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Vivvi

Joie de Vivvi

9/1/2021

Top 10 Childhood Health Issues With Dr. Brittany DiBardino

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Vivvi, an early learning center based in New York City, recently sat down with Tribeca Pediatrics’ very own Dr. Brittany DiBardino for an insightful discussion about the top 10 childhood health issues that parents often experience in the first few years of their child’s life. 

Dr. Brittany DiBardino is a general pediatrician with Tribeca Pediatrics since 2015.  She has a medical degree from the Midwestern University in Chicago and  moved back to New York to do her residency in a Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital before joining Tribeca Pediatrics. She is also a Mom to three boys: a 4-year-old and twin 2-year-olds.

Common Childhood Illnesses & Health Issues

It is completely natural for parents to worry when their child is sick. However, in most cases, their child is experiencing a common childhood illness that can be easily addressed with a trip to their pediatrician and some well-informed advice. 

Below, Dr. DiBardino guides you through the top 10 childhood health issues and illnesses that all parents should be aware of. She discusses the general reasons why kids get sick, what basic treatments are, and when parents should start to worry. 

Colds

Dr. DiBardino: “So, the first topic is colds which are virus upper respiratory infections, and of course, you know Covid is a virus and it most often presents as a cold in kids, but even if you have the diagnosis of Covid it doesn’t change the treatment. 

So, I’m going to talk about general colds but this pertains to almost a Covid situation as well. So, a cold is an infection that manifests in your nose and it’s caused by many different viruses. It causes things to be inflamed – you make mucus, things become red and angry, and kids generally have a fever associated with it. 

Your kids don’t want to eat as much, they feel sick sometimes, they have some loose poop. They can also have a post nasal drip which manifests often as a sore throat.

In general, there isn’t a treatment for colds. Again that sort of goes for Covid too. Getting the diagnosis of Covid doesn’t mean you get a certain medicine – you kind of ride it out. You just have to watch your kid a little closer and quarantine them a little differently. But in general, non-Covid related colds usually last about three to seven days.”

Vivvi: What kind of medications do you advise for a child that has a cold?

Dr. DiBardino: “There’s not a pill that makes it better because colds are viruses. There isn’t an antiviral pill that’s around and you know the treatment is managing your kid’s secretions and making them comfortable. 

This can be very hard, especially in babies. So, some things you can try to help mobilize the mucus is to use a little nasal saline and suction it out. Even do a little steam shower – turn the hot water on in the shower and make it kind of like a sauna in the bathroom – and let your kid play on the floor. 

If your kids are a bit younger and you can kind of control how they sleep, put an extra pillow underneath them and manage their temperature and pain with Tylenol or Motrin. Decongestants can be used but often there are some negative side effects so I would consult your pediatrician before giving medicine to your child. But really, trying to handle the secretions is the best treatment.”

Vivvi: When you see all of this are you suggesting that parents potentially give it a couple of days before coming in. Is this more of a self-monitor kind of thing?

Dr. DiBardino: “Usually, I would say if the fever or the symptoms kind of go past day three and they’re getting worse or if at any time you’re concerned about your child’s breathing, those are sort of the reasons to come in. 

Usually, you know they [colds] kind of run their course over a week but the mucus can last multiple weeks on and often kids, especially if they’re around other kids in daycare, in school, or a baby that has an older sibling that’s around, they can get back to back colds.

It’s not evidence of a weak immune system or that anything’s wrong. It’s just that kids are really cute but they’re a little gross sometimes: they lick stuff, they’re snotty and get germs but it’s not a bad thing and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong.” 

Vivvi: Is there anything that could be said as far as preventative precautions for looking out for the season where colds can jump about?

Dr. DiBardino: “It’s hard because some of it is preventable and some of it is not preventable. You know, I think we’ll sort of get into seasonal allergies in a minute but those sorts of things have a seasonal curve. Certain pollen and transition times, you can kind of anticipate what’s coming and maybe your kid has had some issues in the past so that’s helpful. 

