Good News on Baby Shots, But… (Article)

We still have more children to immunize as the recent Disney measles outbreak demonstrates, but there is great cause for celebration by pediatricians and public health officials: vaccination rates among young children are actually quite high. From 2012-2013, many of the most important vaccines for young children such as the measles vaccine (MMR), hepatitis B vaccine, poliovirus vaccine, and chicken pox vaccine have been administered to over 90% of children aged 19 -35 months. It is estimated that this level of vaccination in children born between 1994 and 2013 will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths during these children’s lifetimes.  What a tremendous achievement! But it is too early to rest on our laurels. In order to get the maximum benefit from vaccines for our children, we need to continue to improve vaccine delivery for every child. Currently, we are having problems getting the children of families with either very low and very high incomes vaccinated.
 
Even though vaccine coverage is increasing for most children, a recent National Immunization Survey (1) indicates that many children who live below the poverty line are not getting all the vaccines they need in a timely fashion. This problem is especially evident in rates of follow-up vaccines for those vaccines that require more than one round of treatment, such as DTaP (for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough) and PCV (for prevention of pneumococcal infections). Children in lower income households frequently miss their wellness check-ups that are crucial in delivering vaccines, thus contributing to the decline. Purposeful steps must be taken to ensure that these children do not fall through the cracks.
 
Thankfully, there are new programs and systems available to boost vaccine rates in children. The “Vaccines for Children” program has reduced the disparity in vaccination rates for children in lower income households by providing free vaccines to private doctors who provide services to lower income families. Educating parents on the risks of missed vaccines and the long-term benefits of proper vaccination for their children is also key to increasing vaccine rates. Hopefully, the recent surge in cases of measles will serve as a reminder to parents to get their children immunized. Finally, it is hoped that by using national media campaigns, telephone reminder systems, and computer-based vaccine databases, parents and doctors will decrease the missed opportunities to vaccinate. If your child or the child of someone you know has missed a vaccine, schedule an appointment with your child’s doctor as soon as possible. Let’s raise that vaccine rate to a nice even 100%, shall we? With everyone’s help, we can.
 
Your comments are welcome at my blog, www.docsmo.com. Until next time.
 
Smo Notes:
 
1. National, State, and Selected Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19–35 Months — United States, 2013
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6334a1.htm?s_cid=mm6334a1_e
2. Rich People in Hollywood aren’t Vaccinating their Children, by Kara Brown, September 2014
http://jezebel.com/rich-people-in-hollywood-arent-vaccinating-their-childr-1633139304
Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

How Long is Too Long for a Cold? (Pedcast)

 

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I was browsing some articles the other day and came across a gem that I thought changed my understanding of disease and one that you might be interested in. The topic was a scientific estimates of the length, in time, of respiratory symptoms in children.

Why is this important you ask?  Well, doctors use these estimates to guide treatment… we are taught that if a cold last more than 10 days that means the child likely has a bacterial Continue reading

Overweight Kids Misperceive their Weight (Article)

Overweight children who do not perceive themselves as overweight are much less likely to make changes in their life that would improve their body proportions. This is the conclusion of experts who have been studying the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Recent studies have found that children who see themselves as overweight or obese are more likely to get in shape by eating whole foods and exercising. Unfortunately, the same research found that 76% of overweight youth and 41.9% of obese youth age 8 to 15 years old consider themselves to be Continue reading

Understanding Newborn Diaper Rash (Pedcast)

 

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Anyone who has been around a new baby and tasked with changing diapers knows about common phenomena, diaper rash in the first few weeks of life. It is so common as to be almost normal. But why? Why does this happen and more importantly, how can it be avoided? Well, today I am going to try and explain the biology and chemistry behind this phenomena, and maybe even save some babies from having a very sore bum, and you from having to console a very distraught newborn. That’s a big task but I think we can do it. Continue reading

Fat Kids, Sick Hearts? (Article)

 

 

 

Information keeps rolling in from the medical community that being obese as a child is bad for a child’s health, especially their cardiovascular system. In fact, a recently published study from Germany documented that obese German children had, on average, have higher levels of blood pressure, more fats in their blood, higher blood sugar and insulin levels, and thicker heart muscles. None of this is good news for these children. Each of these parameters predicts future trouble.

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More, Winterizing Your Children (Pedcast)

 

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The Cost of Childhood Obesity (Article)

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Healthcare Then and Now (Pedcast)

 

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Sometimes I daydream about my career and how things have changed during my time in pediatrics… and boy, have things changed. When I started in pediatrics in 1982, I wore a lot of doctor hats: I functioned as office pediatrician, delivery room doctor, neonatologist, PICU doctor, a pediatric hospitalist, a pediatric ED physician, an after-hours phone triage nurse, and occasionally an assistant doctor in the operating room. A child came down with meningitis…they were mine to care for. An infant was born prematurely and needed NICU care…Doc Smo was on the case. Johnny had a near drowning event at the local pool and needed care in the pediatric ICU… you got it, they were mine as well. Well, you get the idea.

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Baby Head Shape News (Pedcast)

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