Tag Archives: children

The Chickenpox/ Shingles Story (Pedcast)

Play

Voice introduction
I was having a discussion the other day with the mom of one of my patients. She was asking me why we vaccinate children against chickenpox; a disease that her mother told her was a benign mild childhood illness that doesn’t hurt kids.  Keep in mind that almost none of the parents of my current patients have ever seen or had any experience with the disease of chickenpox.  The disease is virtually gone in the United States so everything parents know today is based on what they have heard.  This particular mom had so many questions and a few misconceptions about chickenpox. Because of this I thought many of my blog listeners probably have many of the same questions, so today were going to talk about the disease known as chickenpox: the myths and facts and the rationale behind vaccinating today’s children. Why do we bother vaccinating for a harmless childhood illness? Continue reading

New Insights About Obese Children (Pedcast)

Play

 

Introduction

I was lucky enough to be riding my bike on a beautiful fall day recently when my “Biking friends” and I passed a soccer field of one of the private schools in Charlotte. The school was at the top of a hill so we stopped for a moment to rest and watch the kids play on the playground.  Two things immediately struck me as we watched the children– first, the diversity of the racial backgrounds of the kids on that field. I think of the forty or so children out on the field running around, every ethnic group was represented, all playing with one another without any apparent animosity or segregation.  I found that very refreshing and encouraging.  The other thing I noticed was that there was not one child on the field who was overweight–not one!  This is not the norm in America these days where  35% of children are now overweight and 20% are obese. So in today’s pedcast, I thought we might do a thought experiment to see if we can explain why these children seem to be different than the average group of kids in America today; why weren’t there overweight and obese kids on that playground? Continue reading

The New 6 Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children, by John Rosemond PhD (Book Review Pedcast)

 Help support DocSmo.com by buying this reviewed book using this affiliate link. You get Amazon’s best price and DocSmo.com earns a small affiliate marketing fee.  Thank you.


Play

Here we go again with another edition of DocSmo.com, the pediatric blog that brings parents portable, practical pediatrics on their schedules. For those listeners who are new to my blog, I am Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 32 years of practice experience.  Today I am going to continue my book review series with my thoughts on a new parenting book by the (sometimes controversial) psychologist Dr. John Rosemond. I must admit, I never read the old Six Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy, Children by Dr. Rosemond. I assume that the “points” are the same as in the original edition, but that the newer book has more supporting research and anecdotes to validate his recommendations. So, first the basics: this “new” edition is well written with clear, approachable language; it is practical in layout, with part of each chapter including a question and answer format; it is not full of psychological jargon, thank goodness; and even though Dr. Rosemond does not provide footnotes, I have to assume that he is accurately summarizing and paraphrasing the research which he references.

Now to some of the solutions to parenting problems that he stresses in the book. Dr. Rosemond provides what he sees as easy answers to many behavior problems parents may encounter. If you have children who don’t listen and are prone to whining, he thinks it is likely that your discipline is failing and that your child is getting too much attention. If you have a child with ADHD, he believes that the TV and video games are likely the culprit; he recommends getting rid of them and the problem may be solved. If your child is self-centered, Dr. Rosemond thinks you are giving them too many “things.”  He contends that if a child can’t entertain himself, he probably has too many toys and outlets for amusement. All these circumstances may be true for certain children, but certainly not all.

Readers need to be for warned that this book is full of Dr. Rosemond’s own opinions, replete with “in your face” classic Dr.Rosemond style. I am sure his blunt advice will rub many readers the wrong way. I think the reason for this is Dr. Rosemond’s insistence on only paying attention to the limit-setting side of the successful parenting formula and ignoring the leadership-love side. Yes, limits need to be set, I totally agree, and a child needs to provide labor for his or her family, and TV and video games are undoubtedly a negative force in some children’s lives, but equally important to a child’s healthy psychological development are a parents’ ability to provide consistent love and acceptance, making children feel needed, creating an atmosphere where children want to please their parents, and setting a good example for children to model.  I am sure Dr. Rosemond understands how important leadership is to parenting, but I think he needs to articulate it more as he gives parenting advice. Maybe he will do exactly that in the New-New Six Point Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Children… the next edition?  In my opinion, that would make a good book into a great one. I give him four Doc Smo stars on this edition. Until next time.

