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Daily Dose

Thimerosal In Flu Vaccines

Confusion about thimerosal in flu vaccinesI received an email from a reader who “had a problem with my statement about vaccines being thimerosal free”.  Since 2001 all vaccines given to children under the age of 6 are thimerosal free, with the exception of the influenza vaccine.

She is correct in pointing out that influenza vaccines may contain a minimal amount of thimerosal (a mercury based preservative), but influenza vaccines are also available thimerasol free.  The LAIV (live nasal vaccine/flumist), is also thimerasol free and is available for use in children 2 and older.

Although injectable influenza vaccines may contain a minimal amount of thimerosal, the amount is negligible and is deemed safe by both the FDA and the CDC. Infants are not receiving a series of vaccines containing thimerasol, and at most would receive 2 influenza vaccines after they are 6 months of age during the first season that they are vaccinated, and subsequently would receive one dose per year thereafter.  There are also thimerasol free influenza vaccines available (this year both seasonal and “swine flu” vaccines) for use. By the time a child is 2 years of age, they would at most have received 3 doses of an influenza vaccine that had  0.01% thimerasol or less which would be between <1 mcg – 25 mcg/0.5ml vaccine dose. (Do you know how much mercury is in the fish you eat or other products you consume daily?)  After the age of 2 parents may choose to have their child immunized for influenza with the LAIV nasal vaccine that is also thimerasol free. As with many things in life one must weigh the risk benefit ratio, in this case of giving a vaccine that contains minimal thimerasol. In my opinion the science has quite eloquently proven that there is not a link between the preservative thimerasol and autism. With that being said,  I also believe that the risk of an infant developing flu and having complications from their infection, far outweighs any hypothetical or anecdotal concern about thimerasol. As I have said before, we know what does not cause autism and it was not thimerasol in vaccines. In fact the rate of diagnosis of autism has gone up, rather than down, since thimerasol was removed from vaccines. We need to continue to devote research dollars to finding the cause of autism. In the meantime, I stand corrected and wanted to give all of you more detailed information about thimerasol and influenza vaccines. That's your daily dose.  We'll chat again tomorrow! Send your question to Dr. Sue! (click here)

Daily Dose

Burns From Hot Surfaces!

1;30 to read

With the ongoing heat wave across many parts of the country which has hit Texas exceptionally hard, I have a new warning for parents (and kids).  My community has seen seen extremely high temperatures between 100-106 for the last two weeks. These temps have made everyone miserable and there have been many warnings about heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and ways to stay hydrated on the news.

Who knew that you needed to worry about burns other than sunburn? It seems that outdoor furniture, metal pool drain covers, and playground equipment have heated up with these unrelenting temperatures!  

So…what is this alluding to?  A patient just called me yesterday totally “freaking out” that her toddler had gone out to play in the backyard with his 3 year old brother. It was morning and not yet terribly hot, so she thought “best time to get out of the house and get some fresh air”.  The boys were climbing on their outdoor fire pit (as children often do) and he stepped on the edge, and immediately started to scream and cry. His mother, who also happens to be a pediatric nurse, initially thought something had stung him? When she picked him up he continued to cry as if in pain, but she could not see anything at all….until she looked at his feet. He had stood on the metal on the edge and immediately burned his feet, to the point of blistering on contact!  And, as you probably know, toddlers feet are typically flat (arches come later) so his “baby feet” had full contact with the metal and he sustained second degree burns to both feet.

When she got him to the ER they immediately started to treat his burns and pain (as burns are incredibly painful).   She said she did not know who was crying more…she or her child. Once things settled down she asked the ER doctor at Children’s Medical Center if this had ever happened before!  Unfortunately, the answer was yes.  They had seen several other serious burns to children who had come into contact with metal on playgrounds and around metal pool drain covers.

This precious little boy will ultimately be fine…..after many days of oral pain medication and routine bandage changes (some of which will actually be done as an outpatient at a burn unit). He will also never remember this.

So… this is a new warning for parents: watch out for the possibility of burns secondary to outdoor metal objects.  This photo is quite telling and painful to look at!  His mother called me today and sent a few new pictures with him smiling!

Your Toddler

Long-Term Study Confirms Measles Vaccines Safe

1:30

Researchers in a 12-year-study, investigating the safety of two measles-containing vaccines have found them safe and effective.

The study included children between the ages of 12 to 23 months. Some of the children received the MMRV vaccine (measles –mumps-rubella-varicella). The others were administered the MMR + V vaccine (measles, mumps. rubella and varicella), but they received both the MMR and the V vaccines on the same day.

In total, the researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in California looked at almost 125,000 MMRV doses and nearly 600,000 MMR + V doses.

