a fever:

  • If a fever lasts less than a few days and your child is behaving fairly normally, there is no need to visit a doctor. Normal behavior includes being able to drink, eat, and enjoy some easygoing activities while at home. Exhaustion is normal as a child recovers from a fever.
  • While it’s tough, try not to worry if temperatures of up to 102.5 F affect a child that is 3 months to 3 years of age. Even fevers up to 103 F in older children are considered common. They key here, again, is to make sure these children are eating and drinking normally, have a normal skin color, and feel comfortable.
  • Some children will lose their appetite while fighting a fever. This is also a common side effect. Being able to drink and use the bathroom normally is a good indicator of whether or not the loss of appetite is serious.
  • If other symptoms develop or your child's overall condition deteriorates, contact your doctor regardless of temperature. Additionally, contact a doctor if a child’s temperature rises above the guidelines for their age group.

Helping Children Recover

While not all fevers need to be treated, there are things you can do to help older children feel more comfortable if need be:

  • You can give acetaminophen or ibuprofen based on the package recommendations for your children’s age or weight group. Never give aspirin to a child unless instructed otherwise. Additionally, infants younger than 2 months old should not be given any medicine for fever without being checked by a doctor. If your child has any medical problems, you should work with your doctor to determine which medicine is best to use.
  • Ensure that your thermostat is set to an average temperature that’s not too warm or too cold. Additionally, your child should wear lightweight clothing and use a light sheet or blanket if needed - overdressing can trap body heat and contribute to a higher temperature.
  • While they’re sick, it’s important for children to rest and drink extra fluids so they don’t become dehydrated. Water, soup, and ice pops are all good choices. Avoid caffeinated beverages, however, as they are diuretics.

Dr. Susan Kohn, of our Sleepy Hollow offices, recommends the following as parents help their children recover:

'Please give your child the appropriate fever reducer if he or she is uncomfortable, including before being seen in our office. The fever itself may be contributing to pain, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, irritability, low energy and sleepiness so giving these medications will make your child feel better and more comfortable during our exam and at home. We will also be better able to determine how sick he or she is by observing behavior in the office when the fever is down, in addition to discussing what you have seen at home and examining your child. Please feel free to call us for advice if you are not sure if you need an appointment or for more information.'

When To Call A Doctor

Not all fevers can be managed at home. In addition to calling with questions, as mentioned by Dr. Kohn, it’s important to call a doctor if the following occurs:

  • An infant younger than 3 months of age develops a fever
  • Your child’s fever lasts more than 24 hours (in kids younger than 2 years old) or 72 hours (in kids 2 years or older)
  • Your child’s fever is higher than 104 F (> 40 C).
  • Your child’s fever does not come down with fever reducing medicine
  • Your child has trouble breathing or develops belly pain
  • Your child is not drinking or eating
  • Your child has lasting diarrhea or repeated vomiting
  • Your child’s mood changes (i.e. if they are extremely irritable or fussy)
  • Your child is extremely sluggish and has trouble waking up
  • Your baby is not wetting at least four diapers per day
  • Your child has a chronic medical condition
  • Your child has a rash
  • Your child has blue lips, tongue, or nails
  • Your child was recently immunized and has a temperature above 102º F, or a fever that lasts more than 48 hours.
  • You are concerned. If anything feels off, there is no shame in calling your doctor to make sure everything is OK!

Keep Calm And Try To Carry On

We’re willing to bet that even reading about the complications associated with a fever was a little scary. Illness and discomfort are two of the worst things we can watch our children deal with. Knowing how to monitor for extreme temperatures and other major symptoms will help you and your child both recover as quickly as possible after a fever spikes.

If at any point you need a medical opinion or feel concerned about your child’s behavior or symptoms, Capital Area Pediatrics can help. To schedule an appointment with or to contact a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you and your family!

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

Posted on 01/23/2018 19:26

teens_children_screen_time.jpgThese days it’s impossible to turn left or right without coming across a screen. Television, smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles ensure that we are almost constantly immersed in a digital bubble. It’s hard enough to unplug from that bubble as an adult - so what does that mean for our children?

The answer to this is surprisingly complicated, because the world today is very different than the one many parents grew up in! It used to be that addressing screen exposure was as simple as limiting a child’s time in front of the TV. Experts recommended no more than two hours in front of the TV for kids over age 2.