In general, I think for the cold and flu season, just being extra vigilant about wiping noses. We’ve seen masks and hand sanitizer and these things do work. So, wash your kids’ hands but at the same time, don’t freak out if they drop something on the floor and lick it. It’s life, you know.”

Seasonal Allergies

Dr. DiBardino: “Seasonal allergies look a lot like colds but the symptoms are more chronic. They last more than a week or two and they happen at about the same time every year. 

So, there’s some overlap with the congestion and the stuffiness but you usually have a little bit more like pink and itchy eyes, or a little more sneezing. Seasonal allergies can also exacerbate other inflammatory conditions such as eczema, wheezing, or asthma.”

Vivvi: Is there any baseline where you would start to recommend going to an allergist or is it sort of a one size fits all situation?

Dr. DiBardino: “I think the hard thing with seasonal allergies is although you want to avoid triggers once you identify them, certain triggers are like grass and going outside which of course we don’t want your child to avoid doing. If it seems like it’s an environmental allergy you don’t have to necessarily run to an allergist because the treatment is over-the-counter management of symptoms. 

I think when it’s helpful to go to an allergist is if you can’t identify exactly what the triggers are. One of the things that are helpful to know is if your kid has a dust mite allergy because that may trigger you to change materials and bedding and things like that in your house. 

So, I don’t think that somebody having seasonal allergies necessarily needs to go to an allergist because the management is mostly over the counter but there are times where a little extra information is helpful.”

Vivvi: So, what do you do if you have allergies?

Dr. DiBardino: “You avoid it as much as possible but still send your kids outside. But, if it’s a high pollen count time and they’ve got a pollen allergy, maybe change their clothes when they come in, wash their hands. You can shower them if you’re so inclined. 

Try to keep the windows shut and put on the air conditioning instead of letting the pollen drift through the house. And then really, it’s about the management of symptoms. So, if your kids are super coughy, sneezy, or snotty, taking an oral antihistamine which is over the counter – they make liquid for younger kids – is helpful.” 

Teething

Dr. DiBardino: “Teething is something that I talk about a lot.  Traditionally it starts at about six to eight months of age. I have seen teeth in a few four-month-olds but it’s rare. The oral phase begins around four months or earlier when kids are putting stuff in their mouth and have lots of drool. 

You get 20 teeth by the time you’re two years old and then you get another set of molars between the ages of two and three. So, a lot of teeth come in but it doesn’t mean that it’s a rough two years. It waxes, it wanes, and it usually lasts a few days. It’s also not painful for everyone.”

Vivvi: “That’s great. I almost want you to say that all again because there’ll be sometimes when a tooth will come in and you won’t even have experienced any emotions around it and then just when you’re least expecting it, something is feeling a little bit rough and you never really know when that’s going to be or what that’s going to be. Every child is different and how they come in and the process lasts up until about three years old which is crazy.”

Dr. DiBardino: “This is sort of the typical eruption of teeth but again not everybody follows the mold. Usually, you get the bottom two central incisors first. Then the top two come, the laterals, the molars, and the canines fill last. I think it’s cute when they come in differently too.

Vivvi: So, what do you do for teething?

Dr. DiBardino: “Really cold things confuse pain receptors so I often encourage people to freeze a bagel or a banana and let their kid kind of gnaw on it because that pressure of the frozen food can be helpful for the pain. And, also just putting pressure on the gums. Topical anesthetics used to be recommended but they’re not anymore. Benzocaine used to be recommended but in overdosed amounts or high doses it can displace oxygen from the blood.

Other things people try are these amber teething necklaces that are super cute accessory pieces but they can be choking hazards and they actually can choke kids so we don’t recommend them either. 

There are homeopathic tablets but the levels are often unregulated. Brandy or booze is definitely an old-school way to deal with teething but we can’t recommend that anymore. Pressure, cold, and then old Tylenol and Motrin are best.”

Vivvi: Is there a “too early for medicine” timeframe? I know a lot of that is a conversation with your pediatrician but are there guidelines for Tylenol/Motrin use?

