Vitamin D – Gotta Have It!

20 11 2009

High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Kids with low levels of vitamin D may be at risk for some or all of these health problems. If not now, then as they get into their 20s and 30s. In case you were thinking this doesn’t apply to your children, you might want to reconsider: 70% of kids in the U.S. do not get enough vitamin D.

Why is this? Scientists tell us that spending 10 or 15 minutes in the sun without using sunscreen lets the body make the amount needed.  And vitamin D, which helps bones absorb calcium that makes them stronger, can also be found in milk and in multivitamins.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider about the amount of sun, supplements, and milk your child should receive each day to achieve and maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.

Ask your provider about your vitamin D levels and what you can do to improve them.  Parents sometimes forget that they need to be taken care of, too.

Check out AAP’s article on vitamin D deficiency for more info.



19 11 2009

Mumps, mumps, mumps.  Why are we having outbreaks of mumps?  The MMWR recently published info on the latest infections, and they say it’s the largest outbreak since 2006, when we had over 6,000 cases.  By comparison, this outbreak is puny, with 179 cases as of 30 October.

The majority of those infected (about 84%) are male, with an average age of 14 years.  It’s believed that at least 113 of those infected had “received age-appropriate vaccination.”  The fact that so many are vaccinated is good, but why are they still getting the disease?

The fact is, no vaccine is 100% effective for 100% of those vaccinated.  This is one of the reasons we need to keep community vaccination rates high, to prevent disease from coming into the community and infecting those who either can’t be vaccinated or those for whom the vaccine isn’t effective.

CDC states that the mumps vaccine effectiveness is estimated at 73% to 91% for 1 dose and 76% to 95% for 2 doses.  So there we are.

Maybe we need a booster shot for mumps like the one we have for pertussis.  Any immunologists out there want to hazard a guess?

In the meantime, get vaccinated and encourage those you know to do the same.

CDC explains what can happen when someone becomes infected:

Mumps is best known for the swelling of the cheeks and jaw that it causes, which is a result of swelling of the salivary glands. It is usually a mild disease, but can occasionally cause serious complications. The most common complication is inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) in males who have reached puberty; rarely does this lead to fertility problems.

Other rare complications include:
• Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis/meningitis)
• Inflammation of the ovaries (oophoritis) and/or breasts (mastitis) in females who have reached puberty
• Deafness


Five-Second Rule!

16 11 2009

Nurse Mary Beth confirms that yes, we can scarf down what we dropped on the floor (most of the time).

Listen now!

Right-click here to download podcast (2mb, 4min)


CDC’s Pre-teen Vaccine Campaign!

13 11 2009

CDC wants folks to know about these educational materials, so we’re doing the viral thing and passing this blurb along.  Hope you do the same:

Pre-teens Need Vaccination Too!

With school in full swing and winter just around the corner, now is a great time for parents of 11 and 12 year olds to get their kids vaccinated against serious diseases such as whooping cough, meningitis, influenza, and, for girls, cervical cancer.

CDC recommends that pre-teens should receive the following:
• Tdap vaccine – combined protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
• Meningococcal  vaccine  – protection against meningitis and its complications
• Seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines – protection against seasonal and H1N1 influenza viruses
• For girls, HPV vaccines to protect against the two types of human papillomavirus that cause up to 70% of cervical cancers. Each year, almost 4,000 women in the U.S. die of cervical cancer.

These recommendations are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

One of two available HPV vaccines also protects against warts in the genital area, and boys and men up through age 26 can get this vaccine.

CDC’s Pre-teen Vaccine Campaign has educational materials tailored for various audiences, including Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American parents, available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Visit the Pre-teen Vaccine Campaign gallery to download or order materials at NO COST.


CCIC Speaks Up

12 11 2009

Give Thanks for Your Healthy Child

(by guest blogger Dawn A. Crawford, Communications Director at the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition)

Healthy Kids Thanks-A-Thon LogoWe often don’t think about our family’s health until someone gets sick.

The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) wants to change that. Inspired by the spirit of the season, CCIC invites you to join us in giving thanks for healthy kids!

CCIC works to protect children’s health by ensuring that kids are vaccinated at the appropriate ages to prevent common childhood diseases. Our mission is the same as yours: Keep kids healthy!

How can you give thanks? Tell us why you are grateful for a healthy kid! It’s easy and it’s a great way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season!

This Thanksgiving season, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition (CCIC) has created a simple and free way for parents and others to share their gratitude for healthy children with the CCIC Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon.

Parents, grandparents and parents-to-be are encouraged to submit to the Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon website gratitude statements, photos, videos, and blog posts explaining why they are grateful for a healthy child.

From these submissions, CCIC will spread the gratitude for healthy kids all Thanksgiving weekend (November 26 – 29) by tweeting parents’ and grandparents’ submissions on Twitter, creating a video for YouTube, and sharing the love on Facebook.

How to Participate:
• Visit the CCIC Healthy Kids Thank-A-Thon website to tell us why you are grateful for your healthy child. We encourage you to include a picture of your family or a video of your healthy child.
• Spread the word to co-workers, patients, neighbors, and friends by posting this info and forwarding this blog post

All submissions are due Monday, November 23.

Make sure to join CCIC for the Thanksgiving weekend in sharing gratitude for all our healthy kids.

Have a wonderful holiday season!