Pediatrics Medical Terms
Acne – a chronic disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Acne is characterized by black heads, pimple outbreaks, cysts, infected abscesses, and (sometimes) scarring.
Air bags – safety devices installed in most newer vehicles that inflate to protect the driver and/or passenger in certain collisions.
Allergen – the substance that triggers an allergic reaction.
Allergic conjunctivitis – red, itchy, watery eyes; a result of an exposure to an allergen or an irritant.
Allergy – a physiological reaction caused when the immune system mistakenly identifies a normally harmless substance as damaging to the body.
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – an organization that evaluates and approves helmets.
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) – an organization that evaluates and approves helmets.
Anorexia nervosa (also called anorexia) – an eating disorder characterized by low body weight (less than 85 percent of normal weight for height and age), a distorted body image, and an intense fear of gaining weight.
Antibiotic – chemical substances produced by living organisms or synthesized (created) in laboratories for the purpose of killing other organisms that cause disease.
Asthma – a chronic, inflammatory lung disease involving recurrent breathing problems; the most common, chronic health problem among children.
Atopic dermatitis – red, itchy, dry skin most common in infants; a result of an exposure to an allergen or an irritant.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – a syndrome (a group of symptoms or signs) that is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties, resulting in inattentiveness or distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Birthmark – abnormality of the skin that is present at birth or shortly afterward.
Blister – a raised area on the skin containing fluid. The fluid can be blood or serum, the clear liquid portion of the blood.
Booster seat – a seat to help raise a child in a vehicle so that the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly.
Bruise (also called contusion) – a collection of blood due to broken blood vessels underneath the skin usually caused by trauma. A bruise causes discoloration and swelling in the area.
Bulimia nervosa (also known as bulimia) – a disease in which there is uncontrolled episodes of overeating that are usually followed with purging (self-induced vomiting), misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications that cause increased production of urine, fasting, or excessive exercise to control weight.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – an emergency method of life-saving. Artificial respirations and chest compressions are used to restart the heart and lungs.
Cephalohematoma – an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones that appears as raised lump on the baby’s head.
Chemical burns – burns due to strong acids or alkalies coming into contact with the skin and/or eyes.
Chickenpox – a highly viral infectious disease, usually associated with childhood. By adulthood, more than 95 percent of Americans have had chickenpox. The disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Transmission occurs from person-to-person by direct contact or through the air.
Child safety seat – special seats for infants and toddlers that are secured in a vehicle with seat belts or special anchors to increase the safety of the child in the event of a crash.
Circumcision – surgical procedure to remove the skin covering the end of the penis, called the foreskin.
Colic – a condition in an otherwise healthy baby characterized by excessive crying.
Congenital – present at birth.
Conjunctivitis – inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye.
Contact dermatitis – itchy rash; a result of an exposure to an allergen or an irritant.
Cystitis – inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bacterial infection.
Deciduous teeth – also known as “baby” or primary teeth.
Diaper rash – an irritation of the skin in the diaper area.
Diarrhea – increase in frequency of stools compared to normal, or looser bowel movements than usual; causes include infections of the digestive system, medications such as antibiotics, malabsorption, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Diphtheria – a serious, infectious disease that produces a toxin (poison) and an inflammation in the membrane lining of the throat, nose, trachea, and other tissues.
E. coli O157:H7 (also called E. coli. or Escherichia coli) – Species of bacteria found in the intestines of man and healthy cattle; often the cause of urinary tract infections, diarrhea in infants, and wound infections.
Electrical burns – burns due to contact with an electrical current.
Encopresis – constipation and intestinal obstruction (blockage) lead to an involuntary leakage of loose stool.
Enuresis – loss of urine, especially at night in bed.
Epilepsy – a condition in which there is a problem with the brain that causes long-term seizures in the child.
Fever (also called pyrexia) – an abnormal temperature of the body. A fever generally indicates that there is an abnormal process occurring in the body.
Fluoride – a natural chemical that strengthens enamel – the hard outer coating on teeth – helps prevent tooth decay, and helps repair early damage to teeth.
Food allergy – a physiological reaction caused when the immune system mistakenly identifies a normally harmless food as damaging to the body.
Food intolerance – an adverse reaction of the body to a certain food(s) that does not affect the immune system, although some symptoms may be the same as in food allergy.
Fractures – a partial or complete break in the bone.
Haemophilus influenzae (also called H. influenzae) – Represents a group of bacteria that may cause different types of infections in infants and children. H. influenzae most commonly causes ear, eye, or sinus infections, and pneumonia.
Headache – pain or discomfort in the head or face area. Headaches can be single or recurrent in nature, and localized to one or more areas of the head and face.
Heat exhaustion – a form of heat-related illness that is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke.
Hepatitis – inflammation of the liver that sometimes causes permanent damage; caused by viruses, medicines, or alcohol.
Immunizations (vaccines) – a set of shots given to children at different ages to help keep them from developing dangerous childhood diseases.
Impetigo – a bacterial skin infection characterized by microscopic pus-filled blisters.
Influenza (also called the flu) – a viral respiratory tract infection. The influenza viruses are divided into three types: A, B, and C.
Inguinal hernia – part of the small intestine that pushes through an opening in the abdominal muscle, causing a bulge underneath the skin in the groin area.
Intravenous pyelogram – a test that examines the urinary system using a contrast medium that can be seen on X-rays to show possible obstructions, tumors, cysts, stones, and other abnormalities.