Many parents are still concerned that there may be long-term health issues that are either introduced or triggered by the vaccines. Dr. Nicola Klein, co-director of the vaccine study center, said parents should feel confident in the vaccines’ safety.

"Our findings offer reassurance that adverse outcomes of measles-containing vaccines are extremely rare and unlikely, and that parents of 1-year-old children can choose MMR + V instead of MMRV vaccines to reduce the low risk of fever and febrile seizures," Klein said in a Kaiser Permanente news release.

The vaccines didn't increase children's risk of seven types of neurological, blood or immune system disorders. No other safety concerns were identified with either vaccine, according to the researchers.

Previous studies have suggested that the two vaccines are associated with fever and fever-related (febrile) seizures in one-year-old children. The study confirmed these previous findings. These types of seizures usually happen seven to 10 days after vaccination. The study also found that the MMRV is more likely to cause febrile seizures than MMR + V.

Febrile seizures, which happen during a fever, can be common in toddlers and young children. Although frightening to witness, seizures often don’t cause serious health problems. Having said that, anytime a child has an unexpected seizure, you should seek emergency help just in case.

The researchers emphasized the risks of febrile seizures from the vaccines is small; occurring in less than one of every 1,000 vaccine injections.

"This level of safety monitoring for vaccines can give the public confidence that vaccine surveillance is ongoing and that if a safety problem existed, it would be detected," Klein said in the news release.

The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20150107/long-term-study-finds-measles-vaccines-safe

Parenting

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

1:45

Millions of American families will enjoy the beauty and fun of decorating a Christmas tree and hanging lights this Holiday season.  Whether you choose an artificial tree or a fresh tree, there are steps you can follow to make sure that your tree and decoration space are safe.

Many house fires occur during November and December when Christmas lights and candles are pulled out and used. Not only are fires a hazard, but plenty of people end up in an emergency room due to injuries from falls, lacerations, back strains and children ingesting foreign objects.

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission has a great list of tips to help you make safety a priority.

1. Take special care with sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. Lacerations were among the top reported decoration–related injuries last year.

2. Avoid trimmings that resemble food or candy that may tempt a child to mouth or swallow them.

3. Place decorations with small removable parts that can pose a choking hazard to young children out of reach.

4. Purchase only holiday light sets that bear the marking of a safety-testing laboratory. Fires sparked by holiday lights caused 10 deaths last year.

5. Examine new and old light sets for damage. Discard sets with cracked or broken sockets, frayed or exposed wires, and loose connections.

6. Keep burning candles in sight and away from places where kids and pets can knock them over. Between 2010 and 2012, candles were the source of an estimated 6,500 residential fires annually, causing 80 deaths, 650 injuries, and $237 million in property loss per year.

7. Place lighted candles away from items that can catch fire, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.

8. Look for a label that reads “fire resistant” when purchasing an artificial tree. Check live trees for freshness. If the tree is fresh, the needles should stay in place and not break. It should be hard to pull them off the branches. Check the trunk to see if it is sticky. If so, it's definitely fresh. Check for loose needles by banging the tree up and down on the ground. Expect some needles to fall off but if a lot fall off, move to another tree. One that loses a lot of needles is no longer fresh and could be dry enough to be a fire hazard.

9. Place live Christmas trees away from heat sources, and keep trees well watered.

10. Read “Ladder Safety 101” for tips to prevent ladder falls this season. You may think you know everything there is to know about using a ladder, but even the “experts” can make mistakes and wind up in the ER.

It’s easy to get complacent when decorating for the holidays; it’s something a lot of families do year after year often using the same decorations. After a certain amount of time, these decorations can become worn and damaged. Make sure your holiday doesn’t turn into a visit to the emergency room or worse by brushing up on some simple safety tips.

Source: http://onsafety.cpsc.gov/blog/2015/12/07/tis-the-season-to-decorate-safely/

 

Daily Dose

Teen Drivers

1.30 to read

As you know, when teens start to drive, I am a huge advocate for parent - teen driving contracts. I wrote my own contracts for my boys but I recently found a website that all parents who are getting ready to have teen drivers need to be aware of.

Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for teens in the United States.  Studies have shown that having limits and boundaries in place for new drivers reduces the number of motor vehicle accidents that new drivers experience. Although not all states have “graduated driver’s licenses”, all parents can have discussions about the privilege and responsibility of driving and set their own guidelines for their new teen driver.

The website www.youngdriverparenting.org was developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and is an interactive site for both parent and teen.  The program is entitled “Checkpoints”.  The website includes teen driving statistics to help parents keep their teen drivers safe as well as giving information about state-specific teen driving laws.