Dr. DiBardino: “Yeah, so they’re both weight-based dosing. So, get the dose from your pediatrician but Tylenol you can give to a baby that’s a few days old if you need to. Tylenol is safe pretty much from when you’re born but Motrin we don’t give to children until they’re six months and you may find that for some kids Motrin works better but you gotta wait until they’re six months to use it.”

Vivvi: I have had recommendations that Tylenol and Motrin can be used together. Is that a thing?

Dr. DiBardino: “Yes, that’s totally a thing. Ok, they work differently. They have different mechanisms of action. So, basically, you know they start with one and if you need a dose of something before that time frame is up you can give the other one.”

Vivvi: What are some of the myths about teething?

Dr. DiBardino: “Everybody thinks teething causes fevers. I mean I did too but they did a medical study and looked at it and teething just really raises the temperature by 0.12 degrees. So, you can’t blame a fever on teething. Your kid can feel a little warm and they can be fussy but if your kid has a temperature of above 100.4, it’s probably something else. 

With teething, you get a lot of drool and irritation around your mouth. We see rashes but a full-blown body rash can’t be blamed on teething. For diarrhea, kids swallow more fluid because they’re drooling a ton but full-blown diarrhea also can’t be blamed on teething. 

Another myth is that it only occurs at night. That’s not true. I mean, kids are a little less distracted at night and a little more sensitive so it makes sense that symptoms seem worse at that point but you don’t want to completely break the routine and be in a bad rhythm of cuddling your kid every night or going to them every time they cry. Just because they’re teething, you sort of have to figure out what it is, give them a little medicine or loving, and kind of move on.

Another myth is seeing the teeth always means that it’s worse. For some people, teeth just pop up and you didn’t even know your kid was teething. Everybody’s architecture of their nerves and their mouth is a little bit different. So, some kids get pain when it’s a non-visible tooth, other kids pop 20 teeth out and hardly have a problem. So, it’s not always bad.”

Ear Infections

Vivvi: Obviously, this is in the top 10 of childhood health issues and illnesses so I’m imagining it happens quite frequently with children. Do ear infections happen because there’s just not a lot of space for the nose and the ears and all the stuff that’s going on?

Dr. DiBardino: “Basically, ear infections usually occur because a kid gets a cold or a virus. You get congestion in your sinuses and there’s no drainage because you have so much mucus in your sinuses that your Eustachian tubes or your ears can’t drain. 

It’s sort of like these viruses cause a backup in pressure and fluid – if the fluid hangs out there long enough it can become bacterial. Also, another aspect of it is just kids’ ears. The angle of a child’s canals is funky, and as it grows it gets a little bit better so the fluid just kind of likes to pull and sit there.”

Vivvi: “That makes sense so it’s not necessarily that they get the ear infection first, something like a virus has caused the ear infection.”

Dr. DiBardino: “Yes, exactly.”

Vivvi: So what do you do for an ear infection?

Dr. DiBardino: “I mean you keep your kid comfortable, good old Tylenol and Motrin – the golden duo – and then there’s sort of two options for treatment. We use treatment plans based on the age of a kid. 

So, if your baby’s less than six months we’ll usually start antibiotics if we look in their ear and see an ear infection. However, if your kids are a little bit older than two years we’ll watch and wait. A lot of times as we talked about, these are viruses that just sort of hang out in the ear, and usually they resolve on their own because medicine or antibiotics don’t cure a virus.

However, if things are going on for more than two to three days and your kid’s still in pain or their fever isn’t getting any better then that’s sort of an indication that maybe that fluid bred something bacterial and we would need to prescribe antibiotics.”

Vivvi: “And if we’ve got parents at home trying to think through what to do aside from maybe pulling on the ear. You can’t really assess your own child’s ear infection and so this would be a come-in and see a pediatrician if you’re getting that.”

Dr. DiBardino: “Yeah, I mean if there’s a fever, your kid is fussy, and pulling on the ear. Usually, there’s a cold that goes along with it and if things aren’t getting better, it’s time to go and see your pediatrician.

