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Posts for category: Pediatric Care

By Amherst Pediatrics
October 01, 2018
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Sports Physical   Child Care   Sports  

Your child is eager to start the school year so they can participate in sports. That’s great news! Keeping your child active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and sports can be a great experience for many children; however, it’s also important that your child’s pediatrician performs a yearly sports physical to make sure that they are ready for physical activity.

A sports physical is necessary for every child regardless of their current health. In fact, some schools make it mandatory for children to get an annual sports physical before they participate in any school sports. Regardless of whether this physical is mandatory or not, it’s highly advised that all children get a sports physical once a year.

Your child’s sports physical will involve going through their medical history and conducting a physical examination. The physical examination is pretty self-explanatory. We will check their vitals, as well as their height and weight. We will perform a vision test and evaluate everything from their heart and respiratory system to their musculoskeletal system. The goal of a physical exam is to make sure that your child hasn’t incurred any past injuries or developed any health problems that could be exacerbated by physical activity.

A pediatrician can also answer questions and provide counseling on nutrition, healthy weight loss or gain, and habits that could help your child’s physical health. Remember to bring any questions along with you.

Besides the physical examination, we will also sit down with you and your child and ask questions about their medical history. It’s important to be as detailed as possible. If it’s the first time they are having a sports physical it’s important to bring in a list of any supplements or medications (both over-the-counter or prescription) that they are currently taking.

We will ask a series of questions to find out if there are any serious or chronic health problems that run in the family, if your child has experienced any past injuries, if they’ve ever undergone surgery or been hospitalized, if they have any allergies or if they have any current disorders or illnesses. It’s important to provide as much detailed history as possible so that our pediatric team can perform a thorough and comprehensive physical.

Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your child’s sports physical. It’s important to get your child on the books before the summer is gone and the doctor’s schedule fills up. You don’t want your child being benched during the season because they didn’t get a sports physical. Call your pediatrician today.

By Amherst Pediatrics
March 31, 2017
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Tonsillitis  

The tonsils are oval-shaped, pink masses of tissue on both sides of the throat. They are part of the body's immune system, designed to fight off bacteria and viruses that try to enter the body through the mouth. Sometimes common illnesses are too much for the tonsils to handle, and the tonsils become infected themselves. This condition is known as tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils that can cause a sore throat and discomfort for your little one.

Tonsillitis is common in children, but it can occur at all ages. Many cases of tonsillitis in elementary-aged kids are caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu. Bacterial infections, particularly streptococcus (strep), can also cause an infection of the tonsils.

If your child has tonsillitis, his or her main symptom will be a sore throat. It may be painful to eat, drink or swallow. Other common signs of infected tonsils include:

  • Red, tender and enlarged tonsils
  • Yellow or white coating on tonsils
  • Swollen, painful lymph nodes in the neck
  • Fever
  • Bad Breath

If your child’s symptoms suggest tonsillitis, call your pediatrician. Your child will need to visit a pediatrician to determine whether it is a bacterial or viral infection, which can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam and a throat culture.

If bacteria caused the child’s tonsillitis, then antibiotics may be prescribed to kill the infection. If a virus causes it, then the body will fight the infection on its own. Rest and drinking fluids can also help alleviate symptoms and ease pain. In some cases, if the child suffers from frequent episodes of tonsillitis or repeat infections over several years, your pediatrician may recommend a tonsillectomy, a common surgical procedure to remove the tonsils.

Because tonsillitis is contagious, kids should help protect others at school and home by washing hands frequently, not sharing cups or other personal utensils, and covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Always contact your pediatrician when you have questions about your child’s symptoms and health.

By Amherst Pediatrics
March 14, 2017
Category: Pediatric Care
Tags: Headaches  

Headaches and ChildrenA number of factors can cause a child to develop a headache, such as stress, lack of sleep, skipped meals and certain medications. Other times a child may suffer from a headache due to a common illness or infection, such as a cold or flu.  And in serious cases, head trauma or an underlying condition such as meningitis could be causing the child’s headache. That’s why it’s important for parents to pay close attention to their child’s headache patterns.

