What is Pediatrics?

Pediatrics is the medical care, physical development and mental health of infants, children and adolescents. With a focus on physical, mental and social development, a pediatrician can help a child in the early developmental stages, all the way to 21 years of age. Finding the right pediatric doctor is important because they will build a trusting and long-term relationship with both you and your child and most important, help your child live a healthier life.

What Does a Pediatrician Do?

Pediatricians are responsible for the physical well-being and mental health of a child from infancy to adulthood. Beginning in the early stages of a child's life, a pediatrician’s careful observations are crucial to ensuring proper development. Through structured assessments and early mediation, a pediatrician can diagnose and treat acute and chronic disorders. They also treat general health issues, illnesses, injuries and infections, and administer health screenings and immunizations to keep children healthy. Pediatric care has many benefits:

  • Preventative care and health promotion with each individual patient in mind.
  • Education for patients and parents to help foster a healthy lifestyle from the start.
  • Forms a trustworthy relationship between doctors, parents and their children.
  • Tracks developmental progress and growth.
  • Collaborative care for additional expertise.
  • Treatment and control of severe and life-threatening diseases.
  • Decreases rates of infant and child mortality.

What Conditions Does a Pediatrician Treat?

  • Common Illnesses and Infections: coughs, colds, flu, fevers, rashes, ear infections, pink eye and more
  • Injuries: falls, burns, lacerations, sprains, fractures, eye injuries and more
  • Asthma: the most common chronic disease in children. Pediatricians assess and treat symptoms and help families understand the triggers of asthma so they can better manage the care.
  • Chronic Allergies: pediatricians can test for food, skin, pet, seasonal and other allergies and may work with a pediatric allergist on specific treatment plans.
  • Childhood Obesity: pediatricians work with families to prevent long-term weight-related health issues by creating a plan of action specifically coordinated for the child.
  • Special Needs: children with cognitive, physical or developmental conditions, or chronic illnesses.
  • Cancers: a pediatric subspecialist in the cancer field is a benefit in the treatment of a child or teen diagnosed with cancer.

What Services Does a Pediatrician Perform?

Regular Physical Exams

Infancy well-baby exams are a good way to monitor a child’s growth and development. The pediatrician will do a head-to-toe physical exam within 3 to 5 days after birth. After that, it is recommended your child see their pediatrician every 2-4 months within the first year. Each stage of a child's development is plotted on a growth chart. The child’s size will be compared to other children of the same age to determine what percentile they are in. As a child grows older, physical exams will become less frequent but no less important. Schools and other recreational programs will require a child to partake in a Pre-participation Physical Examination (PPE). This exam will help determine if a child is ready for that particular sport.

Vaccinations and Immunizations Updates

The pediatrician will recommend vaccinations and immunizations for a child from 0-18 years of age. These are critical to helping stop and prevent the spread of childhood diseases. The following list of vaccines has been approved to help to safeguard children from diseases:

  • HBV: helps limit the spread of Hepatitis B.
  • Hib Vaccine: assists in preventing the disease known as Haemophilus influenzae type b.
  • Pneumococcal Vaccine: vaccine against streptococcus pneumoniae. DTaP: vaccine that helps with prevention of diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
  • Polio: vaccine used to combat poliomyelitis.
  • MMR: vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.
  • Varicella: vaccine to protect against the chickenpox.

Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic Pediatrics

Keeping your kids healthy and happy is important. At UnityPoint Clinic, it’s our priority every day. Our pediatricians are experts in children’s health, providing care for infants to young adults, including well-child exams, immunizations, physicals, treatment of illnesses and injuries and more. By working together as a team and involving you in the decision making, we create a plan based on what’s best for your child. Then we coordinate the care needed to achieve your goals. Healthy kids, happy families – that’s our priority!