But today, that is just not practical. Children and adolescents are now able to consume content via traditional broadcasting, streaming services, video games, social media, and apps. Some of that content is purely for fun, while some of it can supplement educational activities. And because of technology’s use and prevalence in our lives, the average amount of time children spend in front of a screen and consuming media increases as they age. This is why it’s more important than ever for parents to engage with their children about their media habits.

So How Much Is Too Much?

In today’s world, the best thing parents can do is learn when digital tech use crosses from normal and healthy into what we call “pixel addiction” territory. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Problems begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world, which is critical to learning. Too much screen time can also harm the amount and quality of sleep.”

To fight back against the negative effects of screen exposure and media use, experts recommend controlling and monitoring the use of media outside of education related screen time. Encouraging children to make time for their physical health and for social interactions can help them develop a healthy balance with their screen and tech. However, it’s important to note that having a cut-off time for screen use is also important. Since screen-light can ruin our ability to sleep, unplugging at least two hours before going to bed is a great rule to set for your family.

Age Matters

To help children learn how to balance and control their digital lives, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families develop a media plan that considers the health, education, and entertainment needs of every child and family member in a household. As is so often the case with children, their media needs will evolve over time! A few key milestone recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics include the following:

  • “For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.”

We would also add a guideline of monitoring your children for signs of children becoming overstimulated or negatively affected by their screen use. This guided quiz from PsychologyToday.com can help you identify some signs of distress due to overuse of screens and devices.

Now What?

While these guidelines can feel ambiguous, the good news is that these open-ended recommendations give your family power and control over your own screen use. Boundaries can and should be navigated by families together to ensure that screen time and media use don’t interfere with a child’s physical health, mental health, education, or general livelihood. They may change from year to year or even season to season, all depending on your family’s schedules, goals, and expectations. 

Not sure how to get started? HealthyChildren.org, run by the American Academy of Pediatrics, offers a Family Media Plan tool that can help your family create media use goals and stick to them. And once you’ve established those goals and written out a plan, consider having the family sign a contract and holding them to their promises!

Still feeling overwhelmed? Capital Area Pediatrics can help! Our team can address any of your questions or concerns about screen use and its impact on your family as individuals. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Posted on 12/27/2017 17:44

pexels-photo-265076.jpeg Can you give your child's intelligence a boost? According to science, it's possible! However, scientists often cite the first ten years of a child's life as the 'window of opportunity.' Everything at this time is critical to improving the 'wiring' of a person's brain.

Capital Area Pediatrics Pediatrician Dr. Hanita Oh-Tan recently sat down with ABC News Channel 7 to share 10 ways to ways to make your kids smarter, based on her experience as well as an article by Time Magazine. Let's take a look:

  1. Music. Okay, so you may not want your child to aspire to be a rockstar (or maybe you do), but music lessons have been shown to help make kids smarter. On average, music students perform better on standardized tests and have higher overall GPAs. In one experiment, it was found that taking piano lessons even helped raised IQ significantly.
  2. Physical Activity.In a 2007 study, German researchers found that after exercise, people pick up new vocabulary words 20% faster! Another study shows that for 9 and 10-year-olds, 20 minutes of exercise before a test significantly improves test scores.
  3. Reading.When reading to your kids, don't let them just stare at the pictures while you do all the work! Share the task with them, as this will help them build their reading skills. When reading is shared between you and your little one, it promotes early literacy, even among disadvantaged children.
  4. Sleep. The benefits of sleep for brain development are endless. Studies have shown a correlation between grades and the average amount of sleep a child gets. In fact, it has been found that a loss of just one hour of sleep is equivalent to a loss of two years of cognitive maturation and development.
  5. Self-Discipline.Students with high levels of self-discipline are more likely to earn higher grades in their classes. They also tend to have fewer absences and spend less time watching television and more hours doing school work. Self-discipline has also been found to predict which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.
  6. Active Learning.Skip the brain training games and apps and opt for a more active learning approach. While many of us love our screens and apps, our brains learn more by doing things - not by hearing about them. Consider using the rule of two-thirds to help make active learning activities more beneficial as well. For example, if you want your child to memorize a passage, have them spend 30% of their time reading it, and the other 70% testing their knowledge about what they just read.
  7. Treats (At the Right Time). While it’s best if kids eat healthy all the time, there are always exceptions. Research shows that caffeine and sugar can have a beneficial effect on cognitive performance when consumed in moderation.
  8. Happiness. When a child is happy they are much more engaged and interested in their learning. Social-emotional factors are continually being studied by scientists, and many reports have concluded that happy children are more willing to learn, more curious, and in turn, are smarter.
  9. Positive Peers.A study conducted at Dartmouth College found that a child's peer group has powerful influence over them. When students with low grade-point averages mixed with higher-scoring students, their grade-point average increased.
  10. Support. In a study carried out by Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, elementary school teachers were told that they had certain students in their class who excelled at academics. These students were selected at random. At the end of the school year, 30% of the children selected had gained an average of 22 IQ points, and almost all had gained at least 10 IQ points. Moral of the story? Believing your kid is smarter than average makes a difference.

