Happy New (Calendar) Year!
It’s the start of a new year or, in health insurance lingo, the start of a new calendar year deductible. I’m reposting this from last January, because this month is the best time to start trying to schedule that annual exam or annual wellness visit (it could take weeks, after all, to get an appointment!).
I usually advise people to get any screening tests or annual exams done early in the year, just in case an abnormality is found and more testing/treatment is necessary.
Especially with the current trend towards enormous deductibles (up to $14,300 for … Continue reading
December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month!
Miami Children’s Hospital has a great public service video with toy safety tips.
My local pediatric hospital, Seattle Children’s, has a webpage devoted to toy safety and safety tips, including how to choose age-appropriate gifts, how to recognize potential dangers, and how to keep toys in good condition to keep them safe.
They also offer links to toy and gift suggestions for different age groups.
The sponsor of Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Prevent Blindness, has this toy safety list on its website:
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And save money, too
With both Thanksgiving and Black Friday over and done, the holiday season is in full swing!
But so is the cold-and-flu season :/
Want to stay healthy and save some money? Here are some of my favorite cold-prevention, money-saving posts.
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The right medication at the right dose
The journal Pediatrics recently published a study that showed about 85% of parents make mistakes when measuring out doses of liquid over-the-counter medications.
That reminded me of this short video from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio talking about medication errors made by parents or other caregivers.
Using over 10 years of data from the National Poison Center, researchers found that children under the age of 6 are exposed to a medication error every 8 minutes: too much, too little, or the wrong drug altogether.
Most often, they found … Continue reading
Bad lens hygiene, or what was I thinking?
I’ve worn contact lenses my entire adult life. I remember many, many times throughout high school and college when I would pop out a lens, stick it in my mouth to wet it, and then put it back in my eye.
I really can’t believe I used to do that!
But at least I’m not alone in being careless with my contact lenses and eye health.
A couple weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report that said more than 99% of contact lens wearers (and that’s well over … Continue reading
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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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.