Identifying the symptoms of PANDAS can be very challenging for a parent. PANDAS stands for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders”. This condition is most often associated with infections that have a Streptococcal base.
In all actuality, many parents have never even heard of this medical condition. The discovery of this condition is relatively new, which is the main reason that it is so unfamiliar to parents. The condition seems to be induced by the strep based infections that are actually quite common to parents. When a child develops this, they will have symptoms that are similar to those that are common in obsessive-compulsive disorder and even those that resemble the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome. Here, we will share information that can help you in identifying the symptoms of PANDAS.
The first symptom of PANDAS may be a sore throat. While this is typically not considered to be a part of the condition, the infection of Streptococcal is common when it comes to sore throats in children. When children become sick, the immune system automatically kicks in and works to alleviate the infection that is causing the sickness.
While the body is typically successful in fighting the strep infection, it seems that the immune system becomes a bit confused. It will zoom in on different parts of the brain and actually attack those parts as if it is an infection too. When this occurs, it is likely that the child will begin to develop changes that are physiologically and psychologically based.
The second symptom that your child may be experiencing PANDAS is that they will start to obsess on certain thoughts and may even start engaging in activities on such a regular basis that they actually become rituals. These thoughts and behaviors are similar to the characteristics of an individual that has obsessive-compulsive disorder.
You may also notice that the child has highly fluctuating swings in their moods, and in some of these moods, they may even start to engage in temper tantrums that are out of the normal scope of anger for them. Many children may also become quite impulsive and exhibit little regard for consequences.
In addition to the above listed symptoms, it is not unusual for a child with PANDAS to display high levels of hyperactivity. They may display the inability to concentrate and may seem as if they are not paying attention. It is not unusual to see them jumping from one thought to the next, or one activity to the next. When this is exhibited, you may find that their chores and schoolwork begin to suffer. While they may appear to be trying very hard, they cannot focus like they could prior to the initial strep infection.
If you find that your child has any of these symptoms, and they have recently been diagnosed with strep throat, it may be possible that they have PANDAS. Simply call the child’s pediatrician and set up an appointment to express your concerns.
You should take note of anything that seems out of the “norm” for the child and take it to the appointment. If the doctor is successful in identifying the symptoms of PANDAS, they will start your child on a treatment plan that is personalized to them.
In addition to consulting with a pediatrician, you may also consult with a pediatric dentist. In many instances, this medical professional will be able to identify if bacteria in the mouth could be resulting in an infection and/or inflammation.
If an infection is identified, antibiotics may be prescribed. Pediatric dentists will also be able to make recommendations to assist families in preventing the onset of PANDAS in children. For example, parents may be instructed to replace or sterilize toothbrushes once an infection is identified, may be instructed to use special bacteria-killing mouthwashes, or may encourage a throat culture.