How you help your child develop intellectually affects him through adulthood.
If you have concerns about your child’s cognitive development, Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help. We are able and ready to address any of your questions or concerns. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Posted on 11/27/2017 20:11

children_holidays_safety.jpgThe holidays are a special time for everyone, but are especially exciting for children. Between holiday decorations, sweets and special meals, the anticipation of seeing family members, and receiving presents, your children will be easily excitable through the rest of the year. That’s why it’s important to go over safety measures with them before holiday plans are in motion. Below are a few tips to consider for your children’s safety and for your peace of mind this season.

  • Indoor Decoration. When decorating your home for the holidays, be mindful of the age of your children and make sure that your decor is age appropriate. If your children are young, for example, it’s best to pass on decorations that are easily breakable or decorations with small pieces that could be choking hazards. If you do want such decorations up for sentimental reasons, take care to place them out of reach of your children. Similarly, remember that poinsettias, mistletoe, and other holiday decorations can be poisonous if ingested and situate them in locations where your children will not encounter them.
  • Lighting and Fire Safety. Candles and lights are a festive part of the holidays, but if you have small children, there are a few extra precautions that will keep both your children and your home safe. Position your Christmas tree away from heat sources, in case of accidental falls. Check for fraying wires and functional bulbs before hanging lights on your tree or around your home. And always place lights and candles where they are out of reach of small children to avoid fire hazards.
  • Age-Appropriate Toys. Gifts are one of the best parts of the holiday season for children, but be aware of the kinds of items your children are receiving. Consider how old your children are when purchasing presents for the holiday and when possible, coordinate with relatives and friends who might be giving your children gifts to be sure they are age-appropriate. Small parts can turn into potential choking hazards for small children. You should also remove any wrapping remnants, strings, or tags before giving toys to a child.
  • Outdoor Accidents. With holiday travel, more people are on the road this time of year - and often times are traveling in unfamiliar destinations. Even if it’s an area the driver is familiar with, there can be more distractions and dangerous road conditions around the holidays. If your children are still in car seats, be sure they are buckled properly. If you live in an area that winter weather tends to hit hard, be sure your children are dressed appropriately for the weather and have the appropriate supervision for outdoor activities.

Following age-appropriate safety guidelines, as well as any individualized care plans for children with certain illnesses, can ensure that everyone has a safe and happy holiday. If you have concerns about your child and their safety during the holidays, Capital Area Pediatrics is here to help you. We are able and ready to address any of your questions or concerns about holiday safety. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Image courtesy of pxhere.com

Posted on 10/27/2017 14:57

Healthy eating is important during the holiday season.The last three months of the year really are exciting! Families and friends are gathering and celebrating, which means there will be no shortage of food. From tasty Halloween candy to Thanksgiving feasts to Christmas sweets, it’s very tempting to want to try everything. Unfortunately, the holidays are also a time where weight gain can be a real problem, especially for children who are lured in by sugary treats. Here are a few of our tips for watching what your children are eating while still letting them get the most out of the holidays.


Monitoring Portion Size

On average, Americans gain one to two pounds during the holiday season. While a lot of the weight gain can be caused by the ingredients in what you’re eating, controlling portions is one of the better ways to keep things steady. Give your child a smaller plate at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Start off with filling the plate with more vegetables, salad, and other foods with more nutrition, and then the entrees and other side dishes.

