Kids need flu shots!
Pediatricians recommend all children over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
In previous years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, FluMist, has been available to parents who wanted to avoid subjecting their children to another needle jab.
But for the last 3 years FluMist has not been nearly as effective as the standard flu shot. So for the 2016-2017 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) are recommending against FluMist for flu prevention.
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on
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Hepatitis A outbreaks
This morning I read about a hepatitis A outbreak in Virginia. The source is apparently contaminated strawberries used to make smoothies. So far, 40 people have become sick.
This outbreak follows on the heels of another in Hawaii, where 168 cases of the virus have been linked to frozen scallops.
Let these outbreaks be a reminder or an incentive to anyone NOT vaccinated against the hepatitis A virus—get vaccinated!
The hepatitis A virus attacks your liver and causes varying degrees of nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice. It rarely causes long-term liver damage or … Continue reading
Kids and vaccines
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise trendy back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their … Continue reading
Prevnar 13: As seen on TV
I was watching TV the other evening and, as usual, was forced to sit through multiple back-to-back prescription drug commercials.
One that caught my attention was for Prevnar 13, which is one of the pneumonia vaccines. (13 because it protects against 13 strains of streptococcus pneumonia.)
The commercial stated Prevnar 13 was for adults aged 50 and older.
That statement’s true, but needs some clarification.
Yes, Pfizer did get FDA approval a few years ago to market Prevnar 13 to adults over the age of 50. Previously, the vaccine was only used for … Continue reading
Germs and travel
I recently returned from a road-trip vacation with a nasty summer cold. It was my own fault—I didn’t heed my own advice to wash my hands as frequently as I should have.
Related post: Hand washing 101
Our hands are responsible for bringing a lot of germs into our bodies. We touch our nose, eyes or mouth, or our food, and voilà! the germs have found a nice, new home.
Although we usually associate colds with the winter months, germs for colds and other common viral illnesses are all over objects we touch every day, year round.… Continue reading
Last week Florida health officials announced that Zika is “actively circulating” in certain parts of the state. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has even gone so far as to issue a travel warning to advise pregnant woman not to travel to these areas.
Related post: Protect yourself from mosquito bites
The CDC has been really proactive in educating and updating the public about the Zika virus—what it is, where it is, and how we can protect ourselves.
In addition to their Zika virus homepage, they also have a great series of short videos called Zap Zika.
Clouds don’t protect you from the sun
On a cloudy summer day it’s easy to forget that the sun’s skin-damaging ultraviolet or UV rays aren’t blocked by the clouds. We still have to use sunscreen, wear hats and sunglasses, or stay out of the sun to protect ourselves.
Related post: Be informed – What is SPF?
UV rays not only cause sunburn, but also skin cancer and cataracts. And there aren’t enough beauty creams in the world to undo the premature aging effects of the sun, either.
Watch this video to see the sun’s “invisible” damage to the … Continue reading
And save money!
If you’re interested in how much a kidney stone costs, read this blog post from the Costs of Care website. The author of the post gives an accounting of her physician visits, diagnostic tests and medications:
- At least 5 sets of blood work, with CBC and chemical profiles, parathyroid studies
- Several urine tests, including urinalysis and urine culture, and two 24 hour urine tests (a third 24 hour urine test was recommended but I declined)
- 2 CT scans
- 1 MRI
- 4 specialist visits, 2 primary care visits, 2 ER visits (involving IVs, pain meds, lab studies)
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The FDA issues a warning
In my last post about treating heartburn, I mentioned Pepto-Bismol as one of several inexpensive and readily available over-the-counter treatments.
I also said that anyone who is allergic or sensitive to aspirin should not use Pepto-Bismol because it contains salicylic acid, or aspirin.
Aspirin is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding in the stomach. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a consumer warning that anyone sensitive to aspirin, or anyone taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, should consider other options to treat heartburn.
Read the label and
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The other day a family member asked for my advice on treating heartburn. It’s a common problem and fortunately there are many lifestyle changes and simple products to try before spending money on doctors’ appointments and prescription medications.
For the occasional case of heartburn following a large meal, or eating too late at night, or being more stressed than usual, try a herbal product or one of the inexpensive over-the-counter antacids.
- Chamomile has a mild healing and protective effect on the digestive tract. Choose a good-quality tea bag and enjoy a cup after a meal.
- Peppermint also has
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