A recurrent ear infection would be if it happens within 30 days of an initial infection, and in that case, you know you may need to try a different antibiotic to treat it. There are some kids because of their anatomy that get multiple ear infections in a year. 

So, if you have more than four in a year that’s sort of when you’d see a specialist to talk about if there is anything that needs to be done such as ear tubes intervention, or more antibiotics. Sometimes adenoids are in the sinuses and can cause recurrent ear infections.

Ear infections usually happen when kids are babies until they’re about six years old and then they usually go away so this isn’t something hopefully you’re not dealing with forever.”

Vivvi: What are the most common myths about ear infections?

Dr. DiBardino: “I mean, with a middle ear infection people think you can’t go swimming but you can. The infection is behind the balloon in your ear so nothing is getting in your ear. You can fly with an ear infection. Obviously, it’s better if it is being treated just because that pressure can be a little painful but it’s not a contradiction to fly. People think certain foods cause ear infections but there hasn’t been proof of that and there are ear drops that claim to prevent ear infections. 

I’ve heard people putting garlic in their ear but nothing you put in your ear is going to get rid of an ear infection so we’d advise against that. Also, ear infections themselves aren’t contagious but sometimes the viruses that cause them are. So, if your kid has an ear infection but otherwise is doing ok they can play with other kids and they don’t need to stay out of school or daycare or anything like that.”

Vivvi: Thank you for that info. It reminded me of a question that we had about cleaning ears and recommendations for how to clean them appropriately. What you should and shouldn’t do…any tips?

Dr. DiBardino: “It’s sort of gone out of favor to clean ears. I think we were in the past you know, sticking things in kids’ ears and causing more damage than good. So, generally, we don’t recommend q-tips, not even those baby-safe q-tips. 

Just let it be and some kids create more earwax, some kids don’t. Some kids have white earwax and some have brown. It’s not indicative that there’s a problem if there’s a ton of earwax. You can talk to your pediatrician about it.”

Strep Throat

Dr. DiBardino: “So, the next topic is strep throat. This actually is for a little bit of older kids, usually three and up but this is a normal throat and then you see the other side: swollen tonsils, white pus, red angry throat and that’s strep. 

So strep throat usually starts quickly. Like you have a fever, can’t swallow, it hurts. Usually, you have swollen lymph nodes on your neck and sometimes even if you open your mouth big you can see the pus or the big tonsils.

Things that usually aren’t associated with strep throat are cough, runny nose, pink eye because oftentimes you can get a sore, scratchy throat more from a post nasal drip. So, if you’re having a cough, a runny nose, and a sore throat, more likely it’s a cold or allergies.”

Vivvi: And if your child is under three it’s very unlikely that it is strep throat. Is there a reason for that?

Dr. DiBardino: “Yeah, so kids under two and three don’t have the proteins to get sick from strep throat. So you don’t test or treat them for that. They’re sort of protected which is cool.”

Vivvi: How do you get diagnosed with strep throat?

Dr. DiBardino: “You gotta go to the office and get swabbed. We put a little stick in the back of the throat and we usually test it right there. There’s a rapid test that’s pretty accurate. There’s also a send-out if you need confirmation. It’s most common in school-age kids ages five to fifteen. It’s rare in anyone less than three and being around other kids that have strep throat is usually how they get it. 

It’s treatable with Penicillin or the liquid version, Amoxicillin, and you treat it because it decreases how long you’re sick, decreases the symptoms, decreases the spread to others, and decreases the complications of strep which is like rheumatic fever, scarlet fever – things we don’t really hear about anymore because we’re good at treating strep. 

So, once you’re on antibiotics you can go to school. They work within 24 hours so you feel good which is great. If you get more than four strep throat infections in a year you may want to consider seeing an ENT because maybe it’s the anatomy of your tonsils and they’re a little too big making it easier to take in the strep.”

Vivvi: Is strep one of the more quickly contagious infections?

Dr. DiBardino: “Yes, it’s funny you’ll be in the office once, and then like a whole class will sort of roll through so it’s typically like the kindergarten/first grade age group.”

