Each year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes recommendations about who should get the influenza vaccine. The focus of the flu shot campaign among healthy people has been on people aged 65 and older, because they have been considered to be at the highest risk for flu-related complications and hospitalization. However, it turns […]
Flu season is almost here. Most people who get the flu feel miserable, but recover without major problem. Nevertheless, each year, the flu kills an average of about 36,000 people in the US alone. Overall, kids are the most likely to catch the flu, but not the most likely to have serious cases.
Bacterial meningitis can occur at any age, but 95 percent of cases are in children under 5 years old. Boys are more likely to get it than girls.
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.
Dr. Greene, my 16-month-old son died of complications of bacterial meningitis on 17 December 1997. Up until 14 Dec he was healthy. He got sick on Sunday, 14 December 1997, we took him to the pediatrician on Monday the 15th, where she said her diagnosis was an intestinal virus. We took him home, he kept throwing up, but the doctor said this was OK. We took him in on Wednesday the 17th with a 104 degree fever in the early AM, and while waiting for a bowel x-ray, my son went into a seizure, we rushed to the ER one floor below, and my son later died in the pediatric intensive care unit. The doctor in the PICU said the cultures later showed pneumococcal bacteria had caused sepsis in his blood, and a CAT scan had shown that his brain was full of a fluid the doctor interpreted as blood or pus. My questions are many, but I have spoken to several doctors who are personal friends… they all say this is basically a crap-shoot kind of situation, where 100 kids can go to the doctor with the same symptoms, and 99 will have a virus in their intestines, and the one will have bacterial sepsis or meningitis. Is there any way we could have known? Everyone says no. Once they realized in the ER what was happening, it was too late to save him, the damage was done. He also died with the purple spots on his arms and torso, which, I am told, indicated advanced sepsis. Is there anything that you can tell me about this situation?
P.S. We bought your book on ear infections a few months ago. Liked it a lot, plan to use it for the next kids.
Neal Woodall – Shreveport, Louisiana
In the summer of 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC have both changed their recommendations for the flu vaccine in children. Both groups urge that the flu vaccine be given this year to all healthy children aged 6 to 23 months, because children […]
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 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 was shattered by a fit of […]
I am a missionary living in the Dominican Republic. Yesterday our eight-month old son received a vaccination for sarampion, which is the Spanish term for measles. My baby book says that it is better not to vaccinate for measles until after a child is 12 months old because the vaccination usually doesn’t make a child immune to the disease until after the child is a year old. Measles is quite a problem here among children and for that reason my son’s doctor requires the vaccination at eight months. The doctor, a Dominican, was trained in the States. I am curious to know, however, if you feel that it was wise for our son to have received the vaccination at the age of eight months rather than waiting until after he turns a year old and the vaccination is more effective.
Beth Veenstra – Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to a growing problem: an estimated 35 million teens, in the United States alone, are missing one or more doses of childhood vaccines. This leaves these teens vulnerable to catching preventable infections as adults, when the diseases are often more serious and have […]
Guidelines have been set for many health issues. Experts are able to devote a considerable amount of time to a particular question (far more than an individual physician could ever hope to achieve), thus the benefit of many experts’ in-depth knowledge on many different questions is now available to individual families and physicians. A subcommittee […]