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About Pediatricians

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Pediatrics Basics

Pediatrics is a branch of medicine that deals explicitly with the diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative of children’s health. Most children first see a pediatrician within 3-5 days after their birth and continue to do so until they are 17-18 years old. Pediatric medicine is technically a subspecialty of primary care–the cornerstone of health care for patients of all ages.

Pediatricians, like other primary care providers, are usually the first point of contact for a patient to the greater health care system. You (and your child) will generally see a pediatrician before seeing any medical specialist.

Pediatricians have over a decade of education and clinical experience to diagnose and treat various conditions, illnesses, and injuries. A pediatrician won’t just provide acute care for medical issues; they also will monitor a child's development as they grow up.

Common reasons to see a pediatrician

As a form of primary care, pediatrics serve as the initial contact for patients in the health care system. It is common for parents to take their children to a pediatrician before seeing a specialist. These medical providers also offer comprehensive care that will track the overall wellness of a child and prevent possible medical issues from occurring.

Some of the most common reasons to see a pediatrician include:

Well visits: Well visits–also known as well-child visits–are routine checkups that monitor a child's development and assess the child’s overall well-being. Well-child visits are crucial in preventive health care, measuring a child's growth, tracking developmental progress, and receiving medical advice that assists with the child's wellness.

Immunizations: Often performed during an annual well visit, immunizations protect a child from various diseases. At about 1-2 months, a child should start a vaccination schedule to immunize them against polio, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, pneumococcal, rotavirus, and more. For more information about a child’s vaccination schedule, refer to the CDC’s guidelines.

Ear infections: Ear infections are among children's most common forms of illness. Bacteria and viruses find their way into the middle ear. These are often secondary after a cold, flu, or sinus infection. A pediatrician can examine the affected ear for signs of an underlying cause and prescribe medication when necessary.

Sore throat: Viral or bacterial infections commonly cause sore throats. Viral infections, like the common cold and the flu, are the most common causes of a sore throat. Strep throat is the most common bacterial infection of the throat, which affects 1 in 10 adults and 3 in 10 children every year. Other serious illnesses involving a sore throat include tonsillitis and mononucleosis. A pediatrician will diagnose and treat the condition with over-the-counter therapies or prescription medication.

Developmental concerns: Pediatricians track a child’s growth and development. This includes physical, mental, and behavioral development. A pediatric doctor will work with parents to understand what developmental milestones to look for as the child grows up and what to do if those milestones aren’t being hit.

Nutritional guidance/ preventative medicine: Pediatric obesity is an epidemic in the United States. The CDC estimates that 19.7% of children in the US have obesity. The Obesity Action Coalition estimates that figure at 30% of children. A pediatrician will work with parents to help ensure a child establishes healthy eating and activity habits. This medical advice can help prevent complications like diabetes.

Pediatric specialties

In addition to their primary care training, pediatricians can undergo advanced training in a number of clinical specialties to perform specific modalities of care.

Pediatric subspecialties include:

  • Pediatric urgent care: Pediatric urgent care specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of non-emergency medical issues in children
  • Neonatology: The care of infants before and after birth
  • Developmental & behavioral pediatrics: Care of children with developmental and behavioral disorders
  • Child abuse pediatrics: Care of children who may be victims of abuse or neglect
  • Pediatric cardiologists: Care for children with heart ailment
  • Pediatric endocrinologists: Health care for children with hormonal disorders and disorders of the endocrine system, including diabetes
  • Pediatric gastroenterologists: Care for children with gastrointestinal disorders
  • Pediatric oncologists: Care for children with cancer
  • Pediatric orthopedists: Care for children with musculoskeletal problems
  • Pediatric neurologists: Care for children with neurological disorders
  • Pediatric nephrologists: Care for children with conditions related to the kidney and urinary tract
  • Pediatric pulmonologists: Care for children with conditions related to the lungs and respiratory system
  • Pediatric urologists: Care for children with conditions related to the urinary tract and genitals
  • Pediatric rheumatologists: Care for children with disorders such as acute arthritis and chronic rheumatoid arthritis

A primary care provider–like a general pediatrician–will offer a referral to a pediatric specialist if they determine that your child requires specialized care. In some cases, you may not be able to see a specialist without a referral from a primary care pediatrician.

Pediatrics vs. Family Care

Pediatrics is a form of primary care. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines primary care as “a model of care that supports first-contact, accessible, continuous, comprehensive coordinated person-focused care.” In other words, primary care works directly with the individual patient on their whole health picture. Pediatrics offer this patient-first primary care to children from infancy to adolescence.

Family care providers also provide primary care but do so for all family members regardless of age or gender.

Pediatricians and family care providers offer preventive services such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, screenings for diseases like cancer, and diagnosis and treatment for acute illnesses like colds or flu.

In sum, family care providers offer primary care for all family members, while pediatricians focus their practice on children up through the age of 18.

Pediatricians in Los Angeles

Whether you are looking for a routine check-up for your kid or they are having symptoms that need attention, Sesame has you covered. With pediatricians and primary care providers across Los Angeles County, Sesame offers convenient in-person and video appointments near you (often with same-day availability).

Here’s how to book a visit:

  • Search “Pediatrician” in Sesame’s search bar
  • Browse the list of available providers near you
  • Choose between video and in-person services
  • Pick a time that works best for your schedule
  • Book your visit!

Providers on Sesame list their prices upfront, so you see the price you pay. No hidden fees or surprise charges. Sesame works directly with providers–not insurance companies–so you never need to worry about whether or not a provider is out-of-network or if you will have to pay an exorbitant premium. Again, the price listed on the site is the price you will pay upfront for your care.

Don’t wait to set up an appointment. Book a visit on Sesame and save up to 60% on your child’s care.

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