April 2018
This Month's Newsletter
The sun is shining and the flowers are blooming! Spring is here.

This month's newsletter includes information on allergies and how to tell the difference between an allergy and a cold. We also discuss stomachaches and what they could mean. Finally, in recognition of National Volunteer Month, we provide an article on the incredible health benefits of volunteering for children and adults and how to get started.

Our goal is to further develop our relationship with our patients and create an open forum. We welcome your comments and ideas. If you would like to see something included in this newsletter, please email us at pedcenter.com@gmail.com  with ideas only, please no medical requests.

As always, we welcome you to share your experience with our practitioners with an online review. 

The Pediatric Center Staff
Allergies - Here They Come
by Dr. Emily Shih

Spring is technically in full bloom in New Jersey. Although the allergy season will be shortened this year from the extended winter, the beautiful blooming trees and flowers will soon start to cause havoc.nose_blow_hanky.jpg 

Are your eyes itchy? Is your nose stuffy?
Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a cold or Spring allergies. It may be difficult to differentiate between the two completely because there is an overlap in symptoms.
Colds and upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. Spring allergies, however, are caused by the body's release of histamine by the immune system when exposed to pollen.
Similarities between allergies and colds:
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Fatigue, sore throat, and cough - although these symptoms are more often associated with a cold
  • Spring allergies cause itchy/watery eyes
  • Allergies are more chronic and can last longer
Colds/Viral Infections 
  • A fever is more indicative of a viral infection
  • Colds last about 1-2 weeks
  • Upper respiratory infections are treated with rest and fluids
If your child has allergy-like symptoms each spring, it is suggestive of an allergy to pollen.
How to improve allergy symptoms
There are interventions that can help improve your allergy symptoms:
  • Shower/bathe each evening after being outside to wash off any fine pollen
  • Close the windows of cars or any rooms where the allergy sufferer spends significant time
  • Use HEPA filters to help reduce some allergens
  • Watch the pollen counts and consider indoor activities if the pollen count is high
  • Apply cool compresses to relieve itchy, watery eyes
  • Leave your shoes at the door
  • Wipe down your pet's coat when returning home to prevent bringing extra pollen into the house
  • Wear sunglasses outside to help protect eyes from pollen
There are medications, if needed, to help with symptoms. Over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays may help reduce symptoms. Allergy eye drops may help with itchy, watery eyes.  
Many people benefit from daily medication throughout the spring season, from mid-March through July 4th. There are more treatment options by prescription only that can help your child feel more comfortable. 
Our practioners can help you determine whether your child has an allergy or a cold and suggest the right treatment regimen to help you manage your child's symptoms. Simply make an appointment to review your child's individual situation and develop a plan of care.
What Does A Stomachache Mean?
Stomachaches in children and teens can happen for a variety of reasons-not uncommonly, to stall at bedtime. Or perhaps they're trying to avoid school. Or maybe mom-daughter-field.jpg their "eyes were bigger than their stomach" and they ate too much for dinner.

Recurrent abdominal pain  (often simply called stomachache) is common but luckily usually not serious in children. In some cases, no physical cause can be found, and the pain is termed functional or nonspecific pain, possibly related to emotional stress. At times, spasms in the digestive tract may cause pain. A crying child may swallow gas, which can cause abdominal discomfort. What's essential to remember is that the pain can be real, even though there is no obvious cause.

Other Causes of Stomachaches:
  • Constipation , although rarely a problem in younger babies, is more common in older children.
  • Urinary tract infections are more common in 1 to 5-year-old girls than in younger children and cause discomfort in the abdomen and bladder area.
  • Strep throat is a throat infection caused by bacteria (streptococci), with symptoms that include a sore throat, fever, and abdominal pain.
  • Appendicitis is very uncommon in children younger than 5 years; the first sign is a complaint of constant stomachache in the center of the abdomen, which later moves down and over to the right side.
  • Milk allergy , a reaction to the protein in milk, produces cramping abdominal pain.
  • Lactose intolerance is when the body lacks the enzyme needed to break down lactose in milk and other milk products. Lactose intolerance is different from a milk allergy and is more common in African American and Asian children. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea or constipation, increased gassiness, and cramping abdominal pain.
  • Emotional upset, particularly in school-aged children, may cause recurrent abdominal pain that seems to have no other cause.
  • Inflammatory bowel disorders or irritable bowel disease (IBD) u sually affects older children or teens and young adults.
When to Call Your Pediatrician:
Abdominal pain that comes on suddenly or persists may require prompt attention, especially if your child has additional symptoms, such as a change in his bowel pattern, vomiting, fever (temperature of 100.4°F or higher), sore throat, or headache. Even when no physical cause can be found, the child's distress is genuine and should receive appropriate attention.

If a child, regardless of age, should experience recurrent abdominal pain, the parent should contact the office.

Call Your Pediatrician ASAP If:
  • Your baby is younger than 1 year and shows signs of stomach pain (for example, legs pulled up toward the abdomen, unusual crying, vomiting)
  • If your child aged 4 years or younger has recurrent stomachaches; or if abdominal pain awakes him or stops him from getting to sleep.
  • Other "red flag symptoms" include:
- weight loss
- decreased appetite
- abdominal pain interferes with your child's ability to play &  normal activities
- bloody diarrhea
- severe abdominal pain where the child cannot get comfortable

If a child, regardless of age, is experiencing recurrent abdominal pain, the parent should contact our office and make an appointment with one of our doctors. 