Although it’s easy for parents to worry, most headaches in children are rarely a sign of something serious. However, parents should contact their child’s pediatrician if the child has unexplained or recurring headaches over a short period of time or on a regular basis.

Parents should also notify their pediatrician if the child’s headache is accompanied by one or any combination of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Double vision, weakness in a limb or loss of balance
  • Disabling pain that does not improve with over-the-counter pain medication
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Decreased level of alertness
  • Vomiting
  • Change in personality

To help pinpoint the causes of your child’s headaches, parents should keep a diary of their child’s symptoms. Track when headaches occur, how long they last, the severity of the headache and if anything provides relief. Over time, your notes can help you and your pediatrician understand the child’s symptoms to reach a diagnosis and proper treatment plan.

Your child’s pediatrician may also ask you a series of questions to determine the source of your child’s headaches:

  • Do the headaches follow a pattern or do they change over time?
  • Has your child recently suffered a serious injury?
  • What seems to help or worsen headaches?
  • Does your child take any medications or have any past medical issues?
  • Does your child have allergies?
  • Is there a history of headaches in your family?

In many cases, a child’s headache may be relieved at home with simple care. Over-the-counter pain medications, rest and avoiding those triggers that prompt headaches may be enough to ease the pain.

Remember, headaches are not always a symptom of something more serious. However, parents should be mindful of the types of headaches their child has and how frequently they occur. If you suspect something is wrong or not normal, always contact your pediatrician for an appointment.

Hearing ProblemsIt may seem like your teenager is ignoring you, but in reality, they may be having trouble hearing you. More and more we see kids listening to their MP3 players while doing homework, walking to school or riding in the car. The result? A surge in hearing loss.

For years, studies have shown that constant exposure to loud sound damages hearing. In fact, between the mid-1990s and 2006 there was a 31 percent increase in the prevalence of hearing problems among U.S. adolescents, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers suggest that one in every five teens today has some sort of hearing impairment.

Chronic exposure to loud noise may not cause hearing loss in the short term, but it can gradually result in irreversible hearing loss later in adult years. Even slight hearing loss can have a negative impact on a child’s academic success and social interaction. Warning signs of potential hearing loss include: difficulty following directions, asking that things be repeated, trouble with speech and language and listening to the TV at a high volume.

With the prevalence of music devices only gaining popularity, parents need to be particularly aware of their kids’ music-listening habits and educate them about the dangers of excessive noise.

To mitigate hearing loss, talk to your kids about how to use their music players properly to protect their ears from hearing damage.

  • Teach kids to never play their music devices at full volume.
  • Monitor your child’s music volume and frequency.
  • If you can hear the music from the child’s ear buds, then the music is too loud.
  • Explain to your child the importance of wearing ear protection when they are in an environment with loud noises for long periods of time, such as concerts.

The difficult truth about hearing loss is that in many cases it is not reversible, and it can even be progressive over time. Talk to your kids about the dangers of hearing loss now, and keep the volume and length of their listening to a minimum.

Whenever you have questions about your child’s hearing, talk to your pediatrician.



Office Hours
Monday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Tuesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Wednesday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Thursday:8:00 AM - 6:45 PM
Friday:8:00 AM - 4:45 PM
Saturday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Sunday:12:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Contact Us

Our Address
31 Hall Dr.
Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: (413) 253-3773
Fax: (413) 256-0215
Email: mail@amherstpeds.com

Routine Visits
We see patients in our office for routine visits Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:45 pm.

Urgent Visits
Urgent visits are scheduled throughout our normal weekday business hours.

We also have special urgent-care-only hours as follows:

  • Monday through Thursday 5:00pm to 6:45pm
  • Saturdays & Sundays from 12:00pm to 3:45pm

For urgent visits, we ask that you please call ahead.

* Please note: It is our policy that we do not approve referral requests for visits to outside urgent care centers during times that our office is open.

Holidays
We are open for urgent visits only on most Holidays. Our office is closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.