Tag Archives: pediatrics

Appropriate Antibiotic Use

By Lauren S. Matthews, MD, pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice

When a child is sick, many parents go to the pediatrician thinking their little one needs an antibiotic. But antibiotics will only help certain types of illness. And using them too much can be a bad idea.

Lauren Matthews, MD

There are two major types of germs that make people sick: viruses and bacteria. While both can cause diseases with similar symptoms, the way that they multiply and spread are different.

Antibiotics are life-saving drugs that work by killing bacteria. Common bacterial infections include strep throat, whooping cough, and some pneumonias, sinus infections, and ear infections.  

Antibiotics are not needed for common illnesses like colds, most sore throats and the flu. Viruses cause these illnesses most often. Using antibiotics for viruses will not cure the infection, will not help your child feel better and will not keep others from catching the illness.  

4.1.1

Sometimes, distinguishing between a bacterial infection and a viral condition can be difficult. Many aspects of the clinical history, symptoms and signs are similar. There are guidelines to help physicians determine which seems most likely. The most common way to distinguish between a virus and bacteria is duration. Symptoms of viral illnesses generally get better after five to seven days. Symptoms that persist more than 10 days or worsen usually suggest a bacterial illness.  

Antibiotics must be used wisely to preserve their strength for future bacterial illnesses. Unfortunately, bacteria are getting smarter. Some bacteria are becoming resistant to first-line antibiotics, but we often do not know that until a child fails to get better on the initial antibiotic. In these instances, a second antibiotic may also be needed.

Long-term overuse of antibiotics results in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  These bacteria are much stronger and harder to kill. They can cause severe illnesses that may require stronger treatments and even hospitalizations.  

When your child is sick, parents and physicians want to do everything they can to help them feel better as quickly as possible, but antibiotics are not always the answer. Supportive care with over-the-counter medications that target your child’s specific symptoms may be most helpful. Pain relievers, fever reducers, warm compresses, liquids, humidifiers and plenty of rest can all help your child feel better.

And a dose of simple advice goes a long way. Make sure your children wash their hands frequently, stay up to date on immunizations, and keep them home from school when they are sick.  
 
Lexington Pediatric Practice has board-certified physicians, caring nurses and staff members who are focused on providing the best care possible for your child. The staff puts your child’s care as the top priority with kid-friendly labs, vaccines and treatments at two convenient locations in Lexington and West Columbia.


811 West Main Street, Suite 204
Lexington, SC 29072

3240 Sunset Boulevard
West Columbia, SC 29169

(803) 359-8855
LexPediatricPractice.com

Kids and Screen Time: Ten Facts Parents Should Know

By Lauren S. Matthews, MD, pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice

Lauren Matthews, MD

1. Under age 2, children develop important cognitive, language, sensorimotor, and social-emotional skills through hands-on exploration and social interaction. Media use for this age group should only occur when an adult is standing by to co-view, talk and teach.  

2. For children ages 2-5, screen time including television, computers, tablets and smartphones should be limited to no more than 1 hour per day. With too much screen time, younger children are losing out on key interactions with parents, adults, and other children necessary for development.

3. For older children and adolescents, sedentary media exposure should be limited to 2 hours per day. This recommended limit applies solely to screen time for entertainment purposes such as television, streaming services, gaming consoles and social media. Older children and adolescents are spending more time interacting with a virtual world than building face-to-face relationships.  

4. Children who watch too much television in infancy and preschool years can show delays in attention, thinking, language and social skills. High levels of media use are linked to obesity and cardiovascular risks as early as childhood. And, there is a well-studied association between violent content on television and behavior problems. So, parents should also monitor content.   

5. Identify certain areas in the house as “tech-free” zones. Bedrooms should be screen-free areas because increased media exposure there is linked to fewer minutes of sleep per night and puts children at an increased risk for sleep disturbances. And, meal times and parent-child play times should be “unplugged.”  

6. Find an activity your child enjoys and involve the entire family. Unplugged and offline playtime encourages creativity. Make this type of playtime a daily priority. Parents should join in the activities.  

7. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers parents the opportunity to develop an interactive family media use plan that aligns with your family values and parenting styles. This type of plan can be helpful so that children and parents have specific expectations of media time. Visit aap.org to learn more.

8. Parent media use is a strong predictor of child media habits. Reducing parental television viewing and enhancing parent-child interactions can be an important opportunity for emotional connection and the early development of language, cognition, social skills, and emotional regulation.  
 
 9. An increase in screen time has been identified as a leading contributor to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. Limiting screen time encourages physical activity. Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.  

10. Not all screen time is “bad.” High-quality educational programs can help improve cognitive, language, and social outcomes. For families that find it difficult to modify overall amount of media use in their homes, changing to high-quality content may be a more reasonable alternative. When using apps and games, find options that truly engage the child rather than just swiping or staring at the screen.  
 
Lexington Pediatric Practice has board-certified physicians, caring nurses and staff members who are focused on providing the best care possible for your child. The staff puts your child’s care as the top priority with kid-friendly labs, vaccines and treatments at two convenient locations in Lexington and West Columbia.


811 West Main Street, Suite 204
Lexington, SC 29072

3240 Sunset Boulevard
West Columbia, SC 29169
(803) 359-8855
LexPediatricPractice.com

The HPV Vaccine

The human papillomavirus, known as HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in males and females. It’s also linked to cervical, mouth and throat cancer. In fact, HPV causes 70% of cervical cancers.

Patients should receive three injections over six months, ideally before their first sexual encounter. That’s why clinicians recommend the vaccine for 11 and 12 year olds.

Dr. Lauren Matthews of Lexington Pediatric Practice, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, explains more about the HPV vaccine in this WLTX interview.


Dr. Matthews joined Lexington Medical Center recently. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina in Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, Lauren S. Matthews, MD, earned her Doctor of Medicine from USC and completed her residency in Columbia.

Dr. Matthews also served as chief resident at USC, acting as a liaison between residents and the program director, coordinating resident schedules, attending operational committee meetings and participating in an organizational leadership series. Additionally, she collaborated with senior residents and interns on the development of a mentoring program and served as chair of
the Pediatric Residency Recruitment Committee. A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and South Carolina Medical Association, she has additional certifications in neonatal resuscitation and pediatric advanced
 life support.

Dr. Matthews joins the board-certified physicians and nurse practitioner at Lexington Pediatric Practice to offer a full range of child-health services, including routine checkups, vaccinations, diagnostic services and minor procedures. As the first pediatric practice in the town of Lexington, Lexington Pediatric Practice has served the community for more than 20 years.