As for Halloween, their candy haul could be huge and they may want to eat as much as possible right away. Stash some of their candy away and leave out a little bit at a time to ration it throughout the coming months. There are also a number of other ways to creatively portion out candy, or donate it and use it for other recipes and crafts.


Keep Kids Active

With the weather cooling down and most holiday activities taking place inside, staying active can be tricky. It’s easy for kids to want to eat sweets and plop in front of the TV to watch their favorite holiday movies, but it’s essential to keep them moving to work off those holiday meals and desserts. Kids should stay active for at least one hour every day, and this includes the holidays! On Halloween, take longer walking routes around the neighborhood for some extra steps. Go for a family walk or participate in a friendly game of football on Thanksgiving morning or after dinner. On Christmas, have a dance party around the tree to some of your favorite holiday tunes. There are plenty of ways to get active and celebrate the holidays!


Healthy Substitutes

Incorporating more fruits and veggies into fun holiday meals and snacks will get the kids the right nutrients without making things boring. On Thanksgiving, try creating this veggie turkey, or a popcorn wreath for Christmas. As for Halloween, it doesn’t have to be all about the candy. Check out some of these healthy snacks to enjoy during a Halloween family movie night.

The holidays don’t have to come with an extra one to two pounds, especially for growing children. If you have concerns about your child’s weight or eating habits during the holidays, Capital Area Pediatrics can help you out. Our team can address any of your questions or concerns about holiday temptations. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to assist you!

Image courtesy pixabay.com

Posted on 09/28/2017 16:11

It Welcoming a new season is always an exciting time, especially with the arrival of autumn. The autumn season means cooler weather, falling leaves, football, and scarves and sweaters. But every changing season has its downside. For autumn, that means allergy season is here, which affects both children and adults. Some struggle during this time of year with allergies and colds floating around, but those with asthma tend to have a more difficult time. Here are a few ways to understand what triggers flare ups and how to keep your child’s asthma in check this fall.


Fall Allergies

What about this season affects asthma? Common allergens that float around during the fall are sometimes to blame, as they can trigger asthma symptoms in children. These are mostly made up of weed pollens, which are known to be more abundant during the late summer and early fall. Some of these weed pollens include ragweed, tumbleweed, Russian thistle, pigweed, sagebrush, and more.

Prevent these allergens from affecting your child by having them stay inside as much as possible, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., when pollen is more likely to be floating around. It’s also a good idea to keep windows closed both at home and when you’re driving around in the car.



Just like weed pollen, mold spores are also out and about during this time of year and can affect children with asthma. Because mold can be found both inside your home and outdoors, it’s always a good idea to be aware of its presence and do what you can to prevent it from being a problem for your child.

Keeping your windows closed and placing a dehumidifier in your basement to reduce moisture will help prevent mold from appearing or spreading. When outside, beware of a type of mold called Alternaria. When playing in leaves or enjoying a hayride through a pumpkin farm, have your child wear a mask or scarf to protect their mouth or nose from any mold spores in the leaves and hay.


Colds and the Flu

Fall also means viruses are more likely to be floating around your child’s school. The flu and other respiratory infections can strongly affect children with asthma and worsen its symptoms.

One of the best ways to protect your child from the flu is getting a flu shot. Flu shots are essential to help lessen the severity of the illness. If your child comes down with a cold, make sure to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician for information on the severity of the cold  and any best practices for fighting it off.


Have An Action Plan

No matter how severe the diagnosis and no matter what triggers your child’s asthma, an action plan is a must. An action plan is developed with a doctor, ensuring that information and steps to address flare-ups are documented in writing and readily available to your family and caregivers. Action plans include notes about daily treatments and medicines, tips for control asthma symptoms, and guidelines on when to call for medical assistance during an asthma flare-up or attack.


Having asthma isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t ruin your child’s fun this autumn! Following fall precautionary procedures and checking in with your child’s pediatrician will help them and you with your asthma concerns. At Capital Area Pediatrics, our team can help you and your child schedule an appointment to address any of their asthma concerns this season. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and our staff will be happy to help you and your child!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

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