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About Pediatricians

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Pediatrics is a branch of medicine dealing with diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative aspects of children’s health. Pediatricians are medical doctors who practice pediatric medicine. Pediatricians' training and clinical experience qualify them to provide multiple medical services to infants, children, and adolescents. Most children first see a pediatrician within 3-5 days after birth and continue to do so until 17-18. Pediatric medicine is technically a subspecialty of primary care.

Pediatricians provide medical services like:
Routine or annual check-ups (also known as well visits)
Acute care for injuries or illness
Lab testing (usually blood or urine tests to screen for internal health conditions)
Physical, mental, and behavioral development consultations
General health and wellness guidance
Immunizations
Speech therapy (when appropriate)
Behavioral/ developmental treatment (when applicable)

Education and Training

To become a pediatrician, candidates must undergo over a decade of schooling and clinical training. In addition, before becoming board-certified, a pediatrician must:

  • Complete a four-year undergraduate degree featuring pre-medical courses like biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus.
  • Complete four years of medical school with a full course load and clinical rotation experience (time spent as a member of a medical team)
  • Complete a three-year residency providing primary and intensive care for children of all ages (newborns to adolescents)

Common Pediatric Conditions

Pediatricians have the training and clinical experience to treat hundreds of acute and chronic conditions, ranging from illnesses (like the common cold) to behavior disorders (like ADHD).

Acute conditions treated by pediatricians include:

  • The common cold/ flu
  • Sore throat/ strep throat
  • Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections (like impetigo)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Sinus infections
  • Bladder infections (UTIs)
  • Chickenpox

Chronic conditions treated by pediatricians include:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity

Developmental disorders treated by pediatricians include:

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders: including autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Sensory Processing Disorders (SPDs)
  • Learning Disabilities: including dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Language and Speech Delays/Disorders: including apraxia of speech, stuttering, or receptive language disorders
  • Down Syndrome

Immunizations

In addition to diagnosing and treating various acute, chronic, and developmental conditions, pediatricians ensure a child’s protection from certain diseases with a series of immunizations. Immunizations vaccinate a child against infections that can seriously affect their health, growth, and life.

Several immunizations are required by law before a child can attend public schooling. These include:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (known as TDaP)
  • Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine
  • Poliovirus vaccine
  • Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine

For more information, check out the CDC’s childhood immunization schedule.

Preventative Medicine

Pediatricians provide preventative care for children of all ages. Preventative care includes routine health check-ups, immunizations, screenings for development and growth, and overall monitoring of a child's physical and emotional well-being. Preventative care is essential to catch any issues early on before they become more serious problems. It also helps to promote healthy habits that can last a lifetime, such as proper nutrition, exercise, and hygiene. Pediatricians also offer advice on things like safety measures at home. A pediatrician will also work with parents to diagnose any child's allergies.

Common childhood allergies include:

  • Milk allergies (includes products like yogurt, ice cream, cheese, or butter)
  • Egg allergies
  • Peanut allergies
  • Tree nut allergies (includes walnuts, cashews, almonds, or pistachios)
  • Wheat allergies

Childhood Obesity and Pediatrics

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. The CDC estimates that about 14.7 million children were affected by obesity between 2017 and 2020. Pediatricians help combat this epidemic by offering treatment solutions and healthy lifestyle adjustments.

To diagnose obesity, pediatricians will calculate a child’s body mass index (BMI) and compare that figure to the recommended BMI for children of that age. If a child’s BMI is in the 85-94th percentile, that child is considered overweight. If their BMI is 95% or higher, that child has obesity. When diagnosing obesity, a pediatrician will also consider familial and developmental factors, like body frame.

Booking Pediatric Care on Sesame

With an extensive network of pediatricians and primary care physicians in New York, Sesame offers convenient in-person and video consultations (often with same-day availability) near you.

How to schedule an appointment:

  • Search "Pediatrician" in Sesame’s search bar
  • Explore the list of nearby service providers
  • Choose from video or in-person services
  • Choose a time that best accommodates your schedule
  • Book your visit!

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