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Paediatric Medicine Specialist Doctor
Specialist doctors that focus on the physical, mental, emotional, social and developmental health of children are called paediatricians. This specialist doctor will provide medical care for newborns (babies) up to 18-year-old adolescents.
Procedures that can be performed by paediatricians range from preventive procedures to treatment of acute and chronic diseases in children.
Specialties in Paediatric Medicine
Paediatricians have a deeper understanding of medical specialties related to children’s health. Paediatric medicine are divided into 14 sub-specialties, namely:
This paediatrician has the ability to deal with the condition of newborns. Babies who are born prematurely or have congenital defects are usually treated by perinatologists.
- Gastroenterology and Haepatology
This paediatrician treat health problems surrounding the digestive system and liver of children. Paediatric gastroenterology and haepatology specialists commonly handle problems such as gastric problems, chronic diarrhoea, gastrointestinal bleeding, bowel disorders, and hepatitis.
Medical issues related to children’s nerves such as seizures, epilepsy, and nerve infections can be treated by a paediatric neurologist. This specialist doctor can also treat disorders that have to do with children’s development, such as autism, cerebral palsy, and early motor delays.
Similar to adult cardiologists, paediatric cardiologists also treat problems surrounding the heart and blood vessels. This specialist doctor also has a better understanding on how a child’s heart works and how it can help reduce the risk of heart disease when they grow older.
Paediatric pulmonologists have the experience and qualifications to treat numerous health problems related to breathing and lung diseases. Problems commonly encountered by children include asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and upper respiratory tract infections.
Growth problems in children may occur due to hormonal disorders. Paediatric endocrinologists have a deep understanding of the effects of hormones in children. In general, some hormonal disorders in children and adolescents include growth problems (stunting), obesity, diabetes, thyroid, puberty, or growth hormone deficiency.
- Haematology and Oncology
Paediatricians who study this medical specialty have a deep understanding of treating health problems surrounding blood and malignant diseases such as cancer.
This paediatrician focuses on treating the kidneys and urinary tract. Some of the commonly-treated diseases include nephrotic syndrome, urinary tract infections, kidney failure, as well as those that require medical procedures like dialysis and kidney transplantation.
- Paediatric/Tropical Infection
This specialist doctor deals with variations of infection-related problems. Generally, this doctor handles cases of dengue fever to intestinal worms.
- Allergy and Immunology
Paediatricians who specialise in allergy and immunology excel in dealing with allergy and immune problems–from numerous child allergy problems to congenital AIDS (from parents).
- Nutrition and Metabolism
This specialist doctor was formerly known as a nutrition specialist. However, since the specialty has developed into dealing with inborn errors of metabolism, it is now known as a specialist in metabolic nutrition.
- Social Paediatric
This type of specialty is arguably the basis of everything that is related to paediatric medicine. Social paediatricians deal with child development in all aspects, particularly those related to how children interact socially — starting from how to prevent diseases, maintaining relationships with family, dealing with social interactions between children and the environment. The problems related range from immunisation, handling cases of child abuse, drug abuse, child exploitation, to cases of refugee children. Social paediatrics generally have two degrees, medical and psychology.
- Paediatric Emergency
Emergency paediatricians handle emergency situations such as a child choking on foreign objects, having difficulty breathing, injury from falling or being hit, to post-surgery problems.
- Paediatric Imaging
Since the physiology of children is different from adults, the imaging paediatrician is responsible for all imaging procedures performed on children such as ultrasound, CT scan, and X-rays.
The Scope of Paediatric Medicine
Some parents entrust their child’s developmental evaluation to a paediatrician, especially for children who require special treatment such as premature babies or children with congenital diseases.
The paediatrician’s scope of work is actually quite broad as they have the capability to examine and treat patients aged 0-18 years. Patients within this age range should be treated by paediatricians because they have a different body structure, shape and size compared to adults.
The kind of medical work that a paediatrician can handle include:
- Evaluating children’s growth and development
- Performing early detection of disorders that slow children’s growth and development.
- Providing education about the importance of safety, lifestyle and how to breastfeed children to parents
- Managing and monitoring the condition of premature babies
- Examining and providing diagnosis of childhood diseases.
- Treating variants of disorders and diseases that can affect children, such as nutritional problems, physical injuries, infections, autoimmune disorders, and genetic disorders.
- Treating mental and physical disorders that may potentially slow children’s growth and development.
- Recommending further treatment if the child’s health problem requires action from other specialists or surgeons
Diseases That Are Treated by Paediatricians
As a specialist doctor in paediatric medicine, the medical issues treated by paediatricians are not only physical but also mental and psychological.
The following are commonly-treated diseases by a paediatrician:
- Intestinal Worms
- Dengue fever
- Anxiety disorders
- Skin infection
- Respiratory tract infection
- Ear infection
Medical Procedures That Can Be Performed By a Paediatrician
In addition to conducting examinations and providing diagnosis to children, paediatricians also have a role in guiding parents to care and pay attention to their children’s growth and development.
A paediatrician must pay attention to all the factors and limitations that are suited to the child’s condition. This generally begins with an evaluation and diagnosis, then followed by a recommended treatment plan. In particular, determining the suitable treatment for the physiological condition of a child.
Below are some medical procedures that a paediatrician can perform:
- Performing physical examination and tracing the child’s medical history, starting from the pregnancy to delivery period as well as the most recent condition of the mother.
- In addition to examining the completion of immunisations, paediatricians can also provide injections related to medication or vaccines.
- Recommending child care, either outpatient or inpatient.
- Monitoring the process of care and treatment suited to the child’s diagnosis and needs.
- In an emergency situation, paediatricians can also provide medical assistance (e.g. breathing problems and seizures)
- Providing a simple explanation of the child’s medical condition along with treatment recommendations to parents
When to See a Paediatrician
Since children are more physically vulnerable compared to adults, it is recommended that you immediately take your child to see a paediatrician if they start to show unusual symptoms. You need to be cautious if your child cries continuously, does not speak at all, is not responding, or is not as active as usual. This is particularly important especially for infants and toddlers.
Below are some symptoms that would require a paediatrician’s attention:
- Mild to high fever.
- Recurrent vomiting or diarrhoea.
- Coughs and colds that won’t go away — this may potentially irritate the respiratory tract.
- Painful urination.
- The presence of a skin rash
- Child developmental problems.
- Premature babies
- Indications of allergies such as itchy or shortness of breath.
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