Early Exposure to Allergens

Chances are an older person in your life – family member, neighbor, stranger in the check-out line – commented that parents keep things too clean these days. You may have even heard them say at some point, “Sometimes you just have to let kids eat a little dirt.”

Well, turns out there may be some truth to that.

Recent research on asthma and allergies from the UW School of Medicine and Public Health uncovered some interesting findings centered around children being exposed to allergens early in life. Read more

You Heard a What?

“Your child is very healthy and their exam is normal…except for a heart murmur.” No matter how I phrase it, telling a parent their child has a heart murmur always feels like I’m delivering bad news. As a medical student, I thought hearing a murmur was an incredible feat and that I would seldom have the opportunity to hear one. Boy was I wrong.

It is estimated that 33-75% of children will, at some time, have an innocent murmur recognized on exam between the ages of 1 and 14 years. Compare this to the mere 1% of children who have a congenital heart condition that may present with a heart murmur on exam. Despite the overwhelming majority of innocent murmurs, it is still very scary to hear that your child has something that isn’t “normal” on their heart exam. I imagine the questions which must immediately race through a parent’s mind: What is a murmur? How does my pediatrician know my child’s murmur is innocent and not a serious heart condition? What do we do now? Do we need to see a heart specialist (known as a pediatric cardiologist)?

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Why You Should Get Your Prenatal Care with a Group of Strangers

As a physician, when I first heard about group prenatal care, I thought this was genius!  I have cared for hundreds of pregnant women and have found that many of their questions and concerns are the same. I have also heard many women state that they wish they could have a support group of other pregnant women to share the highs and lows of their pregnancy journey.

However, when I talk to my friends, family and patients about group prenatal care, I am often met with suspicion. More than once, I’ve heard questions like “Why would I want to get prenatal care with a bunch of strangers?” and “Do you have to do pelvic exams in front of each other?!” (The answer to that question is NO!)

I completely understand this response. This type of care is a big departure from how we have received medical care our entire lives.  But I think there are a few compelling reasons to consider group prenatal care!

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Preventing Dog Bites

With the furry face and eyes that seem to say “love me” – it can be hard to resist passing a dog without wanting to stop and pet it. And for kids – some of whom are even the same size – it can be tempting to hug the dog, or even try riding it like a horse. But it’s important to recognize that like humans, even dogs have their limits.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 800,000 people receive medical care each year for dog bites – and more than half of them are children. And while you might think most of those are from strange dogs, actually the majority of bites come from dogs familiar to the person who is bit.

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