pediatrics

  1. Is vitamin D deficiency making your child sick?

    Sick kid? Check his D levels

    Evidence from two new studies has our old friend vitamin D back in the spotlight. But this time instead of adult vitamin-D deficiency it's the kid variety that's taking center stage.

    In one Harvard University study researchers found that 40 percent of the sick kids that they tested in pediatric intensive care were vitamin D deficient. And the kids who were deficient were more likely to stay in the hospital longer than other kids.

    And Canadian researchers had similar results when they tested sick kids in a pediatric intensive care unit in Ottawa.

    Both groups of researchers were quick to say that they hesitated to blame D deficiency for causing the kids to be sick. But what we, of course, do know is that vitamin D is absolutely crucial for your immune system to work properly. Without enough D the killer cells in your immune system, known as T-cells, can't react and fight off serious illnesses.

    If you have a healthy child or grandchild in your life, after thanking your lucky stars make sure he's getting plenty of D-containing meals with eggs, oily fish, and D fortified foods and encourage him to spend some time out playing in the sunshine daily. You also might want to talk with his doctor about starting him on a vitamin D supplement.

    And if you have a sick kid in your life talk with his doctor about the possibility of him taking large doses of D as early in the illness as possible.

  2. Common button batteries pose danger to kids

    Button Battery Warning

    If you're a parent, grandparent, or just someone who cares about a child, I have an important warning you need to hear.

    According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, cases of U.S. kids visiting the emergency room for battery-related emergencies have more than doubled in the past twenty years. And 84 percent of those visits were for those little button batteries that are in everything from toys to flashlights these days.

    I have to admit I had never given those little batteries much thought before. But now, whenever we have a child in the house, I will be much more aware.

  3. The Secret about Flu Vaccines

    Well, if nothing else, at least the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) is predictable. Every year at about this time (going back to at least 2002 ), the AAP goes into marketing overdrive and puts out an report urging parents to get flu shots for themselves and their kids. And this year, like previous years, they’re recommending children as young as 6 months get the vaccine. Well, there goes my dream of a more sensible world in 2009! What a bunch of phooey. First off, the flu vaccine hardly ever targets the correct virus circulating in a given year. Even the CDC basically admits they’re shooting in the dark. That’s why you’re given three different strains of viruses. They’re hoping at least one of them will hit the mark. On the CDC’s web site it states: ‘How well the flu vaccine works depends on how well the match is between the influenza (flu) vaccine and the types of flu viruses that are circulating that year. Scientists try to predict what strains (types) of flu viruses are most likely to spread and cause illness each year to put into the vaccine.’ Okay…but here’s the problem… The CDC’s ‘predictions’ hardly ever hit the mark. Case in point: last year’s flu vaccine was only 44% effective in preventing the flu. This is according to the CDC’s own numbers, folks! Why such bad results? Here’s a surprise: two of the vaccine‘s three components didn‘t match most of the flu viruses circulating. But many elderly people (those most at risk) and parents of young children got lulled into a false sense of security. As a result, millions of people who thought they were protected actually ended up getting very sick. In fact, last year, by mid-February, flu deaths peaked at 9.1% of all U.S. deaths. Annually, about 30,000 people die from the flu. And the flu vaccine hasn’t done much to cut into those numbers. In my book, the flu vaccine is a medical failure of tragic proportions. In fact, calling it a ‘vaccine’ at all is certainly irresponsible, if not criminal.
    Nevertheless, the scare-tactic marketing continues. And more people than ever have been ambushed into getting the annual flu shot.
    Last year a record 113 million doses were given out. That was up almost 10 million from the previous year. (Guess all that marketing is starting to pay off.) Plus, your local government is now starting to get in on the act. The state of New Jersey now mandates that children ages 6 months to 5 years old get a flu shot to enroll in preschool or day care. According to New Jersey state law, parents had until December 31, 2008 to get their kids ‘vaccinated’ against the flu or the kids couldn’t go to school or day care. What scares me most about this development isn’t the government gone berserk (I imagine that other states may actually follow suit), it’s that children are now required to get a risky vaccine they could do without.
    There is no question that routine vaccines cause serious problems in many children.
    But the flu vaccine is even scarier. Here’s why… Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines since the 1930s. It’s known to break down into ethyl mercury in the body. Many experts believe this mechanism triggers autism in some children. One significant study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons examined the link between vaccines and autism. Results showed that kids who receive just three vaccines containing thimerosal were 27 times more likely to develop autism compared to children who get vaccines with no thimerosal. The CDC of course denies a connection between autism and thimerosal. But, in 2001 they went ahead and eliminated from most childhood vaccines as a ‘precautionary’ measure. A lot of docs like me are now waiting for children who received this wave of ‘thimerosal-free’ vaccines to mature. Hopefully, we’ll see a drop in the cases of autism.
    But here’s the problem. The flu vaccine still contains thimerosal.
    Besides the fact that the flu shot won’t do a lick of good at protecting your child against the flu, now you’ve got autism to worry about again. For parents, this is the biggest reason to avoid the vaccine. In my book, any pediatrician who doesn’t warn you about the thimerosal in the flu shot just doesn’t have your child’s best interest in mind. There is a thimerosal-free flu vaccine, but chances are your pediatrician won’t have it.
    My advice? Skip the flu vaccine all together.
    A strong immune system is all you need to fight off the flu virus. So, keep up the healthy eating habits (discussed in last week’s GTGH) in 2009. Plus, there are loads of research linking vitamin D deficiencies and a weakened immune system. Instead of the ‘flu shot-in-the-dark,’ try upping your intake of vitamin D to at least 2000 IU per day during the winter months. That should help boost your protection against anything Mother Nature throws at you!

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