Measles in the U.S.

By Elizabeth Chea, M.D.

As the number of cases of measles in the U.S. has reached over 100 people, this is the time to make sure that your child is protected. Most of these cases can be traced back to an exposure in Disneyland in December but now 17 states and Mexico have confirmed measles. 

Measles is a very contagious virus that can be passed into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and can be inhaled for up to 2 hours after leaving the infected individual.  Symptoms of measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and rash.  If contracted, measles can cause pneumonia, encephalitis, and even death. 

Due to the rise in measles cases, the CDC is now recommending that infants 6 to 11 months old who are in an outbreak area or traveling internationally receive the MMR vaccine.  The CDC recommends that children receive their first MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months and the second vaccine at 4 to 6 years old.  There are instances when the MMR vaccine should not be administered to include pregnant women, anyone immune compromised, or anyone with a history of an allergic reaction to the MMR vaccine.  Please discuss with your pediatrician any concerns with your child receiving the vaccine. The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a statement to encourage MMR vaccination.

Click on this link to read a letter from the AAP: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/American-Academy-of-Pediatrics-President-Urges-Parents-to-Vaccinate-Their-Children-Against-Measles.aspx

This is the time to make sure that your child is adequately vaccinated and protected from the disease. Please talk to your CMC pediatrician if you have any questions about measles or vaccines so we can keep your child protected and healthy.

Pediatricians Play a Role in Children’s Oral Health

In a revised statement, “Maintaining and Improving the Oral Health of Young Children,” which is featured in the December 2014 issue of Pediatrics, the AAP notes that pediatricians play an important role in improving oral health for young children. Younger children often see a pediatrician more frequently than a dentist, putting pediatricians in a unique position to provide oral health counseling. 

– See more at: http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/Pediatricians-Play-a-Role-in-Children’s-Oral-Health.aspx

AAP Recommends Flu Vaccine for All Children Six Months and Older

A recent report by the AAP proposes that children ages six months and older should be immunized against influenza once the vaccination is available. The report, published September 22, 2014, states that although the vaccine strains have not changed since last season, another dose of the vaccine is essential.

To learn more about this news, read the American Academy of Pediatrics article here.

FDA Issues Warning For Teething Pain Medicine

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning for oral viscous lidocaine, which is used in some topical teething medicines. According to a safety announcement issued by the FDA on June 26, 2014, these prescription oral medicines can lead to serious harm or even death in infants and young children. 

If you have any questions, please contact your CMC physician. 

To learn more about this news, read the Pediatric News article here.

Reach Out and Read and Pediatric Literacy

Children’s Medical Center, PA, supports promoting pediatric literacy by participating in the Reach Out and Read program and giving children a book at their check ups from 6 months to 5 years old. On Tuesday, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new, national effort that promotes early literacy in pediatrics, something that CMC is very excited about.
 
Brian Gallagher, Acting Executive Director of Reach Out and Read, joined representatives from their longstanding partner Scholastic to meet with Secretary Clinton in Denver at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting. They launched a partnership that aimed at raising awareness among parents about the importance of early language development. Along with pediatric literacy, Clinton’s Too Small to Fail initiative is also involved in the partnership.
 
For the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published a policy statement that promotes books and literacy guidance as an essential part of pediatrics, from the start of a child’s life. To bring this statement to life, Scholastic is donating 500,000 new children’s books to Reach Out and Read clinics across the country.
 
In the Carolinas, Reach Out and Read currently serves more than 275,000 families. Thanks to this generous gift, more families will be able to make reading aloud a daily activity.
 
Through CMC’s Reach Out and Read program, we will ensure that all children enter school prepared to succeed. 

To learn more about this partnership, click here.

Reach Out and Read was featured in The New York Times! Read the article about our new partnership here.

Ingestions, Exposures and Other Holiday Hazards

As we enter into the Holiday season, it is important to remember a few things to keep your children healthy.

 

Exposure

Unfortunately our favorite times of year to gather together with family members fall right in the middle of the peaks of cold and flu season. This year especially, Type A Influenza is circulating widely in our area. Along with that are many common cold viruses and RSV, a virus which causes wheezing in infants and young children. Most of these viruses are airborne illnesses. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to increase your child’s chances of staying healthy.

1) Don’t take your baby under 2months old to large family gatherings. Aunt Betty might be fine today but have flu tomorrow and could expose your infant without knowing she is a carrier. Unfortunately, many common, relatively mild illnesses for adults could be devastating for a young infant.

 2) Get a flu vaccine and immunize your child over 6months of age.

 3) If you are not feeling well, STAY HOME!! Epidemics are typically caused by well meaning individuals who feel they must go to work or must go to a social function.

 

Ingestions

Most parents are very careful about child proofing the house, but around the holidays, chances are your curious little “George” will have the opportunity to explore many houses other than their own.

1) While you can’t be certain that all of your relatives will have safety plugs, you can ask them to make sure they don’t leave medications within reach. Many adults who don’t have young children will put medicine into daily pill dispensers so they will remember to take it. Unfortunately these are not child proof and look like a fun toy with which to play.

2) Household cleaners pose another common risk. While you may have locks on your cabinets or have them put up high, many homes do not have this safety feature unless there are other young children there. Just make sure your child is not given too much free roaming room.

3) Choking is a common cause of injury in young children. While most of us would not give a toy to a baby that is a choking hazard, we will thoughtlessly hang small ornaments well within a baby’s reach. Try to place smaller ornaments high on the tree and put up a barrier around the tree to keep baby away.

4) Burns-most parents think to put a barrier around fireplaces, but many relatives may not. In addition, they may heat with a wood stove or kerosene heater that can be hot to touch and pose a burn risk for your baby or toddler.

5) New foods- Everybody is always anxious to give babies their first bite of food x-Whether it is Grandma’s sweet potato casserole or a taste of Whipped Cream, it could be a risk for an allergic reaction. Many of the holiday foods we enjoy traditionally have nuts. While most people are perfectly fine with that, children under two should not be exposed to nuts due to an increased likelihood of an allergic reaction.  For the child with a known allergy, let your relatives know to please only feed your child what you have prepared or approved.

 

Other Hazards

When I was a Resident, the ER census always started to increase around 1-2pm on Christmas Day. It seemed as the toys were opened and kids had time to play, accidents began to occur. Make sure if your child gets a new bike or skateboard, that she also gets –AND USES-a helmet and other protective gear like elbow pads. Older children receiving BB guns or other firearms need to be instructed in safety features. They should also be made aware of the importance of protecting younger siblings or cousins who may not be as safety conscious.

The Holiday Season, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, is a time of celebration and fun. We hope you also make it a safe and healthy time!!

 

Healthy Holidays!!

 

Michelle Lynch, MD

Organic vs. Conventional Foods

As we are busy preparing our Thanksgiving Day Feasts, we parents need to be aware of a timely report on organic foods. A new AAP Clinical Report published in the November issue of Pediatrics states that organic foods are no more nutritious than foods produced in the conventional manner. The most important part of feeding our children is to be sure they are offered a healthy well-balanced diet. If finances permit, organic foods can be added to the meals.

Some organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to contain less pesticide residue than conventionally grown produce. Since we do not know what effect long term pesticide residue has on the developing brain and body, we should be cautious. Also, organic meats and poultry are free of nontherapeutic antibiotics so there is a reduced risk of exposure to multi drug exposed bacteria. One resource that might be helpful is the website by Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce”.

Remember as we plan our Thanksgiving Day grocery lists, there appears to be no nutritive advantage to organic foods. There may be other benefits to organic foods. Most importantly, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family in this special time to give thanks.

Elizabeth Chea, MD