Friday, July 16, 2010

Tackling Pesky Childhood Conditions

Runny noses, ear aches, growing pains and upset tummies….staples of children everywhere. Luckily, these common childhood complaints come and go without the need for major medical intervention. However, there are several irritating childhood conditions that aren’t extremely serious, but are pesky none the less.

“All parents can count on the occasional minor condition that doesn’t warrant an emergency room visit, but does require medical treatment,” says Robyn Gorman, M.D., a pediatrician on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff. “Common conditions we see are conjunctivitis (pink eye), lice, ringworm, and rashes.”

Seeing Red? Be on the Lookout for Conjunctivitis

“Pink eye or conjunctivitis is something that we see often,” says Gorman. “If your child has red or swollen eyes, a gooey discharge, itchiness or general irritation, you should take him to the doctor for treatment. Sometimes pink eye is mistaken for allergies, but it’s actually an infection with a bacteria or a virus, much like those that cause colds or sore throats.”

Dr. Gorman says that prescribed eye drops or ointments will effectively treat the area and provide comfort. Also, she suggests using a damp, warm washcloth to clean the crusty discharge that causes the eyelids to stick together in the morning.

“Pink eye is very contagious, so it’s important to wash your hands regularly and keep other children from coming into contact with someone with conjunctivitis,” says Gorman.

Bugging out About Lice and Ringworm

The names themselves give people the heebee jeebees. Unfortunately, lice and ringworm like to hang around your kids. Now, those are friends that you don’t want your kids to make!

“Every year, especially after the start of school or daycare, we see increased cases of lice and ringworm,” says Gorman. “Again, these conditions aren’t serious, but they are an annoyance to parents and children.”

Both are very contagious and may or may not require a prescription, says Gorman. “Lice are pesky little critters that like to hang out in hair, and ringworm is actually a fungus (like athlete’s foot) that should be treated with anti-fungal medication.”

There are some over-the-counter treatments, but Gorman recommends visiting the doctor if symptoms are severe or if treatment methods aren’t working.

Robyn Gorman, M.D., is a pediatrician with Woodbridge Pediatrics. Her office is located at 1924 Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge. Telephone: 703-494-1144.