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...
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...
From the Archives…Happy Child Passenger Safety Week- Are you in the 75%?

From the Archives…Happy Child Passenger Safety Week- Are you in the 75%?

It is something that parents do on an almost daily basis, and you probably don’t think twice about it.  Putting your kiddos into their car seat when you head out on the road.  But did you know that studies estimate that 75% of car seats are installed or used incorrectly?!! Car crashes are the leading cause of death in children 1 to 13 years of age.  This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week, so over the next few posts, I hope to answer some of the most important questions parents may have about car seats.  Today, we will focus on perhaps the biggest “error” I see parents making…turning their child forward facing too soon.   The American Academy of Pediatrics along with every car safety organization now recommends that ALL children remain rear-facing until AT LEAST 2 years of age.  In fact, children can remain rear-facing until they reach the height and weight limit for the specific car seat in the rear-facing position.  In most cases, the weight limit will be between 35-40 pounds (some even up to 45 pounds), and the height limit is the same for all car seats- the top of the child’s head should be at least 1 inch below the top of the car seat.  Many parents, websites, and most state laws still cite the out-dated recommendation for rear-facing only until 1 year of age or 20 pounds.  However, this recommendation was changed more than 4 years ago. “In a front-end collision, can you imagine putting 25% of your body weight as a rapid forward, force onto your delicate spine?” So what is...