Community Pediatrics P.C.
Contact Us
Home About Us Information Quatertly News Download Forms Contact Us
 INFLUENZA 101  3/17/2008 7:26:37 PM

INFLUENZA 101
Like it or not, the flu season is here again. Just as it was last year, there is a severe shortage of the flu vaccine. The shortage, however, appears to be worse this year. The inevitable outcome is that a lot more people are going to be afflicted with the flu this year than would ordinarily be the case. We expect this to be doubly true in the case of children and the elderly despite recent CDC guidelines that place a priority on the vaccination of little children, the sick and the elderly.

SO WHAT CAUSES THE FLU?
The flu is a contagious illness that is caused by a virus known as the influenza virus. This is a particularly successful virus in that it is able to reinvent itself every year as it makes it’s circuit around the globe. It makes yearly minor changes on it’s coating, as if changing clothes at the end of each trip around the world. These changes enable it to withstand the previous year’s vaccine. The result is that we have to keep coming up with a new vaccine every year, since last year’s shot is useless against this year’s flu strain.

HOW DO YOU GET IT?
The answer my friend is blowing in the …aerosol. The flu is typically passed from person to person through cough and sneeze mists or aerosols. One can also acquire it by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one’s own nose or mouth. This is why children are so vulnerable to contracting the flu virus. Little children are also easily exposed when their adult care- givers are infected. They cannot avoid being handled by their sick parents. They also tend to suffer more severe symptoms once they get infected.

BUT DOES MY CHILD HAVE THE FLU?
Well, the only way to tell with absolute certainty is to do a lab test. This is often not necessary, however, since the symptoms of the disease and the flu season are both fairly well known. Occasionally though sporadic cases of the flu would happen outside the established flu season. Wind currents and air travel make this possible.

The most common symptoms are Runny Nose, Stuffy Nose, Cough, Sore Throat, Vomiting, Severe Head Aches, Loss of Appetite, High Fever, Generalized Weakness, and Severe Body Aches. That’s not all. What starts out a regular case of the flu could also be complicated in children with ear infections, Sinus infections, Pneumonia, Respiratory Distress and Heart Failure. This is particularly true of children with chronic health conditions.

GET YOUR CHILDREN VACCINATED
Children 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year, particularly if they were premature, have asthma, or any other lung or heart disease. If your child is already showing signs of the flu, he/she should be seen by the Pediatrician ASAP.

 ‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE SNEEZING  3/17/2008 7:19:26 PM

‘TIS THE SEASON TO BE SNEEZING



Ah the fresh smell of spring…the sunshine, the bees, the birds and the flowers. These are some of the things that make it such a beautiful time of year. Unfortunately, they are also among the very same reasons many Americans dread the Spring. Some people are born with an allergic sensitivity to pollen, animal dander, mold and / or dust mites. So, as the trees and flowers bloom again, the annual pain and suffering begins.

If your child suffers from seasonal allergies, you know what we are talking about. No less than 44 million Americans are estimated to suffer from Hay fever each year. Children are among the most severely affected. Millions of children that suffer from seasonal and environmental allergies go without proper treatment because they remain undiagnosed. It is therefore important that you make sure that your children are properly assessed and treated if necessary.

Symptoms include frequent sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching, nasal congestion, and throat itching. Some children experience red, puffy, itchy, and watery eyes. Often symptoms are so severe that they trigger asthma exacerbations. Indeed for most children, the key to controlling their asthma is adequate management of their seasonal allergies.

Home treatment is done mostly with the use of antihistamines. There are different types of antihistamines. There are also other classes of medications that are used to treat seasonal allergies such as Leukotriene Receptor Antagonists, and Mast Cell Stabilizers. Steroid nasal sprays are sometimes necessary. Which treatment regimen to use on your child is best determined by your child’s pediatrician following a thorough evaluation.

Other measures can be taken by you to minimize your child’s chances of developing severe symptoms. These include:
Avoiding exposure to freshly cut grass.
Staying indoors as much as possible on days when the pollen count is high
Using your car’s air conditioner on long drives instead of having the windows down
Giving your child a shower at night so as to wash off all the pollen accumulated on the hair and skin during the day
Emphasizing the value of hand washing.
Frequent vacuuming of your home to ensure control of pollen and dust mites.
Discouraging hugging and tumbling with pets that have been out doors.

This article was written by
Augustine Akalonu, MD, FAAP.


 Higher Lead Poisoning Risk for NYC’s Immigrant Kids  3/13/2008 12:17:05 AM

Immigrant children are five times more likely to suffer from lead poisoning than children born in the U.S., says a new study by the NYC Health Department, with the newest immigrants at highest risk. Those most affected were children from countries where lead is less tightly regulated than in the U.S. The study is the first to examine lead poisoning in NYC's immigrant children and is available at www.ajph.org.

Of 800 home investigation cases in 2006, lead-based paint was responsible for 80% of U.S.-born and 65% of foreign-born children. Other sources of lead exposure for foreign-born children include pollution, foods, herbal medicines, dishes, toys, jewelry, and cosmetics from their home countries. Lead testing in children ages 1 and 2 is required by law. The study suggests that foreign-born children should be tested for blood-lead levels at all ages.

For information on products to avoid, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/lead/lead.shtml. To find out how to protect your child from lead poisoning, go to www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/public/dohmhnews6-03.pdf or call 311 for free brochures.

Copyright 2008. All Rights Resereved by Communitypediatricspc.com               Design by: Web Design New York