Illnesses and Conditions
Acute Respiratory Issues
Bronchiolitis and RSV
Bronchiolitis is a viral infection of the smaller airways in the lungs and primarily affects infants and young children. RSV is often implicated as a cause in the fall and winter seasons.
Croup is characterized by a harsh “barking” cough and is typically worse at night. If your child has croup they may progress to have difficulty breathing or “stridor” (a high-pitched sound when they take a breath in). Do not hesitate to call our office, even after-hours, if you are concerned about your child’s breathing.
Croup Info (AAP)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses. We can help with both the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder. These links may help further your understanding of ADHD; what you can do to help your child cope; and what types of treatments are available.
ADHD Basics (AAP)
Asthma remains the most common chronic childhood illness, and can take many forms from “wheezing with colds,” to exercise-related symptoms, to chronic nighttime cough. If your child is diagnosed with asthma or uses an inhaler regularly, your school will likely ask for an “Asthma Action Plan” which details how and when your child needs treatment; please contact our office to request a copy of your child’s plan (we endeavor to complete these requests within 1 week).
What Is Asthma? (AAP)
More info on Asthma (AAP)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is a complex neurologic disorder associated with developmental delays, particularly in the areas of communication and socialization. It often requires evaluation with a developmental specialist to formally diagnose. If you have concerns about signs of autism in your child we encourage you to discuss them early and often with your primary pediatrician.
Austim Basics (AAP)
Concussions / Head Injuries
Concussions have garnered considerable media attention in recent years, and with good reason. It is critical to pay attention to head injuries in children, particularly if they exhibit symptoms like headache, dizziness, confusion, or otherwise are acting unlike themselves in the aftermath.
Symptoms & Risks (AAP)
Concussion clinics near you:
- MGH: 617.724.9722
- BCH: 617.355.3501
- SSH: 781.624.8162
Conjunctivitis (or pink eye) has many forms – part of a viral illness, a bacterial infection, allergies, or even due to chemical irritation. It often does not require any treatment.
Constipation is unquestionably one of the most common reasons for phone calls to our office. It is remarkably common in children.
Miralax Use Guidelines (MGH)
Fever is an elevation of normal body temperature and a common response to many childhood illnesses. In fact, fever is one of our body’s infection-fighting weapons. We consider a fever any body temperature greater than 100.4 F or 38 C. Check out the links below to learn how to measure your child’s temperature, how and when to treat a fever (it is not always necessary), and when to call our office.
Fever without Fear (AAP)
Thankfully, food allergies are uncommon. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction, and what to do if your child experiences one. If your child does have a food allergy you may need an “Allergy Action Plan” for your childcare provider/school. This is an emergency plan, tailored to your child, that describes what steps to take and medications to administer if a reaction should occur. Click here to see examples of downloadable plans. If you need a plan for your child please call our office and notify our staff. We request 1 week’s advance notice to prepare and mail the plan home.
Gastroenteritis and Dehydration
Aptly descriptive, this common childhood illness typically rears its ugly head in summer and fall with a tell-tale rash and sore throat.
Some years are bad, others mild, but getting the “flu” is never fun. Be sure to get your child vaccinated annually and read below for more information.
All About the “Flu” (AAP)
Flu Guide for Parents (CDC)
Updates on Flu Season (CDC)
In accordance with national guidelines, we will take a blood sample to screen your child for lead poisoning three times: at 9-12 months, 2 and 3 years. Read below to learn more.
About blood lead levels (AAP)
Our nurses tell us this is the #1 reason for tearful phone calls from parents. This really is a parenting rite of passage! While they are pesky, lice pose no significant health risk. Read below to learn more.
All About Head Lice (AAP)
Local lice-removal providers (we do not formally endorse any one provider)
Lyme disease is very common in New England and we are always on high alert for cases. Thankfully, Lyme disease is fairly easy to diagnose and treat. Be careful what you read – there is a lot of misleading information about Lyme disease on the internet. We have some good resources for you here:
Lyme Disease Facts (MGH)
How to Perform a “Tick Check” (MA DPH)
How to Remove a Tick (CDC)
Middle Ear Infection
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Infection may be caused by viruses or by bacteria. Typical symptoms may include fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing. Sometimes — but not always — antibiotics are needed to treat. We do not recommend cough and cold medicines sold over-the-counter to manage symptoms.
General information (AAP)
Seasonal and Environmental Allergies
Common environmental allergies include pollens and molds, which tend to occur seasonally in the spring and fall. Other common environmental allergens include pet dander and dust mites. Typical symptoms include runny nose, itchy nose, itchy or puffy or pink eyes, sneezing, and/or throat clearing. Food allergies are discussed elsewhere.
Seasonal Allergies (AAP)
Allergy Medicines (AAP)
Common Skin Conditions
We see a variety of skin conditions in the office. Some are not easy to diagnose over the phone.
Diaper Rashes (AAP)
Eczema Care Regimen (example) (MGH)
General info on this common condition (AAP)
Sore throats can be caused by many different types of germs. Strep throat is caused by one type of bacteria: “Group A Strep.” Classic symptoms of strep throat include sore throat, fever, swollen glands in the neck; sometimes children will have a rash. It is important to test for strep throat because we often are not good at judging based on looking or symptoms.
Sore throat (AAP)
Strep information (CDC)
Upper Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections (“Common Colds” or “URIs”)
Most childhood infections of the nose, sinuses, and throat are viral. Young children can get many colds each year, and colds typically last 2 weeks or more. Cough and cold medicines are often more toxic in children than beneficial and we do not typically recommend them — humidification, nasal saline, elevating the head of the bed, lots of fluids and rest will help with comfort. You should call the office if your child has high or persistent fever, pain, difficulty eating and drinking, trouble breathing, or the cough lasts more than 3 weeks.
Sinusitis vs. URI (AAP)
Why No Antibiotics? (CDC)
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
UTIs are bacterial infections of the urethra, bladder, ureter and/or kidney. Fever may be the only sign in an infant. In older children typical symptoms include pain during urination, blood in the urine, urinary frequency or urgency or accidents, abdominal pain. Fever, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy can be signs of more severe infection. Infants with UTI may need to be evaluated for anatomical abnormalities predisposing them to UTI.
UTI info (AAP)
Recurrent UTIs (AAP)