Jaundice – a yellow color of the skin and eyes that is caused by too much bilirubin in the bloodstream due to liver problems.
Kidney and bladder ultrasound – a diagnostic imaging technique that examines the kidney and bladder using high-frequency sound waves; to detect certain abnormalities.
Learning disability (LD) – a disorder that affects people’s ability to either interpret what they see and hear or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations are characterized by difficulty in reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Lice – tiny parasites that can infest the skin; characterized by intense itching.
Locking clip – a special device used when the vehicle’s lap/shoulder belts do not lock. A locking clip will help secure a child safety seat tightly into a vehicle.
Measles – a very contagious viral illness characterized by a distinct rash and a fever; spread through airborne droplets of nasal secretions.
Meconium – a sticky, greenish-black substance that forms in the intestines during fetal development and is the first bowel movement of a newborn.
Meningitis – an inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord.
Milia – tiny, white, hard spots that look like pimples on a newborn’s nose.
Mongolian spots – blue or purple-colored splotches on the baby’s lower back and buttocks; common in darker-skinned babies.
Moro reflex – movement of arms and legs that occurs when a newborn is startled by a loud sound or movement.
Molding – elongation of the shape of a baby’s head due to delivery through the birth canal.
Mumps – an acute and highly contagious viral illness that usually occurs in childhood. Spread by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract, the disease usually takes two to three weeks to appear.
Myringotomy – a surgical opening of the eardrum to release pressure on the middle ear.
Orthodontics – the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws.
Otitis externa – inflammation of the outer part of the ear extending to the auditory canal.
Otitis media – inflammation of the middle ear caused by infection.
Otoscope – a lighted instrument that allows the physician to see inside the ear.
Outer ear – external portion of the ear, consisting of the pinna, or auricle, and the ear canal.
Overuse conditions – injuries due to minor trauma involving soft tissue injuries -injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons.
Peak flow monitoring – a measure of lung function.
Pediatrics – the branch of medicine that deals with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases in children.
Personal flotation device (PFD) – any type of item that keeps a person afloat in water. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs should be used on boats.
Pertussis (also called whooping cough) – mainly affects infants and young children; caused by a bacterium, it is characterized by paroxysms of coughing that end with the characteristic whoop as air is inhaled. Pertussis caused thousands of deaths in the 1930s and 1940s, but with the advent of a vaccine, the rate of death has declined dramatically.
Pneumatic otoscope – an instrument that blows a puff of air into the ear to test eardrum movement.
Poliomyelitis – a highly contagious infectious disease caused by various types of poliovirus. Spread though feces and airborne particles, the poliovirus usually causes no more than a mild illness. However, some of the more serious manifestations of the disease include meningitis, which can lead to extensive paralysis.
Puberty – a sequence of events by which a child becomes a young adult; characterized by secretions of hormones, development of secondary sexual characteristics, reproductive functions, and growth spurts.
Pyelonephritis – an infection of the kidney.
Reye syndrome – a potentially fatal disease that causes severe problems with the brain and other organs. Although the exact cause of the disease is not known, there has been an association with giving aspirin to children and developing the disease. It is now advised not to give aspirin to children during illnesses, unless prescribed by your child’s physician.
Rhinitis – an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the nose; often due to allergy to pollen, dust, or other airborne substances; causes sneezing, itching, a runny nose, and nasal congestion.
Rubella (also called German measles) – an acute viral infection that causes a mild illness in children and a slightly more severe illness in adults. The disease is spread person-to-person through airborne particles and takes two to three weeks to incubate.
Sinusitis – inflammation of the membranes lining the facial sinuses; often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or an allergic reaction.
Stork bite or salmon patch – small pink or red patches often found on a baby’s eyelids, between the eyes, upper lip, and back of the neck.
Strawberry hemangioma – a bright or dark red, raised or swollen, bumpy area on the skin of a baby or child.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – unexplained, sudden death of an infant up to 1 year of age.
Sunburn – a visible reaction of the skin to overexposure to the sun’s invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Sunscreen – a product that protects the skin again sunburns by blocking the penetration of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Syrup of ipecac – an emetic made from the dried root of a plant called ipecacuanha, which is grown in Brazil. An emetic is an agent that causes vomiting.
Tetanus – an acute, sometimes fatal, disease of the central nervous system; caused by the toxin of the tetanus bacterium, which usually enters the body through an open wound. The tetanus bacterium live in soil and manure, but also can be found in the human intestine and other places.
Thermal burns – burns due to external heat sources which raise the temperature of the skin and tissues and cause tissue cell death or charring. Hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, and flames, when coming in contact with the skin, cause thermal burns.
Tourette’s syndrome – an abnormal condition characterized by tics and other movements such as eye blinks or facial twitches that cannot be controlled.
Tuberculosis (TB) – an infectious disease that was once a major killer worldwide. The predominant TB organism is Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). Spread person-to-person in airborne droplets caused by sneezing or coughing, the bacteria usually infects the lungs. However, due to improved nutrition, housing, sanitation, medical care, and the introduction of antibiotics this century, reported TB cases in the U.S. have declined dramatically.
Tympanometry – a test that allows for air and sound to be directed into the middle ear.
Umbilical hernia – a weakness in the abdominal muscles.
Urethritis – an infection limited to the urethra.
Urticaria (also called hives) – a condition in which red, itchy, and swollen areas appear on the skin – usually as an allergic reaction from eating certain foods or taking certain medications.
Vomiting – the release of stomach contents through the mouth; also known as throwing-up.
X-ray – a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.