The site has a great interactive component to help parents create their own parent-teen driving “contract” that addresses such things as teen driving hours, number of passengers allowed, and boundaries for driving. These parameters can be modified as the teen becomes more experienced and meets the “checkpoints” that were agreed to.  It is a great site as it not only gives you a template for the agreement, but sends emails as the allotted amount of time has passed for each step of the contract.  You don’t have to remember what you and your teen agreed to, they email you and then you and your child can revisit the agreement and expand it over time as your driver becomes more experienced.

Instead of handing out my “dog eared” old driving contracts that I wrote for my boys, I am now going to send my patients to this site (which is also being sustained by the American Academy of Pediatrics).  

Teen drivers whose parents are actively involved in monitoring their driving are not only less risky drivers but know ahead of time what their parent’s expectations are. Having a teen involved proactively with driving rules is far preferable to regretting that limits, boundaries and parental rules were not discussed prior to allowing your new driver on the road.

The website is not only free it is also evidence based, and within 5 - 10 minutes of reviewing the site a family is set to go with their own checkpoint agreement.  Here’s to teen driver safety!

Your Baby

Recall: Infant Bathtubs Due to Drowning and Impact Injury

1:30

This recall involves 86,000 Summer Infant Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool, Bubbling Spa & Shower with fabric slings.

Fabric slings on the recalled infant bathtubs can detach from the tub, posing a risk of impact injury and drowning.

CPSC and Summer Infant have received reports of 91 incidents of the sling detaching, including 11 reports of infants who received a bump to the head.

The infant bathtub is a battery-operated whirlpool bath with motorized jets intended for use with children from birth to 2 years. The product contains a fabric sling on a plastic frame onto which the infant is placed for bathing. The fabric sling on the recalled bathtubs does not have a white plastic attachment clip to hold the headrest area of the fabric sling to the plastic frame.

Recalled bathtubs have item numbers 18840, 18850, 18863, and 18873 and were sold between October 2012 and October 2013 with date codes starting with 1210, 1211, 1212, 1301, 1302, 1303, 1304, 1305, 1306, 1307, and 1308, which stand for the two-digit year followed by the two-digit month, on the fabric sling.

Consumers should immediately stop using the fabric sling in the recalled product and contact Summer Infant for a replacement fabric sling with a white plastic attachment clip. Consumers can contact Summer Infant toll free at 844-612-4254 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Friday, or online at www.summerinfant.com and click on “Safety Alerts & Recalls” at the bottom of the page for more information.

The recalled items were sold at Toys R Us/Babies R Us and other juvenile product specialty stores nationwide from October 2012 through October 2013 for about $60. CPSC and Summer Infant warn consumers that these tubs could have been and could continue to be sold on the secondhand market.

 

Daily Dose

Teen Drivers

1:30 to read

As you know, when teens start to drive, I am a huge advocate for parent - teen driving contracts. I wrote my own contracts for my boys but I recently found a website that all parents who are getting ready to have teen drivers need to be aware of.

Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for teens in the United States.  Studies have shown that having limits and boundaries in place for new drivers reduces the number of motor vehicle accidents that new drivers experience. Although not all states have “graduated driver’s licenses”, all parents can have discussions about the privilege and responsibility of driving and set their own guidelines for their new teen driver.

The website www.youngdriverparenting.org was developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and is an interactive site for both parent and teen.  The program is entitled “Checkpoints”.  The website includes teen driving statistics to help parents keep their teen drivers safe as well as giving information about state-specific teen driving laws.

The site has a great interactive component to help parents create their own parent-teen driving “contract” that addresses such things as teen driving hours, number of passengers allowed, and boundaries for driving. These parameters can be modified as the teen becomes more experienced and meets the “checkpoints” that were agreed to.  It is a great site as it not only gives you a template for the agreement, but sends emails as the allotted amount of time has passed for each step of the contract.  You don’t have to remember what you and your teen agreed to, they email you and then you and your child can revisit the agreement and expand it over time as your driver becomes more experienced.

Instead of handing out my “dog eared” old driving contracts that I wrote for my boys, I am now going to send my patients to this site (which is also being sustained by the American Academy of Pediatrics).  

Teen drivers whose parents are actively involved in monitoring their driving are not only less risky drivers but know ahead of time what their parent’s expectations are. Having a teen involved proactively with driving rules is far preferable to regretting that limits, boundaries and parental rules were not discussed prior to allowing your new driver on the road.

The website is not only free it is also evidence based, and within 5 - 10 minutes of reviewing the site a family is set to go with their own checkpoint agreement.  Here’s to teen driver safety!