Migraine, what a pain! (Pedcast)

Play
Welcome to the pediatric blog I call DocSmo.com.  I am Dr. Paul Smolen, founder and curator of this blog dedicated to parents and children.  We go beyond the office and give parents a little more depth in their understanding of pediatric health topics.  From diapers to the degree, we talk about it here.  Thank you for joining me today. The only thing better than the kids in pediatrics, are their parents.  I love bringing information to help parents. Today we are going to talk about a topic that is very close to my life experience, since I am a sufferer, of migraines… an incredibly common pediatric disorder. Believe it or not, most parents don’t recognize this headache in their children when they first begin. Well, we don’t want that to happen to informed, sophisticated DocSmo listeners so here we go.   Lets start with what is migraine?  It is a syndrome meaning a constellation of symptoms that follow a typical pattern.  Usually, a migrainer as they are called will first start feeling weak and very tired, possibly preceded by vision changes called a “visual aura”.  If you have never had one of these think of this as what the world looks like if you were looking through the air coming off a very hot road in the summer… it scintillates, it dances and distorts everything. That’s what an aura typically looks like but they can vary from person to person.  Next usually comes a throbbing headache, often focused around the eye or neck which steadily increases in intensity, a crescendo so to speak for you music lovers.  Often this head pain is more intense on one side of the head. Many migrainers get associated symptoms such as sweating, nausea, light and noise sensitivity, and vomiting as part of the mix. These headaches can be brief or last for days.  In between these “spells”, the child is completely normal.  So remember, fatigue with or without an aura followed by a crescendo type headache, often more intense on one side of the head and not responsive to rest or common pain meds is probably a migraine if the child is perfectly normal in between these spells.  If rest and mild analgesics help, this was probably just “I’m tired” headache.   So what causes migraine?  No one really knows but usually close relatives will have similar headaches so there is certainly genetics to this.  They might not call it migraine but maybe “sick headaches”, “menstrual headaches” or “sinus attacks”, but if they follow this pattern, they are likely migraine.  Estrogen and testosterone have a lot to do with these headaches so for children who have this tendency, that means onset most often in middle school.  Migrainers usually have triggers, whether that be stress, noise, bad smells, dehydration, missing a meal, certain foods, or in my case, calculus class in college.  If you are a sufferer, you often think you have a brain tumor.  I did.  What actually happens in the brain is not definitely known but the large nerve in a child’s face called the trigeminal nerve seems to be involved and cause real physical swelling and inflammation around the brain. That’s why the earlier the treatment is started, the better it works.  Stop the swelling and inflammation and the headache subsides. That also explains why acetaminophen usually doesn’t work… it doesn’t reduce inflammation like aspirins.   If your child has been examined and diagnosed with migraine, here is a useful approach I have learned and used over the years. I think it is vital to HAVE A PLAN LAID OUT BEFOREHAND, before the headache comes.  Here is what I recommend if your child starts to get sick at school with a headache you think is migraine:   -Should a headache start at school, have your child go to the school office and ask to take a usual headache reliever that reduces inflammation like Ibuprofen or Naproxen.  Make sure you supply the school with whichever you want. -Have your child be allowed to be in a quite place for 30 minutes after taking their medicine.  Make sure your they rate their pain on a 1-10 scale before they lay down.… if the headache starts getting better…muscle tension and fatigue was likely the culprit.  Time to go back to class.   -If things don’t get better and they are rating their headache as the same or worse, time for stronger medicine.  I go right to what is called the triptans… these are specifically designed meds for migraine. You can also leave a few of these in the nurses station for use because time is of the essence… the sooner the better. Two that are approved by the FDA for children, Axert or almotriptan and Maxalt or rizatriptan.  Maxalt tablets are available in a generic tablet and are very cheap… this is what I start Maxalt.  If a child cannot swallow a tablet or has a lot of nausea with their headaches, I go for the Maxalt melting tabs  (ODT’s)( currently much more expensive).  If a child gets to this stage, time to call Mom or Dad and go home.   -Pay attention to what triggered the migraine and file that information away for future use.  I have found personally, that ibuprofen, naproxen, or Motrin migraine, taken at times when I think I might be migraine prone, can prevent migrainous headaches.  I think this is only for frequent migraine suffers which hopefully no one in your family will ever be.   So remember, that migraine is episodic, escalating, severe, often localized pain in the head and associated with other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, noise and light sensitivity.  Most often they are incapacitating. If you think your child suffers from these, provide your child’s school with a written plan, some ibuprofen or naproxen, and a few triptan tabs.  See if that strategy doesn’t can’t work for you.  I hope it does.   As always, thanks for making me one of your trusted healthcare sources of information.  I will always try and bring you relevant, practical information that you can use with your children.  Your comments are welcome at my blog, or on facebook or itunes.   www.docsmo.com http://www.docsmo.com/docsmo-videos/     This is Doc Smo, hoping every parent has an advanced degree, in how to keep their children pain free.  Until next time.