Haemophilus Influenzae: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Related concepts: Hib, H flu Introduction to haemophilus influenzae: Not long ago H influenzae type b (Hib) was the number one cause of bacterial meningitis. More than half of the cases of Hib infection in the United States involve bacterial meningitis. Thankfully, Hib disease has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the Hib vaccine […]

Flu: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to the flu: For many people, cold and flu have become an inseparable pair, like salt and pepper or New Year’s and weight loss. Walking down the “cold and flu” aisle of any drugstore, you will find stacks of bright boxes with bold claims of help for those suffering from a cold or the […]

Enteroviruses A-to-Z Guide: Overview, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Introduction to enterovirus: Often when parents bring a sick child to the doctor and hear, “It’s just a virus,” the child has an enterovirus. What is enterovirus? Enteroviruses are a large family of viruses responsible for many infections in children. These viruses live in the intestinal tract, but can cause a wide variety of illnesses.

Encephalitis: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to encephalitis: West Nile virus frightens many parents because it can cause a type of infection called encephalitis. What is encephalitis? Meningitis is primarily an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and sometimes of the brain itself. Encephalitis is primarily an inflammation of the brain. Most of the time, the […]

Diphtheria: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Related concepts: Corynebacterium diphtheriae, C. diphtheriae, The Strangling Angel of Children, Bull Neck Introduction to diphtheria: Once called “the strangling angel of children,” diphtheria was a dreaded common childhood illness for more than 2,000 years before modern medicine made it a rarity. In areas where diphtheria vaccination is uncommon, diphtheria would meet the criteria to […]

Type I Diabetes: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to diabetes: When a child starts drinking more or urinating more frequently, the thought of type 1 diabetes (and now type 2 diabetes) often springs into the parents’ minds. When should parents be concerned? What is diabetes? In healthy children a hormone called insulin pushes sugar from the blood into the body’s cells where […]

Cough: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction: 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 […]

Croup: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to croup: Picture this scene: A couple is spending a quiet evening at home with their one-year-old daughter, who has had a bit of a cold. At about 8 o’clock she begins coughing — an unusually loud, resonant cough. Over the next few hours, the sporadic cough becomes increasingly frequent. She gets a fever.

Chickenpox: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to chickenpox: Chickenpox is one of the classic childhood diseases. A young child covered in pox and out of school for a week is a typical scene. The first half of the week feels miserable from itching; the second half miserable from boredom. Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, classic chickenpox is becoming […]

Arboviruses: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to arboviruses: The West Nile virus has been in the news in recent years, but it is only one example of the arboviruses, a group than can and does cause serious illness. The La Crosse virus, for example, causes more damage each year than West Nile. What is arboviruses? The arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) are […]

Anthrax: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to anthrax: Even in the best of times, being a parent can bring moments of fear. Our children are such treasures. When people intentionally want to frighten and kill us, I believe parents feel it more acutely than most. What is anthrax? Anthrax is a bacterial infection, similar in many ways to diphtheria. It […]

Autism on the Rise

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. […]

Flu Vaccine Recommendations for Children Under Four

Each year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes recommendations about who should get the influenza vaccine. The focus of the flu shot campaign among healthy people has been on people aged 65 and older, because they have been considered to be at the highest risk for flu-related complications and hospitalization. However, it turns […]

Repeat Chickenpox

Parents express their concern that the chickenpox vaccine  might not give lifelong immunity. These parents sometimes want their children to catch “real chickenpox” as kids so that they will never get it as adults.

Do Vaccines Weaken the Immune System?

Babies get so many shots these days! About a quarter of parents are concerned that the sheer number of vaccines might overwhelm, weaken, or use up a baby’s immature immune system. Evidence published in the Jan. 2002 issue of Pediatrics suggests that the opposite is true.

Immunization Timing Matters

I often hear from parents who like to modify their children’s immunization schedules for one reason or another. According to a warning issued in the November 30, 2001, issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, when the MMR vaccine and the chicken pox vaccine are given on 2 separate days less than 30 […]

Vaccinating Mothers To Protect Babies

Mothers give their babies so much – including antibodies that help protect them from infections. If a woman were immunized against an infection before becoming pregnant, might she pass this along to her baby?

Thimerosal (Mercury)-Containing Vaccines

The highly respected Institute of Medicine has completed its Immunization Safety Review: Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (October 2001). They strongly urge removing all mercury from vaccines, as part of the overall effort to reduce mercury exposure in children.

Fear, Measles, and Protecting our Kids

Claims that the MMR vaccine might cause inflammatory bowel disease or autism continue to haunt parents. I’m asked about the connection every week. The group that began the controversy, researchers from the Royal Free Hospital in London, have since done further research vindicating the MMR. But the fears continue.

Kids Feel Pain!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Pain Society have issued a September 2001 policy statement calling for pediatricians to respect and manage the pain that children feel from injuries, illnesses, and (too often) from medical procedures.