With the recent surge in whooping cough cases, we asked local pediatrician and frequent Marin Mommies contributor Dr. Steven Martel to answer some questions our readers had about this potentially serious illness.
The re-emergence of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, has garnered much media attention due to the recent epidemic.
Pertussis is a highly contagious, vaccine preventable disease caused by a particular bacterium. The disease spreads via respiratory droplets which result from sneezing or coughing onto surfaces. The disease usually begins with symptoms that are similar to the common cold, particularly runny nose and fever. Over the course of 7–10 days the affected person develops a spasmodic, difficult to control cough which can make it hard to breathe. The infection’s characteristic “whoop” cough is responsible for its common name. However, the “whooping” sound is uncommon in infants. The cough usually lasts for about 6 weeks.
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by child behavior specialist and Montessori teacher Terese Bradshaw.
Does this sound familiar? Mom has told 2-1/2 year old, Sarah not to run out into the street, but she does it anyway. Mom firmly tells her “No”, but Sarah just gives Mom that devilish little look that seems to say “You can’t make me” and tries to run away. What’s a parent to do? Some parents might believe punishment, like a time-out, slap on the hand or spanking would solve the problem. They believe that these punitive measures would teach the child a lesson. Other parents might believe that explaining to the child the dangers of the road will prevent them from running out into the street. None of these methods are very effective or helpful with a toddler. I am often asked “How do I get my toddler to stop a dangerous behavior like running out in the street or taking off in the store?” First we must understand the world from our child’s perspective. Renowned parenting author Jane Nelsen, of the Positive Discipline series of books, shares her insight into the world of the young child:
Help make your kids' snacking a nutritionally smart strategy! Nutritionist Amber Wilson, MS, RD, offers some tips on healthy alternatives to junk food.
Michelle Obama and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have embarked on a mission to improve the health of our children. While we wait for a nutrition makeover of school lunches, there’s no better time to look at what our kids are eating outside of school. According to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs, snacking accounts for 27 percent of children’s daily calories. The 30,000 children surveyed in the study snacked an average of three times per day on candy, chips and other junk food, and this unhealthy snacking added almost 600 calories each day to the children’s diets. But all it takes is a little bit of planning and creativity to make snack time both healthy and fun for your kids.
Snacking, when done smartly, is a good strategy for children because they have small stomachs and are unable to eat large meals at one time. Healthy snacks give kids energy between meals, and also help to focus attention and regulate mood. Focus on fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains when choosing snacks for your kids and limit their consumption of sugary, high-fat junk food. Look through your pantry and throw out the cookies, chips, candy and soda.
Marin Mommies presents another guest article by Marin parent coach, infant/toddler sleep researcher, and family therapist Angelique Millette. She works throughout the Bay Area and across the country supporting families and helping them meet life's challenges. You can learn more about her and her services at www.angeliquemillette.com.
So your baby has colic or reflux. Or your baby fights sleep, is fussy, and high-needs. You are not alone! Research shows that early on, up to 25 to 35% of babies may have a more difficult time with sleeping. Possible reasons include digestive issues like reflux, when babies food may come back up just as they are going down to sleep or as they are sleeping. Also, temperament has been shown to play a role in how babies settle to sleep. Difficult-to-soothe or high-needs babies may need a lot more parent help to go from active play or alert time to sleep time. These babies may be very curious and alert and may simply need more "wind down" time in order to fall asleep. And for some babies, they may have more difficulty regulating sleep. These can be colic babies or colic/reflux babies but also some premature babies and babies who may have had medical interventions or procedures at/around birth or early postpartum. For these babies, sleep may present a real challenge. Because sleep cycles and patterns develop over time and with parents help, these babies are going to need a lot more help and time to regulate settling to sleep and sleep patterns.
Drs. Martel and Herbsman are the founders of Child’s Light Pediatrics, Inc., an innovative, house-call based pediatric practice that serves Marin County and San Francisco. For more information, please visit them at www.childslightpediatrics.com.
Parents magazine’s children’s toy and product recalls finder for 2009 is now available online. If you want to find out if your children’s toys and other items are safe, check out their toy and product recall finder for the most current and up to date information. Recall categories include books, toys, jewelry, clothing, sporting goods, furniture, car seats, bottles, and feeding utensils. It’s very informative and a good way to make sure that your kid’s or baby’s items are safe. Parents magazine recalls 2009.
Guest contributor and Marin dentist Dr. Steven McConnell gives us some tips on how good oral hygiene can help prevent the flu and other illnesses this winter.
Teaching your kids to wash their hands frequently during flu season is a good idea, but brushing their teeth correctly could do more to prevent their actually coming down with a virus. Just as with adults, gum disease can lead to illness in other parts of the body, including flu, pneumonia, chronic colds, sinusitis, and ear infections.
Dr. McConnell shares his tips for teaching your kids flu-preventing oral hygiene techniques that parents can also use for their own benefit:
Join The Parents Center, Heller's for Children, and the Novato Mother's Club for a free infant/toddler sleep and breastfeeding panel on Wednesday, October 28 from 7–9 pm and features a panel discussion with infant/child sleep consultant (and frequent Marin Mommies contributor) Angelique Millette and lactation consultant Margie King. A brief lecture will be followed by question and answer session. Best of all, this event is free to the public. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parents Center is located inside the Heller's store at 514 Fourth Street (on the east side of 101) in San Rafael. Located in Heller's loft area (in space donated by Heller's), the Parents Center is a comfortable, welcoming place that offers support and education for new and expectant parents. Moms are invited to come in, feed and weigh baby, have a cup of tea and relax. There's even a special rocker for breastfeeding moms with an optional privacy screen. There is a library of books and dvds for loan, and classes, workshops, and programs are also offered. For more information, visit www.theparentscenter.com.
Here'a a brief Q&A about the "swine flu," otherwise known as the H1N1 influenza, from regular Marin Mommies guest contributor and Marin pediatrician Steven Martel, MD, FAAP. Dr. Martel is a pediatrician with Child’s Light Pediatrics, Inc., an unique house-call pediatric practice in Marin County and San Francisco. For more information, visit www.childslightpediatrics.com,
"Swine flu" refers to a specific type A influenza virus, H1N1.
What are the signs and symptoms of H1N1 flu in people? The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to that of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Uncommonly, some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Like seasonal flu, H1N1 flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How do you test for H1N1 flu? The nasal passage is rubbed using a special cotton tipped swab and sent to the lab.
Who should be tested for H1N1 flu? Those who exhibit the symptoms of flu and have fever should discuss the appropriateness of testing with their health care provider. Optimally, testing should occur within a few days of onset of symptoms since treatment should commence within 4-5 days of symptom onset.
How do I avoid H1N1 flu? Avoid people with respiratory symptoms or illnesses. Wash your hands with soap or alcohol based sanitizers. Non-alcohol based sanitizers may not be effective. Previous seasonal flu vaccination does not confer immunity.
How long is someone with H1N1 flu contagious? The disease can be transmitted beginning one day prior to onset of symptoms up to 7 days after becoming sick.
Is there a treatment for H1N1 flu? Nearly all cases in the U.S. have been mild to moderate in severity. H1N1 flu can be treated with one of two different antiviral medications that are used to treat typical seasonal flu. There is no need to maintain an individual supply since those requesting treatment of confirmed H1N1 can receive the medicine from the local Department of Public Health or hospital pharmacies.
Currently the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus causes serious health outcomes for:
Healthy young people from birth through age 24
Adults 25 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions