Related concepts: Hib, H flu Introduction to haemophilus influenzae: Not long ago H influenzae type b (Hib) was the number one cause of bacterial meningitis. More than half of the cases of Hib infection in the United States involve bacterial meningitis. Thankfully, Hib disease has plummeted by more than 99 percent since the Hib vaccine […]

Related concepts: Influenza Introduction to the flu: For many people, cold and flu have become an inseparable pair, like salt and pepper or New Year’s and weight loss. Walking down the “cold and flu” aisle of any drugstore, you will find stacks of bright boxes with bold claims of help for those suffering from a […]

Introduction to enterovirus: Often when parents bring a sick child to the doctor and hear, “It’s just a virus,” the child has an enterovirus. What is enterovirus? Enteroviruses are a large family of viruses responsible for many infections in children. These viruses live in the intestinal tract, but can cause a wide variety of illnesses.

Introduction to encephalitis: West Nile virus frightens many parents because it can cause a type of infection called encephalitis. What is encephalitis? Meningitis is primarily an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and sometimes of the brain itself. Encephalitis is primarily an inflammation of the brain. Most of the time, the […]

Related concepts: Corynebacterium diphtheriae, C. diphtheriae, The Strangling Angel of Children, Bull Neck Introduction to diphtheria: Once called “the strangling angel of children,” diphtheria was a dreaded common childhood illness for more than 2,000 years before modern medicine made it a rarity. In areas where diphtheria vaccination is uncommon, diphtheria would meet the criteria to […]

Related concepts: Diabetes mellitus – type I Introduction to diabetes: When a child starts drinking more or urinating more frequently, the thought of diabetes often springs into the parents’ minds. When should parents be concerned? What is diabetes? In healthy children a hormone called insulin pushes sugar from the blood into the body’s cells where […]

Introduction: Your home calms at night, the children are tucked into bed – but then loud coughing replaces the silence. It’s impressive that a body so small can cough so loud. What is a cough? Coughing is an important part of the body’s defense system. It forcefully propels unwanted invaders up and out of the […]

Introduction to croup: Picture this scene: A couple is spending a quiet evening at home with their one-year-old daughter, who has had a bit of a cold. At about 8 o’clock she begins coughing — an unusually loud, resonant cough. Over the next few hours, the sporadic cough becomes increasingly frequent. She gets a fever.

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 […]

Introduction to arboviruses: The West Nile virus has been in the news in recent years, but it is only one example of the arboviruses, a group than can and does cause serious illness. The La Crosse virus, for example, causes more damage each year than West Nile. What is arboviruses? The arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) are […]

Introduction to anthrax: Even in the best of times, being a parent can bring moments of fear. Our children are such treasures. When people intentionally want to frighten and kill us, I believe parents feel it more acutely than most. What is anthrax? Anthrax is a bacterial infection, similar in many ways to diphtheria. It […]

Can you trust statistics? Back in 1999, a report from California’s Department of Developmental Services, concluded that the number of children with profound autism had grown from 2,778 in 1987 to 10,360 in 1999 — an increase of 273 percent! The study did not include the milder end of the spectrum, such as Asperger syndrome. […]