Your Child

Recall: MZB Children’s Watches Due to Rash, Chemical Burns

1:00

They are cute, keep time and appeal to children who want to own a watch. But, these watches have a defect that can expose children to serious skin irritations including chemical burns.

Nearly two million MZB Children’s “Light Up” Watches have been recalled because the case-back of the watch can detach and expose the interior to water posing a risk of skin irritation, redness, rashes or chemical burns.

This recall involves 303 styles of “Light Up” watches that are identified by style number. A complete list of the serial numbers is listed on the firm’s website http://www.regcen.com. The watches have a flexible plastic wristband sold in multiple colors including pink, pink with white snowflakes, green, blue and navy blue. “MZB” and the style number are printed on the case-back of the watches.

The firm has received 11 reports of skin irritations or chemical burns. Six of these consumers have required medical treatment.

The watches were sold at Kmart, Kohl’s, Walmart and other retailers nationwide from October 2012 through June 2015 for between $5 and $20.

Consumers should immediately take the recalled watches away from children and contact MZB for a refund.

MZB can be reached by calling their toll free number at (888) 770-7085 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.mzb.com and click on Product Safety Notice tab at the top of the homepage for more information.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2015/MZB-Recalls-Childrens-Watches/

Parenting

Happy July 4th!

1:30

This July Fourth marks 240 years since the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and a new nation was formed. It’s one of the biggest and most commemorative holidays of the year. For many American families, the day will be celebrated with friends, flags, good food, parades, music, reunions, water play, fireworks displays and numerous other festive activities.

It’s a great day for patriotic fun with family and friends, but don’t forget about safety and the pets.

Food preparation, sun exposure, water activity, fireworks and our precious pets all require extra attention on this very special holiday!

Drink plenty of water and limit alcohol consumption- especially if children need looking after.

Protect against food poisoning by following these simple rules:

•       Clean: Make sure you clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands with soap and water.

•       Separate: When grilling, use separate plates and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat and ready-to-eat foods (like raw vegetables) to avoid cross-contamination.

•       Cook: Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer. That’s the only way to know it’s a safe temperature. Remember, burgers should be cooked to 160°F.

•        Chill: Chill raw and prepared foods promptly if not consuming after cooking. You shouldn’t leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90° F), so if you’re away from home, make sure you bring a cooler to store those leftovers.

Lots of families will be enjoying water activities at the beach or lake on July Fourth. Make sure your family plays it safe by:

•       Making sure the children – and even adults – always have a life jacket on when in the water or on a motorized water vehicle (boat, jet ski, etc.)

•       Never letting your children swim alone. An adult should always be present and paying attention.

•       Always stepping feet first into shallow water and never try to dive.

•       Reviewing safe boating practices.

•       Always having a phone handy should an emergency arise.

•       Knowing your limits when it comes to water.

Daylight hours are longer during the summer and the sun’s rays can be intense. If possible, limit your exposure to the sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn, so make sure they have plenty of sunscreen on. And once again, make sure you and the kids are drinking plenty of water! Watch for signs of heat stroke – rapid, weak pulse, fast, slow breathing, and hot, red skin.

Fireworks and the Fourth of July go hand-in-hand. The best way to protect the family from fireworks injuries is by attending a sponsored and controlled city or community fireworks event. Leave the explosions to the experts and enjoy the nighttime display!

If your city or county allows personal fireworks and you plan on having a few at the house, make sure safety is your first priority.

Fireworks can be dangerous, so in order to prevent injuries and deaths that are related to fireworks, here are a few firework safety tips to follow this Fourth of July:

·      Children should never be allowed to ignite or play with fireworks.

·      An adult should always be supervising firework activity.

·     A fire extinguisher, garden hose or bucket of water should always be on hand in the event of a mishap or fire.

·     No one should ever try to pick up or re-ignite a firework that did not ignite properly or fully the first time around.

·     Fireworks should only be lit one at a time and the person lighting them should immediately move away from the firework after lighting it.

And don’t forget about the four-legged family members! Pets don’t associate fireworks with celebrations and most are terrified of the loud explosions and whistles they produce.  Board or keep your pets indoors.

Make sure that lighter fluid and matches are out of your pet’s reach. While it’s tempting to feed your pets left over scraps, keep them on their regular diet. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. These products can be poisonous to pets. And make sure that your pets have identification tags on them in case they escape. Having your pet chipped is inexpensive and provides a good way for owners to be tracked down in the event that a pet does run away.

July Fourth is a true American tradition. Here’s to having a fun and safe celebration!

Story sources: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/fourth-july-safety-tips

http://www.armymwr.com/july4th-safety.aspx

http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/07/02/four-food-safety-tips-for-the-fourth-how-to-protect-your-family-from-a-surprising-july-4th-danger/

 

 

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