It’s January 2016. News stories have inspired significant anxiety about Zika virus. It’s a scary topic because news about the outbreaks are just unfolding, and this affects an already anxious group: pregnant mamas and expecting families. I want to share with you real-time information and data to try to alleviate anxiety and educate the best I can. I suspect with time some of this will change. I’ve curated the most common questions and answers ...

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shutterstock_174393956 One Google search can sometimes change everything. After learning something new about our child’s health or condition, especially for worried parents and caregivers, leveraging online search as a resource in diagnosis, clarification and education is typical behavior. Searching out support, camaraderie and tips online just makes sense. In fact, 2013 data from the Pew Research Center finds that 1 in 3 Americans ...

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You’ve likely seen the Jimmy Kimmel “public service announcement” on vaccines. Over 3 1/2 million people have viewed it on Youtube so if you’re not yet one of them you’ll likely add to the tally now. The first 3 minutes of the monologue are spot-on, and they’re also very funny. Jimmy takes a stand against the “anti-vaxxers.” He mentions that some parents are more scared of “gluten than small pox” ...

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Many parents around the U.S. are asking what to do about a possible measles exposure with a baby at home who is too young to be immunized. Should they stay home? Can they travel? Should they cancel that trip to Utah or to Vermont or even to Disney next month? Can they head out to the store without worry? Are they “safe"? I hate that I can’t completely say they are ...

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Our children will never be the sole judge of our job as parents of course. We are likely our own closest and most fastidious critic. And really it’s just us (and our partners) that can truthfully reflect and evaluate how it goes as we raise our children -- what our hopes were when we started on the journey of raising another and where we find ourselves. And so, however radiant the ...

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Media deprivation: Do you think it exists? Although laughable at first glance I know I’m not the only parent who wonders if limiting screen time could change my child’s opportunity. Those of us who fiercely control screen/device time may have momentary lapses where we wonder if we’re doing things right. Even though I’m convinced there isn’t a study telling us that typically-developing children need media/apps/screen time to learn how to ...

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shutterstock_98507504 In my mind it’s no wonder the American Academy of Pediatrics has a statement against spanking. Spanking, in the simplest form, is the act of hitting a child, using physical force to try to get a different outcome. Thing is, spanking is an ineffective discipline tool in the long run and research shows it’s damaging to ...

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Widespread news coverage has heightened concerns by many parents about a severe-symptom viral infection causing respiratory illness in children, predominately in the Midwest. Over the last month there has been a dramatic up-spike in children hospitalized with severe cold symptoms and wheezing. The virus isn’t new, but its effect on children seems to be. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed tests on children both in Kansas City and ...

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Florida politicians will not change pediatrician resolve to advocate for and protect children. There’s no question that a gag order cannot halt a passionate child advocate. I’d call the recent Florida ruling a dull tool taken to a very sharp crowd. Consider this post an open letter to Florida politicians. I live as far away from Florida as any continental American (you do the math) yet Florida politics affect pediatricians and ...

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Something is in the air right now. There’s a strange mix of vaccine-preventable illness sweeping the country (measles) and a strange bump in media coverage for celebrities and vocal opponents to tested and recommended vaccine schedules. Part of me thought we might be done with that but pageviews, clicks, and views all sell. My hope is the coincidence of coverage and outbreaks is just that, a coincidence. But as a mom, ...

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Headlines soared recently with the CDC report that the number of children with autism diagnoses had increased by 30% in the past 2 years. “Reality is there are many children who are having serious struggles because they can’t communicate well and have a hard time being with people,” Dr. Chuck Cowan clearly stated to me this morning. Like a bell on a quiet night, I feel parents need to hear this most: ...

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As a pediatrician, I encourage families to search online for health advice. Yet how you search and where you click matters. Tips for you and your time with “Dr. Google” or “Surgeon Bing.” The Pew Internet Project’s research finds that over 70% of Internet users in the United States say they have looked online for health information in the last year. Furthermore, most health information seekers (ie freaked out parents searching ...

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I was up helping my son for the majority of the night. He’s got a stomach bug (which he got from his brother) therefore I was up dealing with the enormous mess that comes with vomiting in the middle of the night. I know you know my woe. This is the second round of this bug at our house so I was clearly exhausted when 6am rolled around. First thing I ...

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Doctors are tough critics -- as well they should be. The news that CVS Caremark pharmacies will no longer sell tobacco brought about quite a bit of rapid online dialogue. Even President Obama chimed-in with praise, a response that some in the business world say is worth billions for CVS. Having a good reputation, particularly when you’re in the business of delivering health care and lending health advice, seems essential. In my ...

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justin-bieber-mugshot Justin Bieber was arrested recently in Florida for a DUI. The smirk on his face is a bit misplaced. While it’s no longer a surprise when we hear about a celebrity’s challenge with drugs and alcohol, Bieber serves up a perfect moment for education. I mean this kid (he’s 19-years-old) really could have killed himself last night. Thank goodness he’s only ...

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Research shows that about 1 in every 5 pediatric visits for “sick visits” results in an antibiotic prescription. Now not all of those antibiotics are taken; many pediatricians now use the rx pad for “wait and see” or “delayed prescribing” antibiotics. They give a prescription and allow the family to watch and wait -- if a child is not getting better, they advise parents to start taking them. However, in total ...

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PG-13 movies now have more gun violence than R-rated ones. I was in fourth grade when Red Dawn debuted as the first PG-13 rated movie back in 1985. At the time Red Dawn was released, it was considered one of the most violent films by The National Coalition on Television Violence, with a rate of 134 acts of violence per hour, or 2.23 per minute. And although not every PG-13 movie has ...

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Recent research confirms that buying breast milk on the Internet via milk-sharing sites may not be safe. Although breast milk purchased from online sites may be free or as cheap as $1-$2 an ounce, it may carry significant risk for babies. Clearly the benefits of breast milk are vast; pediatricians and health experts recommend exclusive breast feeding until 6 months of age. However, simply put, breast milk obtained from unknown (or ...

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The research published about texting and driving never seem to add up to my in-real-life experience. In a typical day driving in Seattle I see countless people with their phones out, many with it wedged at the steering wheel, stuck between their right hand and the right turn signal post. Like all of us have come to observe, it’s the unusual or unexpected driving patterns that alert me to look ...

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Please don’t tune me out on this one. Don’t let this post resemble Gary Larson’s The Far Side cartoon where you only hear, “Blah, blah, blah, Flu shot, blah, blah, blah, Flu shot, blah, blah, blah” I write about flu every year because it’s one infectious disease that is not only more aggressive and dangerous for babies and young children, it’s vaccine preventable. The flu causes high fever, terrible cough, body aches, and significant ...

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