Introduction to children's health:

Children's health, or pediatric medicine, focuses on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. It is vitally concerned with all aspects of children's growth and development aiming the unique opportunity that each child has to achieve their full potential as a healthy adult.
Children's health was once a subset of adult medicine. In the 19th and early 20th century, people recognized pediatrics as a medical specialty because of the gradual awareness that the health problems of children are different from those of adults. It was also recognized that a child's response to illness, medications, and the environment depends upon the age of the child.

Health Clinic for children:

Pediatric Clinic or Children’s Clinic is a comprehensive pediatric practice designed to meet the needs of the sick and healthy child.
It is important to emphasize that children are not simply small adults and should not be treated as such. Child health care and the specialty of Pediatrics are concerned with providing optimal and appropriate care to all children. The specialty of Pediatrics has expanded its role to include not only young children and adolescents but young adults also.

Pediatrics & Pediatrician:

Pediatrics is the branch of medicine dealing with the health and medical care of infants, children, and adolescents from birth up to the age of 18. The word “pediatrics” means “healer of children”. Abraham Jacobi is known as the father of pediatrics.

Pediatricians are medical doctors that work with other health care workers, nurses, and other physicians to diagnose and treat children with various ailments, from common colds or earaches to disorders, such as muscular dystrophy. While some pediatricians may specialize in serious medical conditions in children or pediatric surgery, most act as general practitioners. They most commonly treat common illnesses, chronic infections, and diseases in young children.

Importance of Pediatricians:

Pediatricians play an important part in the healthcare field, as well as the health and wellness of children. Medical testing and treatment methods for young children and teen differ greatly from those used for adults, which brings the need for different types of doctors.
Pediatricians provide care from birth to early adulthood and specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of illnesses, disorders, or ailments that occur specifically in infants, children, and teenagers.
Pediatricians typically track and record their patients’ medical records, histories, and growth until they are about 18 years of age.

What does a Pediatrician do?

Providing physical, mental and emotional care for their patients, pediatricians are concerned with the health of infants, children, and teenagers. They perform diagnostic tests to obtain information about the patient's medical condition and administer treatments, therapies, medications, and vaccinations to treat illness, disorders or injuries. They also treat children who are suffering from minor injuries, acute and chronic health problems, and physiological and psychological growth and developmental concerns. Pediatricians counsel and guide children and their parents or guardians concerning diet, hygiene and disease prevention.

Difference between adult and pediatric medicine:

A common agenda in the medical field is that ‘children are not simply little adults.’ In other words, there are significant differences between treating adults and children. The smaller body size and less mature internal organs of an infant or child are physiologically substantially different. These variances can present congenital deficiencies or defects and developmental issues very specific to young patients. A pediatrician’s interpretation of symptoms, diagnosis, and prescribing of medications and other treatments are all influenced by the age of the patient.
The fact that the pediatrician’s patients often cannot independently advocate or make decisions adds another aspect to pediatric practice: that of communicating with parents and family; and considering the concerns of potentially many people, not only the patient.

Can Pediatrician treat adults?

Pediatric training is composed of four years of medical school and a minimum of three years of residency in pediatrics. The discipline is a very specialized one and its practitioners are specially qualified to treat babies, toddlers, children, and adolescents up to the age of 18, perhaps as old as 21. Unless they are trained in both pediatrics and adult medicine, it is rare for pediatricians to step outside of their specialty to treat adults.

Treatments handled by pediatricians:

10 Common Childhood Illnesses and Their Treatments:

​​​1. Sore Throat:
Sore throats are common in children and can be painful.
Strep cannot be accurately diagnosed by simply looking at the throat.
Babies and toddlers rarely get it strep throat.

2. Ear Pain:
Ear pain is common in children and can have many causes.
Amoxicillin is the preferred antibiotic for middle ear infections.
Many true ear infections are caused by viruses and do not require antibiotics.

3. Urinary Tract Infection:
Bladder infections, also called urinary tract infections or UTIs occur when ­bacteria build up in the urinary tract.
Your child's doctor will need a urine sample to test for a UTI before determining treatment.

4. Skin Infection:
In most children with skin infections, a skin test (culture or swab) may be needed to determine the most appropriate treatment.

5. Bronchitis:
Chronic bronchitis is an infection of the larger, more central airways in the lungs and is more often seen in adults.

6. Bronchiolitis:
Bronchiolitis is common in infants and young children during the cold and flu season.
Bronchiolitis is most often caused by a virus, which does not require antibiotics.

7. Pain:
The best medicines for pain relief for children are acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Narcotic pain medications are not appropriate for children with common injuries or complaints such as the sprained ankle, ear pain, or sore throats.

8. Common Cold:
Colds are caused by viruses in the upper respiratory tract.
Green mucus in the nose does not automatically mean that antibiotics are needed; common colds never need antibiotics.

9. Bacterial Sinusitis:
Bacterial sinusitis is caused by bacteria trapped in the sinuses.
Antibiotics may be needed.

10. Cough:
Coughs are usually caused by viruses and do not often require antibiotics.
Cough medicine is not recommended for children 4 years of age and younger, or for children 4 to 6 years of age unless advised by your doctor.

Pediatricians take an active role in the development of children. A pediatrician is a physician who provides medical care to children from birth to early adulthood (usually until about the age of 18). Pediatricians diagnose and treat medical conditions and also provide preventative care (e.g., immunizations, wellness exams). They focus on improving overall health, reducing childhood mortality, controlling the spread of infectious diseases, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Kris Nwokeji was born in Austin, in the state of Texas to Nigerian parents. His parents' relocation to the motherland and his incessant thirst to help children brought him to medical school at Abia State University at the young age of 16.