Vivvi: When you’re coming into your office and obviously as a parent, you’re sharing all the symptoms, is your office moving away from just doing a COVID test right away, or are you just out of precaution just always doing that?

Dr. DiBardino: “Yeah, it is still a case-by-case basis, I think. Previously we were swabbing anything and anyone but now you know you can sort of say ok, this has seasonal allergies, they have itchy eyes, they’re coughing but they don’t have a fever. 

That doesn’t mean we weren’t swabbing kids. I mean, I swabbed four kids today but COVID is just not prevalent in the community so the nice thing is that the tests are quick and they’re coming back quicker so we still are airing on the side of caution a lot of times.”

Flu

Vivvi: Explain to us exactly what the flu is.

Dr. DiBardino: “Basically the flu is like a shorter, more intense cold. So, it usually lasts three to five days more instead of seven-plus days. You get higher fevers, you’re just achy, you’re weaker, muscle pain, cough, and the complications can be like if the mucus settles in your chest and pneumonia or ear infection as well. 

Vivvi: How do you test for the flu?

Dr. DiBardino: “Go to your pediatrician and get a swab up your nose but in the past, we don’t always really treat the flu. Tamiflu is the only medicine that is a treatment for the flu but we find that the negative side effects often outweigh its use. So, unless your kid is predisposed to getting super sick from the flu meaning they’re under the age of two or have a premature history of asthma we generally really don’t prescribe Tamiflu. So, knowing the diagnosis doesn’t necessarily change the treatment.”

Vivvi: How do you prevent yourself from getting the flu?

Dr. DiBardino: “Get vaccinated. Vaccines are awesome – which we’ll go into in a minute – but the way that the flu vaccine is made every year is they kind of look in South America, see the more virulent strains, they try to guess what’s going to be in our population, and they make a new vaccine every year because immunity wanes and every year you know the viruses or the strains that are most prevalent or different. 

So that’s why you have to get a flu shot every year and you want to get it before its’ prevalent in your community so August – early October is ideal.”

Vaccines

Dr. DiBardino: “Vaccines, of course, I think are the wonderful advancement of modern medicine and as a pediatrician, I feel so privileged and honored to be able to give vaccines and protect my patients from all these things that they don’t have to get anymore. 

So, in general, the FDA requires years of research and trials before release. Obviously, with the COVID vaccine, things have been sped up but I honestly feel that this vaccine is under more scrutiny than any other in the past. So I’m very pro-Covid vaccine as well as other vaccines. Nobody likes getting them so everyone gets a little bummed out – even my kids – and you can get a little swelling at the spot but sometimes you can get a fever or rash but it’s usually quick side effects for a really good payoff. 

If you look at these CDC pediatric vaccine schedules it can be a little overwhelming. But basically, you get vaccinated for a bunch of different diseases and there are booster doses. At Tribeca Pediatrics, we kind of go in line with the CDC but again we try to space things out in a way that we’re not giving like six vaccines at one visit and one at the next, you know.

Vivvi: “I would say that the first nine months feels like it’s a lot but it’s expected and it’s almost, I think, worse for you when they’re younger. Then as they get older they start to understand what’s happening and it gets worse for them but even though a lot is happening at once it seems to be harder on the parents.”

Dr. DiBardino: “And a lot of its boosters too so it’s just your kid has some protection but they need a little boost to get full protection.”

Vivvi: What are some of the top myths that you’ve heard about vaccines?

Dr. DiBardino: “Do they cause autism? It’s a firm no on that. You know the doctor who concluded that was an association had his license taken away and was found to be creating false data. I think you know some of the associations with autism are related to the one-year vaccine which is the MMR vaccine. 

Um, I just think it’s often you can see more obvious signs of autism at that age group because that’s when kids are starting to walk, talk, and develop social relationships. So, I think that’s the vaccine that’s given at the time where you sort of start to see signs of autism is my personal opinion but I don’t think any vaccine causes autism.

People are concerned about the additives in vaccines but thimerosal and most additives have been eliminated. So, we really tried to go preservative-free and you know the least amount of additives possible.

