The pediatric infectious disease specialists with Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital have the expert training to care for bacterial, fungal, viral or parasitic infections in children from birth through adolescence. This is important because children respond differently to infections than adults do.
These specialists have completed their medical school training and three or more years of pediatric-specific training. Then, they receive an additional three years of training in infectious disease. They demonstrate their knowledge and skill by passing a comprehensive examination that gives them the distinction of being “board certified.”
Common infectious diseases in children
Your child’s immune system is still developing, which makes them susceptible to infection or disease caused by the germs they encounter each day. There are many conditions your child may contract that require expert care from an infectious disease specialist, including:
- Bone or joint infections
- Inflammatory conditions like hepatitis, encephalitis or meningitis
- Parasite-borne diseases like Lyme disease
- Prolonged or recurrent fever
- Staphylococcus infections like MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus)
- Respiratory infections like tuberculosis and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
Infectious disease providers work hand-in-hand with pediatricians and family medicine providers to diagnose and treat problems. They also collaborate with other departments when needed, including:
- Pediatric blood disorders (hematology)
- Pediatric cancer care (oncology)
- Pediatric pulmonology and cystic fibrosis care
- Pediatric respiratory services
- Pediatric rheumatology
Many infectious diseases are highly contagious, meaning they can spread quickly. Our pediatric infectious disease specialists work to contain the spread to keep kids healthy. The most important diagnostic tools are a comprehensive physical examination along with a medical history. We may ask you or other family members for additional information that could shed light on what is causing your child’s symptoms. When necessary, we may use:
- Computed tomography (CT) scans to examine airways
- Bronchoscopy, which uses a flexible tube to view airways and collect tissue or mucus samples
Treating infectious diseases
Pediatric infectious disease specialists have a comprehensive understanding of available antibiotics and what each one can effectively treat. For severe or unusual infections, we may deliver antibiotic therapy intravenously (through a vein). Our specialists work closely with specially trained pediatric pharmacists to determine appropriate dosing.
If your family is planning to travel abroad, we can provide your children with the necessary vaccinations or medications to keep them healthy while at your destination. We will also provide follow-up evaluation to ensure your child returns home without infection.
If your family is traveling to a foreign country to adopt a child, we provide immunizations for your adopted child upon your return, as well as evaluations for potential infections.