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 just as good as brand-name medications. The recall also serves as a great…

…cost and storage capacity. Vaccines in multi-dose vials are more likely to contain thimerosal as a preservative. Immunizations save lives Immunizations remain one of the greatest discoveries in human history, having saved innumerable lives and prevented measureless suffering. Available vaccines continue to be improved, and vaccine schedules continue to be refined. I strongly support the immunization of children and I agree with US Surgeon General…

…ontinue to have measles epidemics. Mexican resolve has resulted in similar dramatic success with other important immunizations. I’m all for yearly re-evaluation of whether or not the benefits of each vaccine outweigh the current risks. I’m all for reformulating vaccines to make them as safe as possible. But it is refreshing to set these questions against the backdrop of the immense boon immunizations have been, and continue to be, to…

Introduction to cough: Your home calms at night, the children are tucked into bed – but then loud coughing replaces the silence. It’s impressive that a body so small can cough so loud. What is a cough? Coughing is an important part of the body’s defense system. It forcefully propels unwanted invaders up and out of the body. A cough signals some irritation in your child’s air passages. This irritation may be in the throat, the lungs, or in the p…

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!  Back when I had one child, I could rattle off every state from the previous six months.  Now?  I know how big each of them was at birth…and that’s about it! Technology simplifies keeping track of each family…

Related concepts: SIDS Introduction to SIDS: Everything dear to us causes pain. Becoming a parent opens up new landscapes within us: new hopes, fears, delights, and sorrows. There is no magic moment when you will stop worrying. Sometimes, even when we do everything right, babies die. The fragility and unpredictability of life underscore how precious each life is. What is SIDS? SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is defined as the sudden, une…

No matter how much is known about a vaccine before it is licensed for routine use, after it has been used in millions of people it is possible to discover side effects that are too subtle or too rare to show up in pre-license testing. The November 2000 issue of Infectious Diseases in Children reviewed the post-licensure report card of the varicella (chicken pox) vaccine. Whenever an unexpected event follows an immunization, we physicians are re…

Dr. Greene’s Answer: I stood outside the closed door of the hospital room where an adorable 6-week-old baby lay all alone in her crib. As I scrubbed my hands in the sink outside the isolation room, an electronic monitor allowed me to hear her breathing peacefully. Suddenly the quiet was shattered by a fit of coughing. And she couldn’t stop. The coughs came so closely together that she couldn’t catch her breath. I grabbed a mask…

In 1988, polio still ravaged about 350,000 new people each year, causing damage that will last for the rest of their lives. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, the CDC, and Rotary International saw that polio could be entirely eradicated from the world. Their aim is to have it gone by 2005. So far, they have been 99% successful (only 2881 new cases in 2000). But enormous challenges remain in bringing immunizations to 16 million children in w…

…a prone position. The rate of SIDS is also higher in those babies who do not receive timely well-child care and immunizations. Putting children to sleep on their backs lowers the risk of SIDS by about three times. Use firm bedding in a slightly cool room. Avoid cigarette smoke, and even anything that smells like cigarette smoke. Take your baby in for regular well-child visits and immunizations. There is some evidence to support that breastfeedin…

Dr.Greene’s Answer: A beautiful little girl was perfectly healthy until 3 days following her DPT injection when she developed a high fever, screaming, and convulsions. After the episode subsided, this little girl was left with permanent brain damage. Television specials featuring the tragic story of a child with severe neurologic damage following a DPT injection are a vivid warning to take new medical technologies seriously. However, these…

Many parents opt to wait on ear piercing until a child is able to make the decision for herself (or himself). Some parents find it desirable for their children to have pierced ears as babies. But how early is too early? I am a fan of waiting at least a bit for ear piercing. My reason? Tetanus. Even though tetanus is not very common (thanks to immunizations), the tetanus bacteria is everywhere. It usually enters the body through puncture wounds….

Can you trust statistics? Back in 1999, a report from California’s Department of Developmental Services, concluded that the number of children with profound autism had grown from 2,778 in 1987 to 10,360 in 1999 — an increase of 273 percent! The study did not include the milder end of the spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome. But was this increase real? And if so, what was causing it? Maybe we were just doing a better job of finding…

Pertussis is commonly known as whooping cough. Pertussis is caused by bacteria that attach themselves to the cilia (little hairs) that line the respiratory tract. These bacteria produce a potent toxin that inflames the respiratory tract and that prevents the cilia from functioning properly. The disease can be serious or fatal in infants and unimmunized children. It is much milder in teens, adults, and in immunized children – but still can…

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is defined as the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of any infant or young child. SIDS accounts for about half of the deaths that occur between one month and one year of age. Genetics plays a large role. SIDS is more common in boys than in girls, and it is more common in some population groups (Black, Native American, Hawaiian, Filipino, Maori). Most of the affected infants have damaged or immature…

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. Health maintenance organization (HMO) computer databases make this kind of analyses possible. Children in three different HMOs were followed, from 1991 to 1999. Researchers tracked cumulative mercury (thimerosal) ex…

Antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal infections have become a major health problem. In February 2000 the FDA approved Prevnar, the exciting new vaccine that can prevent pneumococcal infections – the leading cause of serious meningitis and pneumonia. The pneumococcusis also the number one cause of ear infections and sinus infections, something that affects most young children. I expect this vaccine to prove to be a major advance in children&#…

Related concepts: German measles, Congenital rubella syndrome, Third disease, French measles, False measles, Scarlatina morbillosa, Hybrid measles Introduction to rubella: How tragic when a mild illness, scarcely worse than a cold, can cause such devastating effects on babies. Young parents, beware! What is rubella? Rubella is one of the classic rash illnesses of childhood. In ancient times, it was lumped in with measles, scarlet fever, and sma…

Dr. Greene`s Answer: As a pediatric resident, I spent my days (and nights) going from room to room, seeing one hospitalized child after another. It seemed so commonplace that it took several months for the truth to set in – each hospitalization, even if it seemed routine to me, was a major event in the life of a family. To have your 3-year-old daughter be so drained and dehydrated that she needed to be admitted to the hospital, to have her…

Dr. Greene’s Answer: What a preposterous idea that little boys don’t feel pain when part of the penis is first ripped from the underlying tissue, crushed with a clamp, and then amputated! This procedure is performed on more than 1 million babies each year in the United States alone, and many of them receive nothing to prevent or treat the pain. We have a long history of underestimating the abilities of babies. Not long ago, we doctor…