Wednesday, September 14, 2011

2011-12 Flu Information

This is a quick post to re-iterate that all families should strongly consider having their child(ren) get the influenza virus (flu) vaccine each flu season (aka academic school year). 

Of course, there are many details that determine which vaccine to get and how many doses are necessary.  Although young infants are particularly vulnerable to flu-related complications, infants under 6mo cannot get the vaccine.   Therefore, we specifically recommend that all caregivers of infants less than 6mo get the flu vaccine themselves (we offer the vaccine for such caregivers).

Useful Internet links:

- The AAP's parent-oriented website has a great summary of the flu illness and the flu vaccine specific to the 2011-12 season: .
- The Blue Fish website has details on our upcoming Family Flu Vaccine Saturdays: .
- The CDC has a comprehensive and frequently updated flu website with details on the virus, its usual symptoms, current national flu virus activity, and the vaccine itself: .
- The Texas Department of State Health Services has a website similar to the CDC's, although it does not appear to updated for the 2011-12 season yet: .

Please contact the office if you have questions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New infant crib standards

Here is a link to a good article summarizing the latest infant crib recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):

As of June 28, 2011, these newest recommendations prohibit the sale or manufacture of drop-side rail cribs along with other specific safety-related changes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chickenpox deaths nearly eliminated for vaccinated children in the US

If you are thinking about postponing or not having your child receive the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine, please consider the following.

Chickenpox has been preventable by vaccination in the US since 1995. From 1990-1994, the total number of annual US deaths where chickenpox was determined to be the "underlying cause" was 105. (This is not a high number, but devastating event for those families).

In the first 6 years after the vaccination program there was a 66% decline in chickenpox-attributed mortality.
The 12 year data was recently published and shows an 88% mortality reduction for all ages and a 97% mortality reduction in persons 19 and younger.

Lastly, this data is based on the 1-dose vaccination program. With the current 2-dose program, there is potential for even greater mortality reduction.

If you want more details on the varicella (or any other vaccine), check out the CDC's website:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tips on safer dosing of medications for children

Here are some of the best tips I've learned over the years to avoid confusion and errors:

1. Never use a kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon to measure out the volume of medicine to give your child.  Eating utensils and cooking measurers are notoriously inaccurate.  Instead, use a medicine syringe.  These are often found in the package, you can purchase them at your local drugstore, or most pharmacies will give you a dosing syringe or two (especially if you are filling a prescription at the same time).

2. FIRST, figure out what your goal dose is for your child in milligrams (mg) of medicine rather than in volume of fluid.  THEN, see what the concentration of mg is per millilter (5ml is one teaspoon, therefore the concentration is often displayed as mg per 5ml).  For tablets or capsules you want to verify the mg per tablet/capsule.
Once you know what the goal dose is in mg and how many mg there are per ml, then you can calculate the number of ml you need to deliver the desired dose of mg.
(This also works for tablets or capsules in older children to determine how many tabs or caps to give.)
This is how pharmacists and doctors figure out how much medicine to dose for your child.
The trick is that many medicine come in multiple concentrations so you really have to pay attention to the specific concentration of the medicine you are about to give your child on that occasion.

3.  Make sure that shake up your liquid medicine before giving it.  This is particularly important liquid medicines that are suspensions.  Suspensions are liquids with small solid particles "suspended" in them.  Since the active medicine is in the solid particles, it is important to "re-suspend" the liquid by shaking the bottle before dosing each time so that the concentration of mg per ml can remain consistent.

3.  Here is the weblink to an article from the AAP on how to most safely dose liquid medications for children:

4. Teaspoons and Tablespoons are not the same.
Be aware that a teaspoon is 5ml and a tablespoon is 15ml.
This is a three-fold difference, therefore most pediatricians are taught to dose in ml (or teaspoons) and avoid dosing in tablespoons.  If you think your doctor wrote for your child's dose in tablespoons, call to clarify before giving the first dose.

Heat illness and other Sports Injuries

At this time of year I usually get questions about sports injuries including heat-realted illnesses.  As I've mentioned to many parents before, I'm a great fan of the AAP's website for parents--

In particular, this website has a whole section dedicated to sports injury prevention and treatment (

Making sure that your young athlete pre-hydrates well by drinking >6-8 glasses of water a day, with frequent water breaks during exercise (especially when outside in the heat).  Water is the preferred fluid for hydration when exercising for less than 3 consecutive hours.  In general, commercial sports drinks are not necessary and provide unnecessary calories which can lead to excess weight gain.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Change in OTC liquid Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

It's been way too long since I last posted, but I've been busy with the new practice location and my now 3 month-old daughter.

Anyway, I thought my first post in a while would be about the "simplification" of over-the-counter liquid acetaminophen dosing. 

Starting this summer, parents will no longer be able to find new packages of "infant concentrated" acetaminophen.  Up until now, there have been 2 different OTC concentrations available: "Infant" 80mg per 0.8ml and "Children's" 160mg per 5ml (5ml = 1 teaspoon).  Unfortunately this substantial difference has led to confusion among parents leading to the accidental overdosing of some children.  Therefore, starting soon all liquid acetaminophen will be sold in the 160mg per 5ml concentration.

It is always best to base your child's dose on his/her current weight.  Soon, we will be updating the dosing recommendations on to include dosing by weight for young infants using the 160mg per 5ml.

Also, here is a pretty good summary of the reasons behind the changes from the abcnews website:

And finally, a good summary on when a parent should use fever reducers in the first place from the AAP's parent website:

I hope this helps clear up some of this confusion.
I plan to blog more often again so stay tuned.