Introduction to chickenpox: Chickenpox is one of the classic childhood diseases. A young child covered in pox and out of school for a week is a typical scene. The first half of the week feels miserable from itching; the second half miserable from boredom. Since the introduction of the chickenpox vaccine, classic chickenpox is becoming […]

Related concepts: SIDS Introduction to SIDS: Everything dear to us causes pain. Becoming a parent opens up new landscapes within us: new hopes, fears, delights, and sorrows. There is no magic moment when you will stop worrying. Sometimes, even when we do everything right, babies die. The fragility and unpredictability of life underscore how precious […]

Related concepts: Variola Introduction to smallpox: Smallpox long reigned as the king of dreaded contagious diseases. It killed more people than any other virus in recorded history — about 500 million people in the 20th century alone. For about 20 years, smallpox seemed to have vanished, no longer haunting the dreams of most people. Many […]

Related concepts: Acute bacterial sinusitis, Chronic bacterial sinusitis, Subacute bacterial sinusitis Introduction to sinusitis: That runny nose and cough just won’t go away… Perhaps your child has a sinus infection. Sinusitis is a common problem in children. Nevertheless, it is often over-diagnosed in children with green runny noses, and missed in children who really have […]

Introduction to sickle cell anemia: Normal red blood cells are soft, gel-like discs that can squish as needed to slip through the tiny capillaries of the body. In sickle cell anemia, the red blood cells are brittle. What is sickle cell anemia? Sickle cell disease is caused by a genetic variation of hemoglobin, the molecule […]

Related concepts: Serous otitis media, secretory otitis media, silent otitis media, ear infection, silent ear infection Introduction to otitis media with effusion: Parents are often surprised to learn that their child has an ear infection. The infection is discovered during a visit for another purpose altogether. Even though silent ear infections cause no obvious symptoms, […]

Related concepts: German measles, Congenital rubella syndrome, Third disease, French measles, False measles, Scarlatina morbillosa, Hybrid measles Introduction to rubella: How tragic when a mild illness, scarcely worse than a cold, can cause such devastating effects on babies. Young parents, beware! What is rubella? Rubella is one of the classic rash illnesses of childhood. In […]

Introduction to tetanus: Even though the bacteria that cause tetanus are common in the United States, the tetanus vaccine has made infections rare. Nevertheless, tetanus remains a major worldwide cause of illness and death. What is tetanus? Tetanus, also called lockjaw, is caused by a toxin created by a bacterium found in the soil. When this […]

Related concepts: Epidemic parotitis. Introduction to mumps: Mumps has been a common disease for centuries. Hippocrates wrote about it almost 2500 years ago. It’s not all that serious an illness. It doesn’t even affect male fertility the way that most people think. So why was a vaccine developed? Well, about 1/3 of the men who […]

Related concepts: Whooping cough, Bordatella pertussis Introduction to pertussis: I stood outside the closed door of the hospital room where an adorable 6-week-old baby lay all alone in her crib. As I scrubbed my hands in the sink outside the isolation room, an electronic monitor allowed me to hear her breathing peacefully. Suddenly the quiet […]

Related concepts: Breathing difficulty, Shortness of breath, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS Introduction to respiratory distress: Is your child’s breathing ok? A child who has significant breathing difficulty needs immediate medical care. What signs should a parent look for? What is respiratory distress? Respiratory distress is the name given whenever a child’s respiratory system is […]

Related concepts: Hydrophobia Introduction to rabies: The vampire myth may have been inspired by the reality of a severe rabies epidemic in Hungary from 1721 to1728. Rabies may be transmitted by the bite of infected bats, wolves, other animals, or people. People with rabies are extra-sensitive to light, water, strong odors (garlic), and may refuse […]

Related polio concepts: Paralytic polio Introduction to polio: In 1988, polio still ravaged about 350,000 people each year, causing damage that will last for the rest of their lives. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, the CDC, and Rotary International saw that polio could be entirely eradicated from the world. By the turn of the millennium, […]

Related concepts: Bad Dreams Introduction to nightmares: Mommy, I had a bad dream… What are nightmares? Nightmares are unpleasant dreams that awaken a dreamer from sleep. We’ve learned much about nightmares from traumatic events, which are known to cause a predictable pattern of nightmares: first dreams that relive the event, then dreams that relive the […]

Related concepts: Spinal meningitis, Bacterial meningitis Introduction to meningitis: Bacterial meningitis is one of the most dangerous infections in children. Meningitis can be swift and deadly. It can also lead to chronic disability. The fear of meningitis often haunts parents. Thankfully, most cases of bacterial meningitis can now be prevented.

Related concepts: Rubeola, First Disease Introduction to measles: We’re now in the beginning of the 21st century, and about one million children still die of measles each year around the world. Measles has been a major cause of suffering and death at least since the societies of ancient China, Persia, and Rome. Before the measles […]

Related concepts: HBV Introduction to hepatitis B: The hepatitis B vaccine is the first one that babies get – for good reason. The most likely time for children to catch hepatitis B is around the time of birth. More than two million adults in the United States have chronic hepatitis B infections. About 1/3 of […]

Introduction to hepatitis A: Hepatitis is an illness of the liver. It can have many causes. The alphabet soup of hepatitis can be confusing for parents. Hepatitis A, B, C, D, E and G are different viruses that each cause hepatitis. They differ in their symptoms and in the way they are spread.