My Blog - Children's Medical Center

Posts for: March, 2020

As the cases of coronavirus increase across the country, many families are asking, ‘how do I know if I have it or not?” Many of the symptoms (fever, chills, body aches and cough) are similar to that of the cold or flu. However, there are differences and that is what’s key to pay attention to as you monitor your family’s health. Let’s break down each one:

The Common Cold

A cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system that can be caused by more than 200 different viruses. Colds are contagious and can be passed to others with an incubation period of 1-7 days. It typically lasts 7-10 days depending on the strain. The most common symptoms of a cold are a runny and/or stuffy nose without a fever. Treatments include rest, fluids, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and over-the-counter medications.

Influenza or The Flu

The flu is also a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, but it can also infect the lower respiratory system. It is highly contagious with an incubation period of about 1-4 days and can last 5-14 days depending on its severity. Common symptoms of influenza are mild to high ever, headaches, cough, fatigue, body aches or pain. The flu can become severe causing pneumonia which could be fatal to some people. Treatment of the flu includes rest, fluids, acetaminophen and if caught early, an antiviral drug like Tamiflu.

Coronavirus or COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a relatively new type or strand of coronavirus that effects the upper respiratory system, and in some cases the lower respiratory system. It is extremely contagious spreading from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing. The incubation period is about 14 days, however there may be zero symptoms for the majority of the incubation period. Symptoms include cough, high fever and shortness of breath. The shortness of breath is the symptom that stands out from the cold and the flu. People with weakened immune systems can develop severe respiratory problems or kidney failure that may lead to death. A lab test is needed to confirm COVID-19. Current treatment of COVID-19 include rest, fluids, acetaminophen and respiratory support if symptoms become severe.  As of March 23, an antiviral drug to treat COVID-19 is not confirmed, but there are 4 treatments in the testing phase.

Our highest priority is the safety of you and all of our patients. If you are concerned that you may have coronavirus, please call us before coming into a Children’s Medical Center location.

Palm Harbor (727) 787-6335

West Chase (813) 891-6501

Trinity (727) 376-8404

Lutz (813) 751-3131


The rate of development is different for everyone. Many children are ready to start trying solid foods when they have at least doubled their weight since birth — typically between 4-6 months of age. This is when a baby should have developed the enzymes needed for proper digestion.

A few ways to determine if your child is ready for solids include:

  • Holds their head up on their own
  • Ability to sit up without assistance
  • Shows an interest in your food
  • Opens their mouth when food comes near
  • Can move the food from a spoon to their throat with their tongue

What type of food should you start with for babies?

Single-grain baby cereals are a popular first food, but you can start with vegetables or fruit as well. The order does not matter. What’s important is that the food is soft enough to be broken down with a baby’s gums and not a choking hazard. This is why purees and cereals are a good starting point. Just be sure they are blended until smooth and runny enough to go down easy.

When can your baby try other solid foods?

It’s recommended to start with just one food at a time. Allow your child to have just one solid food for 3-5 days before adding a new one to their diet. This allows you to be able to monitor how they react to the food, if they can tolerate it, and ensure they are not allergic. If your child experiences diarrhea, rash, or vomiting, stop feeding that food to your child and consult with your doctor.

How to feed solids to a baby?

Starting with a teaspoon or less is recommended. If they’re not interested, you can try adding in a little bit of breast milk or formula. In the beginning, most of the food will likely end up on your baby’s face, in the chair or on the floor. Don’t get frustrated. Pay attention to your child’s cues — don’t force it. Talk to your baby, stay positive, make it fun and eventually day-by-day they will gradually get more in their mouth and even swallow.

We say this often, but family mealtime is so important for children and their development. This is where they learn from you, process what you’re doing, pick up on your eating habits and create their own.

If you have any questions about your child’s nutrition or concerns about what food they should be eating, call Children’s Medical Center. Our number one focus is your child’s health.


Kids are notorious for being picky eaters. Don’t worry, this is a natural part of a child’s development. How can you ensure your child is getting the nutrients they need when they refuse to eat? Here are 5 tips to help:

1. Set times

Creating set times for meals and snacks allows you to establish a routine for you and your children. It also helps to cut back on grazing throughout the day which could lead to skipping meals or not being hungry at mealtime. Mealtime is the ideal opportunity to model good eating habits to your kids. When they see you eat a variety of foods or try something new, your child pays attention and chances are they’ll want to try it too.

2. Let your kids help

Allowing your child to help prepare meals is a great way for them to be active in the selection process. It teaches them how to make something and works the brain muscles at the same time. It sparks creativity and interest. Your child is more likely to eat something they helped make and even try new foods in the process.

3. Switch it up

Let’s be honest, eating the same thing every day the exact same way gets boring. Switching up your menu, the foods you eat and how they’re presented allows your family to stay interested. Preparing foods in a variety of ways gives your child more options. They may not like raw crunchy carrots but love them roasted with a little seasoning. So, don't just try it one way every time — switch it up.

4. Prepare one meal

It can be easy to get caught in the trap of making something different for everyone at the table. This allows your child to control mealtime and only enables a picky eater. Make just one meal for the whole family, no special orders. Serve a variety of foods so your child can find something they like. As time goes on, they will eat more of what’s on their plate and expand their taste pallet.

5. Don't give up!

Just because your child says no to broccoli today doesn’t mean they won’t say yes next time, or the next time. Remain calm and stay the course.

As parents, it’s important to set a good example. If you never try new foods, most likely your child will not either. Make it a goal to find a few things from each of the five major food groups that your child does like. Each food group provides important nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential to your child’s health.

If you have concerns that your child is not getting enough food or refuses to eat from one of the five food groups, call us today to schedule a consultation. We are happy to help you create a plan that works for you and your child.