A lot of parents ask me, about the HPV vaccine, "Isn't that the optional one?" Well, let me walk you through why my answer to that question is a hard "no." Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes warts and several types of cancer. There are over 200 different strains of HPV, some of which tend to cause warts on the hands, feet, or face. Other strains ...

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I have to admit, I’m not the biggest follower of popular culture. I couldn’t pick a Kardashian out of a crowd if my life depended on it. I don’t know who Brad Pitt is currently married to, if he’s married. And I have no idea how many kids Natalie Portman has, if she has any at all. (In full disclosure, I was blanking on names and pulled up People.com to ...

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Before I went to medical school, I had little interest in politics. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my country; I spent seven years serving in the United States Navy and have always taken pride in being an American. I suppose the reason for my political apathy was because things had always gone pretty well for me. I grew up in a conservative, upper-middle-class family with two working parents. I ...

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I just wanted to let you know that we’re fighting for your kids. Because, whether you realize it or not, they are in danger. You usually see us in the office, or maybe making rounds in the hospital. We decorate our offices with bright colors and sea creatures, and we give your kids stickers when they’re cooperative (and even when they aren’t). In general, we’re a pretty friendly bunch. We’re people -- ...

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A few thousand years ago, a talking snake convinced a child to pick a piece of fruit, squeeze it really hard, and drink whatever came out. The kid liked it, obviously, because what’s not to like about juice? So the next day at preschool, he told all his friends to ask their parents for juice, too. Some of them said the magic word; others just whined until their parents gave ...

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I’ve seen a lot of social media posts or comment threads that say we don’t have any studies to prove that the CDC’s vaccine schedule is safe or effective.| As a pediatrician, the first time I read that, I was surprised. But now, I think I know what they mean. I think they mean that we haven’t done the best study. Those of us in the scientific and medical fields frequently demand ...

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Most of you know me -- if you know me at all -- as a pediatrician. But I’m a parent, too, just like you. I have three fantastic girls that I love dearly. Let’s talk. My first daughter was born before I knew anything about medicine. She has taught me more than I could have imagined. I’ve watched as she has grown from a tiny and helpless infant ...

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One evening this past week, after my wife finished feeding our 5-week-old daughter, I took over baby duty. I sat her up on my lap and gave her a few thumps on the back. Not hard enough to hurt, obviously, but just to make her burp. She didn’t burp. So I gave her a couple more gentle-but-firm whacks, still without a result. And then I remembered the phone call I got a ...

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A couple of years ago, I took care of a 12-month-old boy with a cough. He had been seen by three other doctors over the last two days. Initially, he was seen by his pediatrician, who told his mother that it was “just a virus” and that his symptoms would go away on their own. Unsatisfied with this answer, she left the pediatrician’s office and drove immediately to an urgent ...

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The new school year is just around the corner (or maybe it’s already started where you live). Either way, here are a few quick tips to make sure you start the year off right: 1. Sleep is key: Poor or insufficient sleep can have significant effects on school performance. Many of us (myself included) let our children stay up later during the summer months. But as school starts back, it’s important ...

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Move over, placenta eating -- there’s a new player on the newborn scene, and its name is vaginal seeding. In case this practice hasn’t crossed your radar yet, it’s a practice involving transferring bacteria from a mother’s vagina to a newborn who was delivered by C-section. Before you stop reading because you think that sounds gross, remember that the majority of babies pass through the vagina on their way into ...

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If you’re like most parents, you want your kids to be healthy. And if your kids are like most kids, that isn’t always the case. The most frequent illness of childhood is the common cold, and children -- especially those in daycare -- can get several of these infections per year. While cold viruses rarely result in significant complications, they certainly cause their share of discomfort, lost sleep, ...

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Fever phobia is common among parents. The vast majority of the time, these fears are unfounded, because a fever is very rarely a cause for significant concern. One important exception is in newborns under 2 months of age. Compared to older children, these very young infants are at high risk for serious infections, so any fever in this age group requires urgent medical evaluation. Here’s what parents needs to know ...

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There’s no doubt that technology is changing the face of medicine. Today, surgeons can perform minimally-invasive procedures with the assistance of a robot or replace missing limbs with bionic ones. Radiologists can read imaging studies from halfway around the world. There are specialists providing remote services to patients with strokes, women with high-risk pregnancies, and critically ill neonates. Mental health professionals are now able to offer life-changing care to patients ...

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Dead babies aren’t something anybody likes to talk about. But while it may be an uncomfortable topic, it’s also an important one -- because there are things we can do to make it happen less frequently. The loss of an infant is something parents never really get over, and something that no parent should have to experience. Here’s a look at the most common causes of infant mortality and some things you ...

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It’s no secret that I have a special place in my electronically-regulated heart for evidence. There’s a good reason for that. Our primary job as physicians is to avoid harming our patients, but it’s followed closely by our calling to help them in some way. The problem is that, until we test our theories, we don’t really know which treatments will help our patients (or which ones might harm them), ...

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Vaccines First, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to read this; I know you’re busy fund-raising and campaigning, so I’ll try to keep this brief. It’s recently become quite apparent that several of you have some misconceptions about our immunization program. That’s unfortunate for people who are seeking such a prominent position. I know science can ...

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shutterstock_133154222 Before I was a doctor, I was a dad. My oldest daughter was two years old when I started medical school, so I did a little bit of parenting without the benefit of any medical knowledge at all. I remember her 2-month visit well. It was one of the few visits that I was able to make, and my baby girl ...

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shutterstock_144352681 When I chose a career in pediatrics, everyone had something to say about my decision. While most of my friends and colleagues were supportive, there were more than a few that just couldn’t understand why I would sign up for a lifetime of “ear infections and runny noses.” Even among other medical professionals, it’s not uncommon for pediatrics to be viewed as a less-than-serious ...

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Alright, we need to talk. Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t shy away from controversial topics and that I don’t have a problem speaking my mind. I try to do it in a respectful, informative, and somewhat humorous way. But I saw something this morning that needs to be addressed, and it’s not funny at all. As I was eating breakfast before work, I saw a ...

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