Diseases are not caused by vaccines. They are fake dead versions of the viruses that are put in the vaccines so that’s a myth. People think sometimes splitting it up is better but that’s not always the case either.”

Vivvi: When are newborns vaccinated enough to be exposed to people without vaccines?

Dr. DiBardino: “I think people usually use the two-month vaccine as a mark of when they can kind of be a little more in the outside world. So, those are traditionally given at the two-month visit. That is when people would go on a plane or visit relatives in the past. The nice thing is those vaccines can be given as early as six weeks so if you did have something planned you can come in a little bit before the two-month visit.”

Vivvi: And do you recommend any adults getting specific vaccines before they see infants?

Dr. DiBardino: Yeah, I think you’d try to have people up to date with the whooping cough vaccine and the Covid vaccine for adults who can get it.”

Rashes

[Insert image of eczema from presentation slide]

Dr. DiBardino: “The flexural surfaces – behind the elbows and creases like the thigh folds of babies or on the cheeks – are common spots for a certain type of rash. We’ve been seeing a big increase of this rash on hands due to a lot of hand washing but it can be all over the body and this is called eczema. 

Eczema usually starts when babies are around three months and can last forever but it generally gets better over time. It is good to remember that itching and scratching eczema increases the inflammation process. So, you’re trying to kind of keep your kid’s skin smooth and hydrated as much as possible.

There are many causes of eczema: food allergies, soaps, warm weather, cold weather, irritation from just rubbing like a diaper or a wet bathing suit, and then when you’re sick viral infections.

Vivvi: What can parents do to treat and manage eczema?

Dr. DiBardino: “It’s kind of a chronic thing. You have to be vigilant and on top of it. So moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. We recommend one of the ointments even though they’re kind of slimy: Aquaphor, Vaseline, and A&D are great for flares. When that’s just not cutting it you can do a little bit of a topical steroid for a few days – sort of a little burst to kind of calm the inflammation process down and then go back to the moisturization. 

For really extreme cases there are oral steroids or oral antihistamines. We use an adjuvant to the topical treatments. Just keep your skin hydrated and then there’s like injectables that you’d be seeing a dermatologist for.”

[Insert image of impetigo from presentation slide]

Dr. DiBardino: “Another common pediatric rash that’s usually around the nose and the mouth where the skin is a little bit more fragile or there are breaks in the skin is called impetigo. Everybody has normal bacteria that hangs out on our skin but sometimes when there’s an opening that bacteria can get underneath the skin and cause a problem. So it’s common in kids again. Drooly, open skin around their nose and mouth and you can get these crusted lesions and it can be itchy and infected.”

Vivvi: What kind of treatment do you use for this childhood health issue?

Dr. DiBardino: “Usually, topical treatment works. You use a little bit of a topical antibiotic, over-the-counter work. Sometimes, if it’s not getting better, see your pediatrician and they will write you a prescription for a stronger one. Then in severe cases, you may need oral antibiotics.”

Vivvi: Is this something that you could maybe suggest a virtual chat vs a coming in? Have you done that?

Dr. DiBardino: “Totally yeah. Sometimes it is hard to get kids to sit still and show you their rash on the screen but even if parents take pictures this is one childhood illness that often you can diagnose virtually and it’s a quick fix.”

[Insert image of hives from presentation]

Dr. DiBardino: “Another common rash we see in kids is called hives. Generally, there are four causes of hives. The first one is an allergic reaction. If it is an allergic reaction to food this is more of an urgent situation when you need to be on top of it and see your pediatrician right away. But sometimes kids get an allergic reaction to a cream or a lotion and then these don’t usually progress to an anaphylactic shock breathing situation. 

Infections are the second cause. So when kids get viral infections and their immune system is tuned up and overreacts, they break out in hives. It’s not dangerous, it’s more irritating for the child. It doesn’t mean things are getting worse. 

The temperature can cause hives – so hot weather, cold weather, kid jumps into a cold lake which can then make them break out in hives. The fourth reason is something we call idiopathic. Basically, we don’t know the cause but the good news is it’s not dangerous or life-threatening. 

