Mumps- What you need to know

Mumps- What you need to know

This week Louisiana joined the ranks of 37 other states to have reported cases of mumps since January 2017.  In an urgent memo released on Saturday, March 11, the Louisiana Office of Public Health reported that several cases of mumps have been confirmed in students at LSU.  The number of student affected as well as their vaccine status has not been released at this point in time.  So here is what you need to know about mumps and how to protect yourself and your children. What is Mumps? Mumps is a viral illness that is spread through respiratory droplets or saliva (so coughing, sneezing or sharing drinks).  An infection with the mumps virus may begin as nonspecific fever, headache, and malaise, but then often progresses to the most common symptom of mumps which is pain and swelling of the parotid gland.  As you can see in the pictures below, the parotid gland is located just in front of the ear and at the upper part of the jaw.  Swelling of the parotid gland, called parotitis, can be quite impressive and cause the ear to push outwards and the angle of the jaw to no longer be easily seen.  More serious complications of mumps include orchitis (which is swelling of the testicles that may lead to sterility) or oophoritis (which is swelling of the ovaries), encephalitis (swelling around the brain) or deafness.  Death from mumps is very rare (even in the pre-vaccine era).                     How common is Mumps? Mumps vaccination became commonplace in 1967, but prior to that time, there were...
The Dreaded Daycare Sign

The Dreaded Daycare Sign

You know the feeling.  The sign posted on the door of daycare announcing the current illness that is floating around.  Oh the dreaded sign!  “We want to inform you that cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been diagnosed here at the center.”  GREAT!  There are likely two questions that are running through your head: 1) So what are we going to do when our child comes down with this latest illness? and 2) What exactly is Hand, Foot and Mouth disease?  Well, that first question is one that I have struggled with many times in my own household, and unfortunately, I can’t help you answer, but that second question…I CAN help with that one! Hand, foot and mouth (HFM) disease is a very common viral illness in children, particularly those under 5 years of age.  Older children, teens and even adults can get HFM, but it is much less common as most people have had HFM by that time and therefore have natural immunity to these viruses.  This illness is typically seen in the late summer to fall, but especially here in Louisiana with our mild climate, I will see cases of HFM year round.  The virus is spread through contact with droplets of someone who is infected, so it is spread by sneezing and coughing as well as the saliva that children “share” with each other on toys.  It is not uncommon to see mini “epidemics” of HFM that spread through daycare centers or other child care facilities.  The incubation period for HFM is 3-6 days, so I generally tell parents to be on the lookout...
Talking peanuts on WBRZ

Talking peanuts on WBRZ

x Wondering about the new recommendations for the introduction of peanut products to infants?  Take a look at the video above as I had the opportunity to stop by WBRZ 4 oclock news today to talk with Brittany Weiss about these new recommendations. As I mentioned in the video, these are exciting new recommendations that will hopefully help to reduce the overall incidence of peanut allergies in children.  Here are the suggested recipes for making the first peanut products for your little one as taken directly from the statement paper from Annals of Allergy and Immunology:   “Four recipe options, each containing approximately 2 g of peanut protein Note: Teaspoons and tablespoons are US measures (5 and 15 mL for a level teaspoon or tablespoon, respectively). Option 1: Bamba (Osem, Israel), 21 pieces (approximately 2 g of peanut protein) Note: Bamba is named because it was the product used in the LEAP trial and therefore has proven efficacy and safety. Other peanut puff products with similar peanut protein content can be substituted. a. For infants less than 7 months of age, soften the Bamba with 4 to 6 teaspoons of water. b. For older infants who can manage dissolvable textures, unmodified Bamba can be fed. If dissolvable textures are not yet part of the infant’s diet, softened Bamba should be provided. Option 2: Thinned smooth peanut butter, 2 teaspoons (9-10 g of peanut butter; approximately 2 g of peanut protein) a. Measure 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and slowly add 2 to 3 teaspoons of hot water. b. Stir until peanut butter is dissolved, thinned, and well blended. c. Let cool. d. Increase water amount if necessary...
Are your stockings hung by the chimney with care?

Are your stockings hung by the chimney with care?

Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. I have always loved decorating our house for the Christmas season, and this year, I had 3 trusty helpers to “assist” me with the decorating (Mr. J, Miss M and Mr. L).  Now as all of those with young children will know, your decorating looks a bit different with little ones around.  If your Christmas tree is anything like ours this year, the top half of the tree has the most beautiful Christmas ornaments perfectly spaced while the bottom layers of branches have patches of non breakable, kiddo friendly decorations.  And this year, as I saw sweet Mr. L in all of his 2 year old glory reach on his tippy-toes for his stocking that was hanging by the chimney with care, I quickly realized that we needed a re-do to our mantle. Here are our prior stocking hangers:                              Each of these hangers with a carefully crafted snowflake with all of its points, weighs about 2 pounds.  You can probably see where this is going.  Can you imagine if those precious little fingers reaching for the stocking were able to pull this off the mantle? If a stocking hanger such as this came crashing down on the head or face of a young child, the consequences could be devastating. So we have switched out our stocking hangers this year to these:                            Hangers such as these easily fit to almost any mantle size and fit snugly enough to where little hands cannot pull them off.  You can find hangers such as these by clicking here. Perhaps in a few years,...
Tackling SIDS

Tackling SIDS

SIDS- Sudden infant death syndrome.  There is no other acronym that strikes more fear and angst in a parent than SIDS.  Whether it is your first child or your 10th child, this is a worry that no amount of experience can completely erase.  As a pediatrician, I cannot tell you what causes SIDS for sure…that is the tough part. However, we do know that there are things parents can do to reduce the risk of SIDS, and ensuring a safe sleep environment for your little one is on the top of the list.  Safe sleep environment is also crucial to reduce sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) which can include suffocation or entrapment.  There is much overlap when talking about sleep environment and SIDS and SUID, so for the purpose of this discussion, I will simply stick with SIDS.  You may have heard that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with updated recommendations in regards to safe sleep practices and SIDS just last month, so here are the highlights (you can click here to read the full policy statement). The Back to Sleep Campaign was started in 1994, and since that time there has been a 50% reduction in the incidence of SIDS. Back to Sleep- ALWAYS Yes, grandma and great-grandma might give you a sidelong look here and tell you stories about how, back in their day, they never put babies to sleep on their back for fear of choking.  Here is where you can nod your head and politely let them know that for over 20 years now, the recommendation has been to put babies to...