This month, instead of offering advice, I’m going to ask for your input. But first, a little background: began my first practice more than 34 years ago in a small southeast Missouri town. When my patients needed me outside of office hours, they called me at home; my number was in the book. On rare occasions, they just dropped by my house, as my address was listed, too. I had an answering machine to direct callers when I was not 'on call,' and when I was on call, my wife was my answering service. I attended every complicated delivery, met my patients in the emergency department, and made rounds twice daily on the many patients I admitted to the local hospital. There were no 'hospitalists.' There were no urgent-care centers or walk-in clinics. (And Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet.)
The flu season soon will be here. Unlike the stomach 'flu,' or stomach virus, influenza is a respiratory illness characterized by sudden onset of fever, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, headache and runny nose. Many people say they feel like they've been hit by a truck. If you've had the flu, you might never again refer to a stomach bug as the flu. While children sometimes have a stomach ache and vomiting with the flu, adults generally don't. Complications such as ear infections and bacterial pneumonia can follow the flu.
Parenthood is a mix of joy and concern—joy at the gift of your precious child, and concern that he is growing and developing normally. It’s normal to wonder about your child’s progress and compare him to other children. Most babies reach their developmental milestones at or around the expected time, but identifying a potential problem is important.
Every parent expects their child to receive routine childhood vaccinations during well-baby check-ups. An equally important component of these visits is the monitoring of your child’s growth and development. Your pediatrician or family physician will measure your child’s growth parameters: height (length), weight and head circumference. She will plot them on standard growth charts to determine how your child’s growth compares to other children and, more important, whether he or she is following a consistent and healthy pattern of growth over time.
Last month, we discussed sleep for the newborn, infant and toddler. No doubt, every baby in the St. Louis area is now sleeping soundly through the night, and parents are well rested and refreshed, right? But what about those with older kids?
My daughter and son-in-law recently took a trip and generously gave my wife and me the opportunity to babysit their three children: ages 2, 4 and 6. This was a fun, but exhausting, experience. There’s a reason that people in their 60s don’t have really young children! It was during our time with them that we were reminded how important sleep is to all of us.
Back in the ‘good old days’ (i.e., the 1980s), when I was a country doctor, I often was the first source patients looked to for medical advice. In 2014, people now routinely refer to the Internet for information, and therefore, for medical advice. While information is readily available, how accurate and trustworthy is it?
I have one sister, and I remember fighting with her as a child. I have two children, and I also remember them fighting. I have five grandchildren; and, of course, those charming cherubs never fight—although they do have occasional challenges with interpersonal conflict resolution. Every relationship has the potential for conflict, so the manner in which those conflicts are resolved is critical.
Ah, the beginning of another year, time to reflect and make resolutions. If you’re looking for suggestions, how about sitting down for family dinners? We’ve all seen the Norman Rockwell painting of the family sitting down for Thanksgiving. Multiple generations are ready to share the turkey. Just how they planned to carve that turkey at the dining room table has always been a mystery to me, but that’s another story. The message that picture sends is one of a family coming together for conversation and sustenance.
As the holidays approach, many of us are thinking of gifts for our children and family. Some may be considering the gift of a pet. The purchase of a pet is much different than buying a toy or clothes because there are many things to consider.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Bob Bergamini, has given many talks and shared much information about safety in the cyber-world for kids and teens. So I asked Dr. Bob to share some thoughts about this important topic for this month’s column.
Your children have been back in school for a few weeks now, and it is time for parent–teacher conferences. In addition to discovering whether the teacher really is demanding, unfair and beyond reason (as you may have heard), what can you do to make the best use of the 15 to 20 minutes you have with him or her? I suggest organizing your discussion into general areas.
Franklin Roosevelt once said, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. After 30 years of practice, I can tell you that, in addition to fear itself, parents fear fever! What is fever, when is it a concern, when and how should it be treated, and why should we care about it?
Terri McLain, Roger Steinbecker, Douglas Durand, Dr. Joseph Kahn
Dr. Joseph and Karen Kahn
School will begin for most youngsters in two or three weeks. For some children and their parents, the transition from summer vacation to the school year is easy; but for others, it is more of a challenge. Some kids will breeze into the classroom, while some will enter under protest. A few parents will shed a tear as they leave their child at school, while others will find it hard to restrain their joy. For those who may have a more difficult time, here are a few tips for getting the school year off to a good start.
We’ve finally gotten some consistently dry and warm weather, so the kids are ready to play outside! While we always say it’s important to get fresh air, it’s also important to be aware of possible dangers that exist outdoors for kids of all ages. As parents and grandparents, we can’t prevent all accidents but we can take steps to reduce the risks.
When a baby arrives in this world, the last thing a parent wants to hear is there may be a medical problem. In many cases, however, the earlier a problem is diagnosed, the better the treatment options and outcome.
Following graduation from college, I spent four years in medical school, then three years in a pediatric residency. This was long before medical student and resident work hours were restricted, so I spent up to 100 hours each week for many years learning medicine – specifically pediatric medicine. I’ve spent the rest of my life practicing to get it right. After all the time, effort and expense, what have I spent most of my professional time doing? Talking about poop: too much, not enough, too hard, too loose—you name it, some mom, dad or grandma has worried about it, and I’ve discussed it.
I am blessed with five grandchildren; and two of them are blessed—or cursed—with allergies. I’ve previously discussed food allergies; and this month, we talk about springtime environmental allergies. Once again, I called on my colleague, Mercy Clinic pediatric allergist Dr. Laura Esswein, to share her expertise.
Physical inactivity literally is killing America. Data indicates that 11 percent of children ages 6 to 11, and 14 percent of those ages 11 to 16, are obese. In addition, more than one-half of adults don’t meet recommended levels of activity, and half of them have no regular physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles lead to increased health risks and higher health care costs. Since this habit of inactivity begins early in life, the promotion of physical activity among children is imperative for their health and for the future of our nation.
I have five grandchildren, one as much fun and as charming as the next. Two of them are allergic to foods: One has allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds and melons; the other is allergic to milk, soy and eggs. When I was a kid—in what my children refer to as ‘the olden days’—I can’t remember any of my friends having food allergies. And when I began practicing pediatrics in 1980, food allergies were quite rare. In recent years, food allergies seem to be more common. I asked my colleague and Mercy Clinic pediatric allergist Dr. Laura Esswein, who cares for both of my allergic grandchildren, about this. Here are some of her thoughts:
On the evening of Dec. 14, hours after the tragic killings of innocents in Connecticut, Mercy Children’s Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Duru Sakhrani participated in an expert panel on KSDK on how to communicate with children during times of tragedy. How should we discuss situations like the death of a loved one, a pending divorce, or the loss of a home? Here are some of her tips.
We’re all familiar with the Norman Rockwell version of Thanksgiving dinners: grandma with the turkey, grandpa ready to carve, smiling faces, and children sitting expectantly—family bliss immortalized. I’m certain that all of your holiday celebrations are exactly like that, right? On the outside chance that you’ve experienced otherwise, here are a few tips for dealing with the stress that sometimes accompanies this time of year.