The good thing is the treatment is usually over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl usually do the trick. In severe cases sometimes you need steroids again to really calm down that inflammation of the immune system and if you have hives for more than six weeks you gotta see your doctor but you’ve probably seen them by then.”

Summer Safety

Vivvi:  What are some of the top summer safety tips that you have for parents?

Dr. DiBardino: “So sun protection is a big topic. So you can use sunscreen on babies less than six months. If you look at sunscreen bottles it’ll say don’t use it until babies are six months. That’s not true. The active ingredient in barrier sunscreen is zinc oxide which is the main ingredient in diaper cream so there’s nothing wrong with putting sunscreen on your kid’s skin when they’re a baby. 

We suggest barrier sunscreens for young babies. Some examples are Blue Lizard Baby, the Neutrogena baby face stick is another good one you can use in certain spots, and then chemical sunscreens you can use for older kids. Those neutralize the UV rays. You want to do an SPF of at least 15, reapply it a ton and the reason we say to avoid spray is it can be irritating for the skin and cause itchy hives. Although it’s easy it can be irritating on the skin.

Next summer safety topic is water safety. So, drowning is the lead cause of injury and death in children ages one to four. So, you always have to be on top of your kids. You have to watch them, you want to teach them how to swim, and make sure lifeguards are on duty. We actually say to avoid using inflatable swimming aids because it gives kids a false sense that they can swim and be on their own. 

The next thing is bug bites. So for mosquito bites, you can use mosquito repellent. Tick bites are a big topic this time of year and the main goal is to cover up. So, if you’re going to be hiking in the woods or you’re going to be running around, wear long socks and layers. You can use insect repellent spray on kids as young as two to three months old and Deet is safe but just don’t put it on areas where your kid might get it in their mouth.  

Other options you can use are Sawyer lotion, Avon, oil of lemon eucalyptus which is a little more natural but we suggest it for older kids, and for preventing tick bites is to do tick checks. So check your kid every night when you bathe them and strip them down. 

If you see a tick on your kid you want to get the fine tip tweezers out, grab the tick, pull it out. If a little remains on the skin, that’s ok. Clean the skin with alcohol swabs or soap and water. Then you want to get rid of the tick. If the tick is attached for more than 36 to 72 hours is when you want to worry. Just call your pediatrician because there are times that we will prescribe something like Lyme prophylaxis if a tick has been there for a long time.”

Cuts & Scrapes

Vivvi: Kids can fall quite often when they are younger. What advice would you give to parents when their child has a cut or a scrape?

Dr. DiBardino: “If your kid falls, you want to put pressure on the wounds as soon as possible. If there’s a significant distance between the edges of the wound or you see it’s spreading apart easily that’s a sign your child might need stitches in which case call your pediatrician. We work closely with a few plastic surgeons who can help stitch up our kids especially when they fall on their faces.

Often if your kid falls and they get a cut in their mouth it’s actually a great place to get hurt. It rarely gets infected or needs to be stitched. It looks crazy and it can look white and puffy but it’s one of the safest places to be hit because the spit irrigates your mouth and it’s cleaner than you think. 

For scars, hydrate the skin lots and apply extra sun protection. Kids heal better than most adults would. It often looks worse initially than it is so place pressure on the wound for a few minutes, take a few minutes to calm down, take your hand off the cut, and then reevaluate.”

Treating Common Childhood Health Issues

Childhood health issues such as rashes, colds, and ear infections are all normal. Most of the health illnesses mentioned on this list are common during a child’s earlier years and can often be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you are ever in doubt or your child isn’t improving then you should seek professional advice from your pediatrician. 

Tribeca Pediatrics team of expert pediatricians offer 24/7 medical guidance to parents. Office hours include both evenings and weekends so that parents can make sure their child is taken care of no matter what time of the day it is.

Vivvi is an early learning center that is dedicated to providing families with exceptional early learning experiences and childcare, whether on campus or in-home. With many parents considering an in-home childcare provider, our in-home program may be the perfect option for you.

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