Clinical FAQs

Our Pediatric Health Library contains a wealth of information about child healthcare topics – please see this feature if you need more information or your questions is not addressed below.

How can I tell if my child has a urinary tract infection? 
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary based on the age of the child. Infants may present with irritability, fever or foul smelling urine. Older children may grab their genitals, cry and urinate more frequently in addition to those symptoms above. More verbal children often complain of burning or pain with urination. They may wet their pants or lose bladder control at night. It is important to see the doctor so that a urine test can be done to help us properly diagnose and treat this condition.

My child has trouble sleeping at night, what do I do?
A child's sleeping patterns change over the course of their life. Newborns may sleep 90 percent of a 24-hour day, but by the toddler years that amount may be cut in half. Sleep is much more fragmented at first as eating and growing are critical. Don't have expectations of an infant "sleeping through the night" for several months. Toddlers vary in their sleeping styles and may not sleep as long at night if they are still getting nap time during the day. Every child is slightly different in their sleep requirements and bedtime struggles are a commonly rooted in behavioral issues. Discuss this topic with your pediatrician. Consider picking up "Guide to Your Child's Sleep" by George Cohen, MD published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Do you have "walk-in' hours?
Yes. 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday,
8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Our walk-in clinic is primarily for sick visits. Of course, "well" and "sick" appointments are available throughout the week also.

What is a nurse practitioner?
This is a question we hear from our patients, so we would like to explain it in greater detail. A pediatric nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has acquired knowledge and clinical skills through the successful completion of a formal educational program beyond a basic nursing degree. They work in collaboration with physicians in providing both primary and acute care to children from birth to adulthood. The focus of the nurse practitioner is on health/wellness promotion, education and illness prevention. Gayle Woods has been with our practice since its beginning in 1973. She has great experience and insight, with a special interest in adolescent medicine.

How do I get prescriptions refilled?
Refills are at the discretion of your physician and will depend on the condition being treated and whether it is a routine refill for a maintenance medication or an extension of an existing treatment. Please call with questions. If a refill is authorized by your doctor we may be able to call it to a pharmacy (depending on the type of medication) or fax an authorization for a refill to the pharmacist. Please have the pharmacy name and number handy when you call. You may also request refills through our Patient Portal, which is located on this website.

Can a prescription for antibiotics be called out for my sick child over the phone?
The physicians of Johnson County Pediatrics, after much thoughtful consideration, have decided not to call out antibiotics over the phone unless the child has been seen by one of our providers in the last 24 hours. This decision is based on the increased incidence of resistent microorganisms in the community and the world at large. With the availability of urgent care services at our office, we feel that it is in the best interest of the patient to be seen by a provider before antibiotics and/or other medications are prescribed. In this way, we ensure the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your child.

Which hospitals do you attend?
We see newborns at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. We have courtesy privileges at Children's Mercy South, but utilize their on-site hospitalists to manage our patients.

What do I do when my child has a cold?
Viral upper respiratory infections account for many trips to the pediatrician's office. At any age, nasal saline, elevating the head of the bed and humidifying the air may help. Depending on other symptoms (ear pain or fever, for example) you may want to visit us for a full evaluation. Most colds start with fever and runny nose which evolves into thicker congestion and cough in later days. It may take 7-14 days to run its course. Always consider calling if you have concerns about your child's cold symptoms. Our excellent phone nurses can offer further, more detailed advice.

What do I do if my child gets a fever?
Fevers are a common occurrence in childhood and should be expected with any infectious disease. Fevers due to routine childhood illnesses will not cause harm to the child, and if the child is tolerating the elevated temperature, no therapy is needed. Oftentimes a child will look more ill when they are running a fever. If lethargic, not eating or drinking well, or seems disoriented, they should be evaluated by a physician. Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®) can be used to make a child more comfortable when they are running a temperature. Follow directions on the product or call our office with any questions regarding dosing.

When can my child return to daycare after an illness?
This will depend on the type and severity of illness and whether that illness is contagious. For most common colds the child may return when he or she is not feverish and secretions (nasal and cough) are minimal. In the case of a stomach virus it will depend on when hygiene and stooling frequency is manageable by the child or adult taking care of them. Some illnesses such as pink eye and strep throat are contagious until a defined time on antibiotics (usually 24 hours for these conditions).

I think my four-year-old is constipated. Can you give me some suggestions?
Constipation can occur from several different causes. Try to increase fiber in his diet (fruits, vegetables, bran and whole grain cereals and breads). Be sure he is not eating or drinking too many milk or cheese products. Encourage adequate water intake. Try to establish a relaxed and consistent time each day for regular bowel movements. The best time is after a meal. Try to discourage waiting too long to go to the bathroom and stool-holding. If the problem has not shown significant improvement or resolution in the next several weeks, you will need an appointment.

What should I do if my child has diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a common problem for children. It can be a symptom of infection (viral, bacterial or parasitic), a side effect of medications, or an intolerance or allergy to food. Treatment will depend on the cause of the diarrhea and may include dietary changes and monitoring for dehydration. Anti-diarrhea medications are rarely used in children. For more detail on diagnosis and treatment of diarrhea and signs of dehydration, see our Patient Handbook or give us a call.

What is the best way to introduce solid foods into my child's diet?
We generally recommend starting with infant cereal between 4 and 6 months of age. For a familiar taste, you may want to mix it with breast milk or formula. Consistency should be creamy, but not too soupy. Work through the different types (rice, oatmeal, mixed grains) of cereal. Introduce a new cereal or other food no more often than every three days. Spoon feeding is more art than science, and it may take some trial and error to get your baby to feed well. Start small with 1 or 2 tablespoons. Once the baby takes to it, you can increase the amount to a 1/4 cup or more.

Who should I see first if I think my child is depressed?
Depression can start in the teen years or even younger. Because your child will know his or her pediatrician better than any other doctor, you should certainly consider an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss this important issue. However, we do not routinely diagnose or treat mental illness. Therefore, we will likely refer you to a child psychologist or psychiatrist. We do have a list of those specialists we recommend available. Please call for further information.