Source: HealthyChildren.org
Health Benefits of Volunteering
You can never be too young to volunteer. In addition to helping others in need, volunteering can have incredible health benefits and be extremely rewarding. It gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment knowing you have made a difference in someone's life. And, it's never too early to start.

April is National Volunteer Month and a great opportunity to get involved with your community. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, "t he intangible benefits alone-such as pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment-are worthwhile reasons to serve." They highlight the benefits to volunteering including:
  • Problem solving
  • Strengthening your community 
  • Improving lives
  • Connecting to others
  • Giving you a sense of purpose
  • Transforming your own life
In addition, "over  the past two decades we have also seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social ones. This research, which is presented by CNCS in a report titled " The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research ," has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer."

Parents.com offers 10 ways for young children to get involved in volunteering:
  1. Donate food to a food pantry. Have your child pick out one item each time you go to the store. When you get a bagful, take it to a local food pantry.
  2. Walk to fight disease. Many organizations use walks to increase awareness and raise funds. Kids 5 and up can walk a few miles, and you can push little ones in a stroller.
  3. Put together activity boxes. If your child is a preschooler, decorate shoe boxes and fill them with a deck of cards, small games, and puzzle books for kids at the local hospital.
  4. Visit a nursing home. Your family can be matched with one person to call on regularly.
  5. Clean up. Pick up litter at a local park or while you take a walk in the neighborhood. (Wear gloves and supervise your children closely.)
  6. Befriend an individual with a disability. Call a residential treatment center for the developmentally disabled in your area and ask to be matched with an adult whom you can include in family events, holiday activities, and outings. The center will select someone who can interact well with young children.
  7. Deliver meals. You and your child can bring both hot food and companionship to home bound people through a local charity food service.
  8. Offer a lift. Take your kids along to drive elderly people or patients to their medical appointments, or take nursing-home residents or isolated seniors to the grocery store or to visit friends.
  9. Share story-time. Read your child's favorite books to children in the hospital. She can sit next to you and turn the pages.
  10. Be kind to animals. Volunteer to care for abandoned dogs or cats.
The benefits to volunteering are immense. You can start small with a one-time deed or plan an on-going commitment. Make the experience fun by teaming up with friends or involving the whole family.  It can become less of a work commitment and more of a bonding experience.
On-Site Lactation Support Center
The Pediatric Center's on-site Lactation Support Center led by our own Director of Lactation Support, Clare Cardo McKegney, DNP, APN, CPNP, is here to support you in breastfeeding your child. Dr. McKegney is a board certified pediatric nurse practitioner and certified breastfeeding counselor with over 18 years of advanced practice in pediatrics. 

Our modern and private on-site lactation suite provides a warm and relaxed environment for the mother and infant to enjoy a positive breastfeeding experience. 

We also offer a free prenatal class every month, open to the public. 

To schedule your lactation consultation, attend our free prenatal class or make an appointment please call us at 908-508-0400.

Patient Portal
The Pediatric Center's patient portal provides personal access  to your family's  medical records. 

You can access information such as immunization records, visit summaries, request appointments, view dates for upcoming appointments and pay your bill.

Sign up is quick from our website. Click here.
Do You Need A Pediatric Specialist?
If you are in search of a pediatric specialist, please know we are here to guide you.

We have a wide network of doctors we can refer to ensure you are in good hands.

We specialize in developmental & behavioral health and focus on positive parenting practices. We can offer guidance on depression, eating disorders, developmental concerns and many other issues.

You are not alone. 
Please call to make an appointment to meet with one of our physicians:  
The Pediatric Center Online Bill Pay
Online Bill Payment
The Pediatric Center offers the ease and convenience of online bill baby_laptopbuying.jpg payment.   

Simply visit our " Bill Payment & Insurance" page on our website. 

Payments Over The Phone
If you prefer, you can still make a payment over the phone by calling The Pediatric Center's billing department, HealthCare Billing, Inc:  
Toll Free:  877-852-9092  or
Local:  908-237-9092
Vaccine Education Center

Did you know our website includes a Vaccine Education Center where you can find the immunization schedule for your child?


Reminder - we are offering the new meningitis vaccine Trumenba in our office. Insurance companies have started to cover this vaccine. It is recommended it be administered to all students starting college as part of their pre-college physical.


View all the details here.

We Love Your Feedback!

Your feedback is very important to us! We would love to hear about your positive experience with our doctors and nurse practitioners.  


Did you know you can write and post a review right on our website? Click here.


You can use this page to provide feedback, kudos, or just share thoughts. 


Thank you for your kind words!

Free Prenatal Class
We offer a free prenatal class on the 3rd Thursday of every month with our own
Dr. McKegney!
Click here to learn more.
It's A Partnership
Resources for breastfeeding, immunization schedules, what to do if your child is sick, online references & much more! Click here.
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Announcements will also be posted on the home page of our website under "What's New".

The Pediatric Center

556 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974



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