To vaccinate for flu or not?
Aug10

To vaccinate for flu or not?

You can get sick with the flu even if you are vaccinated, so why bother getting the vaccine? It’s true that the flu vaccine does not completely prevent influenza. In 2013-14 it prevented illness in 61% of people who were vaccinated. So if you are already a little nervous about giving your child yet another vaccine, knowing this fact might make you forego the vaccine altogether. But there is no reason not to get the flu vaccine...

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Why does fever cause a fast heart beat and rapid breathing?
Jul23

Why does fever cause a fast heart beat and rapid breathing?

Have you freaked out about a high fever and fast breathing or rapid heart rate only to find a dose of Tylenol turns a floppy mess of a toddler back into her usual playful self? You check on your little darling and find she is burning up with fever, breathing really fast and looks simply terrible. If you haven’t rushed off to see a doctor under such circumstances, the thought certainly has crossed your mind. Usually sometime around...

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Don’t blame teething for baby’s ills
Feb18

Don’t blame teething for baby’s ills

Teething has had a bad reputation for over 5000 years. Hippocrates, Homer, and Aristotle associated teething with serious diseases1. Since then teething has been blamed for ailments from seizures, to infections like cholera, meningitis, tetanus and even penile discharge. In 18th century France, about half of all infant deaths were attributed to teething. Obviously, it’s ridiculous to blame the eruption of a new tooth for...

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How to rehydrate kids with stomach flu
Dec06

How to rehydrate kids with stomach flu

Most kids don’t need intravenous (IV) fluids to get back on their feet after a bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Here’s what you need to know to get through the stomach flu: Give frequent, small sips of fluids. Offer a drink even if your child is vomiting every 5-10 minutes — which is common during the first few hours of being sick. Their stomach will absorb enough of the fluid before they vomit again and you can prevent dehydration...

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How to outsmart mosquitos and prevent bites
Aug03

How to outsmart mosquitos and prevent bites

Yes, you should be worried about mosquitos transmitting Zika. And you should be just as worried about dengue fever, yellow fever, chikungunya, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and several other diseases. About 700 million people are infected every year around the world and some get really sick. Even if you don’t get sick, bug bites are easily infected by dirty kid hands scratching their itch. Plus, bug bites are just annoying. Here’s...

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Unclog a stuffy nose (the right way)
Nov01

Unclog a stuffy nose (the right way)

What are you supposed to do you when your little one is congested? Cough and cold medicines are potentially dangerous for children under two years old and are ineffective anyway.  A study in 2010 showed that good old vapor rub improved kids cough and congestion symptoms, and most importantly improved their sleep. So now I recommend Vicks VapoRub. But again, the camphor in VapoRub is not supposed to be given to children younger than...

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Bend over and take your medicine:  rectal acetaminophen
Aug06

Bend over and take your medicine: rectal acetaminophen

Child refusing fever medicine? What to do when not even a spoon full of sugar will make the medicine go down. Most kids can vomit on command as many parents have witnessed after politely begging a child to take their medicine. Vomiting is no special trick. But I’ve yet to meet a kid who can bear down and push out a rectal suppository. So, if you’ve got an uncooperative medicine-taker at home, there are options. Rectal acetaminophen...

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Sick all the time?
Apr29

Sick all the time?

Does it seem like your child is sick all the time? You’re probably right. Should you be worried? It’s the end of the winter when the average child will have had 8 different illnesses. A new illness every two weeks is common for kids under age five. If you are normal, you’ve worried that your child has an immune system problem or even cancer. And there are a few other things you could worry about: ‘periodic fever syndromes’ and...

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Popsicles are legit stomach flu treatment
Dec17

Popsicles are legit stomach flu treatment

Your choice of fluid for hydration is important. Drinks that are too sugary will actually cause diarrhea, chicken broth isn’t absorbed well, and water is the worst choice. That’s why there are rehydration drinks. Water is normally absorbed from the intestine into the bloodstream by three mechanisms when you are healthy, but 2 of those methods don’t work if you have an intestinal infection. So, the only way to absorb water is through...

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Fever has a mind of its own, scientists say
Oct03

Fever has a mind of its own, scientists say

Fever is not all bad. In fact, raising your body temperature enhances the body’s infection-fighting defenses. Lizards, fish and even cockroaches and leeches mount a fever to fight infection. But only humans take medicine to get rid of their fever. If fever blocks the multiplication process of germs and enhances immune system function, what happens when we block fever? Researchers at Kings College London[1] considered this question and...

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