Category Archives: influenza

Flu vaccinations are working

Having encouraged all of you to be vaccinated against the flu, we think this is a good time to give you a local update.

Here are some very interesting statistics:

  • So far this season, Georgetown Pediatrics has administered 4200 doses of flu vaccine, including both shots and nasal mist.
  • We have had 76  positive flu tests in our office.  Of those 76, one was influenza type B, one was both influenza A and B, and 74 were influenza type A (H1N1).
  • Only 22 patients who received flu vaccine in our office also tested positive in our office for the flu.  Of course, some patients may have been diagnosed with the flu elsewhere or had the flu and weren’t diagnosed at all, or some may have received the vaccine elsewhere.  Even so, we are happy to note that only 1 in 190 patients who received our vaccines tested positive for flu here.

 

The bottom line is that flu vaccine works.

Something else you should know:  it isn’t too late to get the vaccine.  Even if you’ve already had the flu, it was likely type A, and you can still contract type B.  Both types are covered by the vaccines.  Once kids are back in school after these snow days the virus is bound to be spread more.
We often see cases of influenza B all the way until spring break, so don’t hesitate to come in.  Just remember that if you receive the nasal mist you will test positive for the flu for about two weeks, because it’s a live vaccine and the test is a nasal swab.

As winter drags on, you may not be able to stop the snow and ice, but you can certainly lower the risk of your family getting the flu.

 

© 2013, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Keeping Healthy

Cold and flu season is here.  It arrives with colder weather as people spend more time indoors, in close quarters, where germs are more easily passed from one person to another.

Here are just a few reminders of how to help keep your family healthy.

  • Wash hands.  Good old soap and water are still the best protection against contagious diseases that get passed through touching surfaces, shaking hands, etc.  Get your family in the practice of washing their hands often.  When soap and water are not handy, use hand sanitizer.
  • Get plenty of sleep.  Being well-rested keeps your immune system stronger.
  • Don’t share.  Okay, you teach your kids to share, but some things ought to be for just one person.  Water and soda bottles, lip balm, musical instruments all fall into this category.  If you have a youngster in child care, make sure the provider sanitizes toys and tables daily.
  • Cover.  Cough or sneeze into a tissue.  If there’s no tissue, use the crook of your elbow instead of your hand.  Germs on the hand are more easily transferred to other people or surfaces.

Already have a cold?  Continue to do all the above, and make sure you stay hydrated.  Drinking plenty of fluids keeps mucous thin and your throat moist.  Avoid caffeinated beverages.

It’s going to be a long winter, and your family will likely get colds at some point.  Use the common sense advice above, and you may have fewer of them.

 

artwork by Kennedy

artwork by Kennedy

© 2013, MBS Writing Services.  All rights reserved.

Television–friend or foe?

Well, honestly, it can be both.

With all the appropriate attention given to the internet these days, and its inherent worries for parents, we seem to have forgotten the conversation about television.

How many TVs are in your home?  Who has access to them when?  What are your children watching?  And what are your kids watching when you’re not watching the kids?

Content on television, even content aimed at youngsters, varies from brilliant to pitiful.  Additionally, the volume of television or videos watched can make a difference in your child’s mental and social development.

Any parent these days occasionally pops in a video or turns on the television so you’ll have a few uninterrupted minutes to cook supper, take a shower, or just relax without hearing a thousand questions.  There’s nothing wrong with that, to a point, because television has its good and bad aspects.

First, the good.  Most American kids today have learned or practiced their numbers and letters with Sesame Street, and have absorbed important social skills from Mister Rogers.  Or, they have simply been entertained by cartoons, music, and Animal Planet.  There is a big world out there, and television is a good source for information and for reinforcing skills learned at home or school.

But, not all is perfect in front of the TV.  Here are some concerns you should be aware of:

  • Social.  Though social skills can be reinforced effectively on the screen, nothing takes the place of real interaction.  Turn off the television and play a board game.  Perch your child on a chair in the kitchen while you cook and encourage him to tell you about his day.  Give the video screen in your vehicle a rest and play a car tag game or have a conversation about your road trip, whether it’s a couple of miles or a couple thousand.
  • Physical.  Too much television means too little physical activity.  That can lead to weight gain (especially when high calorie snacks are involved) and other health and wellness issues.  Get your child involved in a sport, or just play catch in the backyard.

 

What to do, then?  Here are some thoughts.

  • Limit viewing time.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NO television for children under the age of 2, so that they can develop through interaction with adults and other children.  They also recommend limiting television viewing for older children to 1-2 hours/day of “educational, nonviolent programs,” supervised by a responsible adult.
  • Supervise.  You should know what your child is watching at all times.
  • Keep the television out of your children’s bedrooms.  Not only will they watch things you don’t want them to watch, their sleep patterns may be interrupted and they may be tempted to “hibernate,” avoiding healthy social interaction with family and friends.
  • Talk about television programs.  Older children and adolescents, especially, can benefit from conversations about their favorite (and your favorite) shows.  This is a good way to share something that’s important to your teen, while being sure she knows your values.
  • Turn it off.  Don’t keep the television on for “background noise.”  And be sure to limit when you have on the news.  Young children don’t need to see scenes of war, destruction, natural disasters.  Such  images lead to anxiety and sleeplessness.

 

Television can be a great tool for education and for fun.  We just need to make sure it doesn’t take the place of more important things!

artwork by Emily N., winner of our Pumpkin Coloring Contest!

artwork by Emily N., winner of our Pumpkin Coloring Contest!

 

© 2013 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

It’s time for flu vaccine!

Georgetown Pediatrics has this year’s flu vaccine ready for your child.  Here are a few answers to common questions about the vaccine.

  • Why get a flu vaccine?  Influenza can be a very dangerous disease, and at the very least can make your child be sick for several days.  With a vaccine, even if your child gets the flu, it is typically a milder case.
  • My child had the flu vaccine last year.  Does she really need to have one this year, too?  Yes.  Each year the vaccine is specifically designed and manufactured to be effective against the expected flu outbreaks for that particular flu season.  In addition, the vaccine is effective for a few months.  For both of those reasons, the vaccine should be administered every year.
  • Should my infant or toddler get a flu vaccine?  Yes, if he’s at least 6 months old.  Children who are 6 months to 2 years old are especially susceptible to the flu and it can be very dangerous for them.
  • Should my child get the flu vaccine as an injection or as the nasal mist?  That depends.  The nasal mist is easier for most people to take, and is approved for those between the ages of 2 and 49.  Since it is a live (though weakened) virus, the short-term side effects (cold-like symptoms) can be a little stronger as the body’s natural reactions take effect.  Children who have a compromised immune system  (or who have close contact with someone who has a compromised immune system) should get the flu shot instead of the nasal spray.  Also, those with certain health conditions like asthma or wheezing, or conditions requiring long-term aspirin usage should take the shot rather than the mist.  More information about the flu mist is found here.
  • Who should NOT get any flu vaccine?  Check with your doctor if any of these conditions apply:
    • NOTE:  If your child has an allergy to eggs, she may still be able to take the vaccine.  Check with your pediatrician.
    • If your child or adolescent has had other vaccines within the past four weeks.

We have flu vaccine available now.  Call for an appointment.  And read more about influenza and the vaccines here.

© 2013 MBS Writing Service, all rights reserved.

artwork by Josh

artwork by Josh