Five Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant

So you’re ready to be a parent. Congratulations! That’s a big decision. To give yourself the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and baby, there are a few things to do before you get pregnant. 1. Go see your doctor before you conceive. This preconception visit with your OB, family physician, internist or other care […]

Health Related Apps for Parents

Any parent of multiple children can tell you that keeping track of their family’s medical history can be a challenge!  Every time I am asked for a child’s birthdate, I have to pause and think, let alone their most recent weight and height! 

If It Were My Child: No Tylenol before Shots

Earlier this year there was a massive Tylenol recall. The recall included Infant Tylenol drops, Children’s Tylenol, as well as many other children’s medications. I’m not exaggerating when I say massive, but generic medications (liquid acetaminophen made by Walgreens or CVS, for example) were not included. The recall was a great reminder that generics are […]

Stark Rubella Contrasts

The World Health Organization estimates that about 100,000 children each year are born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), a major cause of severe birth defects such as blindness, deafness, heart disease, and mental retardation. When pregnant mothers get rubella, a highly contagious otherwise-minor illness, the results for their babies can be devastating.

Mercury Free versus No Added Mercury

A concerned father recently contacted me about the no-added-mercury flu vaccine. He had called the manufacturers who admitted that there were still trace amounts of mercury in the vaccine. He wanted to know from me whether there was a brand available for young children that was totally free of mercury. Sadly, in the United States […]

PCV Vaccine Results

It seems like kids these days get so many shots. One of the recent additions to the routine vaccine schedule is the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV or Prevnar). Pneumococcal bacteria are the leading bacterial cause of ear infections in the United States, as well as of several serious infections such as meningitis and pneumonia.

No-Mercury-Added Flu Vaccines

More children than ever before are expected to get the flu vaccine for the 2004-2005 flu season, both because of new recommendations and because last year’s rough flu season still lingers in many people’s memories. Preservative-free flu vaccine is available — for those who ask for it before the supply is already committed.

Vaccine Diabetes Link?

Type 1 diabetes has increased in children over the last decade, presumably triggered by something in their diet or in their environment. Some have suggested that perhaps the disease is triggered by a child’s response to vaccines. The April 1, 2004 New England Journal of Medicine contains the results of a huge investigation into this […]

MMR/Autism Study Retracted

A controversial 1998 study published in The Lancet implied that the MMR vaccine might be a cause of autism. This sparked deep suspicion of the vaccine and prompted a great deal of new research involving hundreds of thousands of children (that has been unable to find any such connection). The original study included only a […]

Allergic to Shots

A severe form of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis can occur after eating peanuts, shellfish, eggs, bananas, kiwi, avocado, or other foods. It can occur after bee stings, in those who are allergic. It can also occur after receiving medicines, including the shots in the routine immunization schedule. How often does this occur?

Mercury, A Look Back

What has been the effect of giving tiny amounts of mercury to millions of children in vaccines? A huge study in the November 2003 Pediatrics used an analysis of the medical records of over 140,000 children to try to find an answer.


When I was a child and went to see the doctor, I remember sometimes getting shots if I was sick. It seemed stronger than getting medicine by mouth. Today, parents sometimes ask me to give shots of medicine to their sick children, either because the shots seem more powerful, or because they are more convenient […]

Heroic Polio Effort Hamstrung

A worsening polio outbreak in West Africa has already spread to nations where polio had been eradicated and has prompted hundreds of thousands of volunteers and health workers to race to immunize 15 million children at immediate risk.

Polio – It’s A Small World After All

Hundreds of thousands of health workers and volunteers are mobilizing to reach every child in 5 countries with polio vaccine within just a few days – in countries where polio had previously been eradicated. 15 million children are considered at immediate risk. The World Health Organization called the spreading polio outbreak in Nigeria “a grave […]

Every Parent Whose Child Has Asthma Should Hear

A simple flu shot for every child with asthma could prevent 100,000 hospitalizations this year in the U.S. alone, according to an analysis by the American Lung Association released on September 18, 2003. Sadly, last year 90 percent of children with asthma and 61 percent of adults with asthma missed the opportunity to get the […]

Preventing Ear Infections with Flu Vaccine

In stark contrast to some earlier studies, giving children flu vaccine does not help to prevent ear infections in young children, according to a large study published in the September 24, 2003 Journal of the American Medical Association. Earlier evidence had suggested a protective effect — perhaps a large protective effect — from the vaccine.

October Protection For Your Child

Most parents would be surprised to learn that in the US the 6th leading cause of death among children under 4 years old is the flu and its complications. We know the elderly are at risk; but so are young children. Overall 114,000 Americans each year are hospitalized with the flu, and more than 36,000 […]

West Nile Virus – The Stage is Set

In 2003, 32 states are already reporting West Nile virus activity, compared to only about 20 states at the same time in 2002. The CDC held a press conference on July 15, 2003, where CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding warned that we need to be prepared for a worse WNV season than last year, when […]

Monkeypox 2: Containment

On June 11, 2003 the federal government authorized the use of its stores of smallpox vaccine to help contain the U.S. monkeypox outbreak. Meanwhile, the outbreak investigation continues to spread, from the 3 original affected states to a new total of 16 states (Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, […]

Ask for No-Added-Mercury Vaccines

When it comes to the flu shot, choice is now here. Many doctors start ordering flu vaccine during the spring and summer months for the fall and winter to follow. Beginning in 2003, a preservative-free flu vaccine was made available — for those who ask for it.