The common practice in this country (although not everywhere -- Europe, for example) has long been to treat all acute middle ear infections (otitis media) with antibiotics. This is not necessarily needed. We now know that for many children another reasonable approach is to wait a day or so to see if the symptoms get better on their own without antibiotics. Parents have an important role in making this choice. ...

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In October of 2016, I returned to Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, had touched down near Jeremie only four days prior. Hurricane Matthew caused significant devastation with over 2 million people directly affected, and over 500 reported deaths.  As local health care facilities in southwest Haiti had limited capabilities to care for pediatric trauma patients, Bernard Mevs had arranged transport ...

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In the U.S., we now have an outbreak of measles where the cases number more than it has in decades. Most of the people being infected are unvaccinated, and we’ve all seen the media reports of the growing tide of anti-vaxxers. While the CDC, WHO, and pretty much every medical and scientific authority across the globe stand by the efficacy and safety of vaccines, those opposed rather rely on the ...

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Recently, a friend’s mother asked me how to best support her daughter’s decision to breastfeed her first grandchild.  The new grandmother questioned her ability to encourage her daughter’s decision because she had not breastfed her own child, and this lack of experience made her feel unqualified to provide support.  With mixed emotions and a lingering sense of guilt, this new grandmother wanted to learn, from a pediatrician friend, how best ...

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Whenever I talk about my research on how parents come to decide to reject vaccines for their children, my explanations are met with a range of reactions, but I almost always hear the same questions. What is wrong with those parents? Are they anti-science? Are they anti-expert? Are they simply ignorant or selfish? Are they crazy? The year is not half over, and the number of measles cases has now ...

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No, vaccines do not cause autism. No, vaccines do not cause cancer. No, vaccines are not toxic. No, getting the disease is not safer than vaccination. Yes, they are safe. Yes, they are effective. As a pediatrician, I spend countless hours each week talking about vaccines and counseling parents about the importance of immunization. While parents may not know anyone with rubella, polio or tetanus — almost every parent knows someone who knows someone ...

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A seizure in response to a fever, called a febrile seizure, is an extremely common event in childhood. They affect 2 to 5 percent of children between 6 months and five years of age and have a peak incidence between 12 and 18 months of age. They generally occur after a rapid rise in temperature; it appears the rate of rise is more important than the actual ...

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The boy is three years old and quite curious about the world. He watches his father leave the house and wants to go find him. He looks to his mother but she is napping beside him on the couch, and he would rather not wake her, so he grabs his stuffed dog, Dory, and walks to the door. The door is unlocked, and he heads out of the apartment, wandering ...

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Stress! It is a fact of life for all human beings. Stress is a normal reaction — psychologic and physiologic — to the everyday demands of life. When your brain perceives a threat, the body reacts with a fight-or-flight response, releasing hormones, increasing heart rate, and blood pressure. When the situation is over, your body returns to a normal, calm state. But sometimes, in our overly-stimulated world, the stress response button ...

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While the vast majority of measles cases in the U.S. and worldwide are occurring in unvaccinated children, a fair percentage is also occurring in adults.  With more-widespread transmission of measles, it’s becoming more important for all of us – yes, that includes parents – to make sure we’re well-protected. Measles is probably the single most contagious infection that humans face. The key to preventing the return of widespread measles is in ...

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