“Dry Drowning” – What Parents Need to Know

“Dry Drowning” – What Parents Need to Know

As if the idea of drowning didn’t strike enough fear into the heart of every parent, recent news headlines and social media posts have brought a new term to the forefront…”dry drowning.”  You might be thinking, “Well of course my kiddo has had a cough a time or two after their face inadvertently went into the water. Is this something to worry about?”  Here is what parents need to know about so called “dry drowning.” What is “dry drowning”? To get scientific, there are actually two entities here: Dry drowning- This occurs when a small amount of water gets into the nose or mouth, and this water causes a sudden spasm of the airway where it shuts close.  It is almost like the airway is “over protecting” itself from the water that isn’t supposed to be there.  With dry drowning, there is no water in the lungs.  In these cases, you will see symptoms almost immediately after the water gets into the airway (the airway will not spasm if the water isn’t there). Delayed or Secondary drowning- In delayed drowning, a child inhales a bit of water through their nose or mouth, and the water actually does make it down into their lungs.  Once in the lungs, the water begins to cause significant irritation and inflammation (after all, water is not supposed to be in our lungs) which leads to something called pulmonary edema.  This can occur anywhere from 1-24 hours after the initial inhaling of the water. You can see that while these two terms mean something different from a medical standpoint, the term “dry drowning” is often...
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...
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...
What’s New with the Flu

What’s New with the Flu

Can you believe it is October? College football is in full swing (Gig’em Aggies), pumpkin spice abounds, and Christmas decorations are already popping up in stores.  You know what else that means? Flu season is here!! You might be thinking…already?? Unfortunately, there have already been several cases of the flu in my office in the past few weeks and there have been small pockets of flu around the US (Aggieland- College Station, TX for those non-Aggies- actually had a flu outbreak just a few weeks ago).  Here are your reminders for protecting yourself and your family from flu this year…and listen up, there is a change that all those kiddos will likely not be too happy about! These numbers should serve as a reminder that cannot be stated enough that flu claims the life of otherwise healthy children each and every year here in the US. We have not had a “bad” flu season in a few years, which typically means that we are due for a more severe season.  Last years flu season was just plain strange…I really did not see much flu in my office until late January, but then the flu season lasted much longer than your typical year (I think I was diagnosing flu into May).  There were 85 pediatric deaths in the US from the flu during the 2015-2016 season which, while still tragic and far too many, was less than the prior two seasons which saw 111 deaths during the 2013-2014 season and 148 deaths during the 2014-2015 season.  These numbers should serve as a reminder that cannot be stated enough that flu...
A cause for outrage

A cause for outrage

If you or your family member has serious, life threatening allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, then you are very familiar with the image above.  For everyone else, this is an EpiPen which contains a dose of a medication called epinephrine that can be lifesaving in an allergic reaction.  EpiPen has been manufactured by the Mylan company since 2007.  For those that have severe allergies, they are instructed to carry these pens with them 24-7, 365 days per year, and this is especially true for children while they are in school.  Those that have these pens at home are likely also acutely aware of the absolutely shameful price gouging that Mylan has done with EpiPens in the past 9 years.  Wondering how this could happen? Yeah…so am I. These EpiPens come as what are called a “twin pack” meaning that one prescription will get you two of these pens.  The reason that is so important is that sometimes, in life-threatening situations, one dose of epinephrine is not enough.  Back in 2007, a twin pack cost around $94.  Some may even be surprised by that cost knowing that it is a prescription that expires every year and that it is a medication you must get but hope to never use.  Want to know the current cost of an EpiPen? How about just above $600?! That is an increase of over 400%.  Insurance you say? That $600 price tag is the cost that many families are forced to pay given the higher deductible plans that are in the insurance marketplace these days.  Shocked? Angry for those that MUST have this medication? Yeah…me too....
A Storm Without a Name

A Storm Without a Name

Devastation. It is all around us. “You can expect rain for the next week or so.”  That was the forecast from last week for here in Southern Louisiana…Baton Rouge to be exact.  It started on Thursday with our “typical” summer afternoon shower, but then things began to change as the rain didn’t stop.  Over the next 48 hours, we saw an estimated 4 trillion gallons of rainfall!  The rivers began to swell and when all was said and done, every major river in and around Baton Rouge had broken prior records with some of these rivers reaching almost 18 feet ABOVE flood stage.  The National Weather Service has called it a “1,000 year rain” meaning there was a 0.1 percent chance of that much rain in a given time period over a year.  By the end of it all, the statistics are absolutely unfathomable: Over 30,000 people rescued as flood water rapidly rose 2 major highways closed as flood waters reached 4 feet on the roadways stranding thousands Over 10,000 people displaced to area shelters Between 75-90% of homes in hardest hit communities that have been flooded A death toll currently at 13 and will likely continue to rise as waters recede I had the opportunity to sit down with Sylvia Weatherspoon and Michael Shingleton on WBRZ News a few days ago to discuss important ways to help our children deal with this tragedy.  You can check that video out below: x Now, a few points I want to make about health issues and concerns for those that have waded in flood waters and experienced this tragedy first hand....