Tag Archives: health

How to Treat Warts: Head to the Hardware Store for Some Duct Tape

In my book, warts are one of the more annoying realities of life.  Though they are harmless–they generally don’t itch or hurt except for some deep warts on the feet—warts are quite a nuisance.   They can be unsightly and uncomfortable.  And they are usually very difficult to get rid of. Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses

Hacking Up a Lung: What is the Best Cough Medicine for Kids?

Coughing children are a big problem.  They can’t sleep.  They keep their parents awake.  They sound dreadful.  They cough so hard they barf (ick).  


Every parent, at some time, comes to me desperately seeking a cure for their child’s cough.  The children are usually desperate too, though after his mom told me that he had coughed for a month, one patient of mine seemed quite gleeful, exclaiming “And I have snot rockets!”


What can a sleep-deprived parent do to help the hacking little one?  Isn’t there a medicine to stop that cough?


The marketers of cough and cold medications would like you to think so.  Take a tour of the cough and cold aisle in your local drugstore and you will see some very seductive terms: cough syrups are marketed as “mucolytics” (break down that disgusting thick sludge in your lungs!), “expectorants” (out, out, damn goo), and “suppressants” (STOP that painful, hacking cough.)  True, “seductive” may be a strange descriptor when discussing snot, but these terms can be very tantalizing to a frantic parent whose kid is hacking up a lung.   


A sure fire cough remedy, however, is not as easy to find as these product descriptions would suggest.   Continue reading


Filed under Common Illnesses, Safety

H1N1 Update: Finding Laughter in a Global Pandemic

A firm believer that humor eases our stress in times of crisis, I wrote a previous post about my favorite moments in the virus-formerly-known-as-the-swine-flu epidemic (now pandemic).  But they just keep coming.  Here are several that hit my funnybone recently.

  • Thanks to Dr. Rahul Parikh for pointing me to the variety of multimedia tools that the CDC has pulled out for this one! 
    • You can send your coworkers and friends an e-card to remind them to wash their hands, cover their sneezes, and keep their snotty little ones out of your kid’s school.  But please “send all”– I’m pretty certain I would be offended if I received one of these directed just at me.
    • You can browse flikr to see electron micrograph pictures of the dastardly flu virus itself.  There are also pictures of people getting immunizations, presumably part of a vaccine campaign:  don’t miss the black and white photo of a woman getting an immunization from a device that looks like a nail gun.  Now that’s going to make the kids rush in to get their flu shots!
  • Dr Parikh also highlighted the potential of this outbreak to start a whole new fashion movement.  I’m heading in to work today with a sharpy and my favorite red lipstick to make sure that my N95 mask is tres chic.
  • Many of my patients ask me about the prudence of so-called “chicken pox parties” but the idea of a swine flu party is altogether batty.  I agree with US officials who call it a “bad idea.”  Though most people who get swine flu have only a mild or moderate illness, young healthy people–both children and adults–have developed very severe illness and even died.  I would try to make a joke about swine flu parties about I cannot touch the British humor of Bryony Gordon.  

Are you finding some humor amidst the chaos and tragedy of this pandemic?  If so, please share.  We can all use a laugh in these trying times.

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    Filed under In The News

    Going Nuts: The Latest on the Pistachio Recall

    First peanuts, now pistachios….  What can a hungry child eat anymore?


    After Salmonella infections were identified in peanuts, many parents are nervous about feeding their young children products containing peanuts and have switched to alternative nut products.


    Recently, however, Salmonella bacteria have been detected some pistachio products processed by Seton Pistachio of Terra Bella Inc.


    Salmonella is a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal infection:  vomiting and diarrhea.  These infections can be mild or they can be severe, especially in young children.

    Continue reading


    Filed under In The News, Safety

    Keeping Fit as Parents: When Can You Use a Jogging Stroller

    Many of the active parents in my practice, eager to stay fit in this new phase of their lives, want to know when they can go jogging with their new baby. 

    A pediatrician friend of mine recently asked my opinion on the subject.
    He also forwarded me an email he got from their pediatrician. Continue reading

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    Filed under Newborns and Infants, Safety

    Humor in Chaos: Watching The Swine Flu Epidemic Evolve

    As I said in a previous post, being on the front line of a potential global pandemic is fascinating and not a little scary.  Since I shared my thoughts about swine flu, it appears that though the disease continues to spread, it is currently neither as contagious nor as deadly as experts feared.  We will see how it evolves and whether it adapts to become a serious threat or not.

    In the meantime, because sometimes we have to find humor to ease our stress, I will share several of my favorite moments in the epidemic so far:   Continue reading


    Filed under Common Illnesses, General Commentary, In The News

    Top Child Health News of 2008, Continued

    Part 2:  Here is my synopsis and opinion on the 2nd half of the top 10 most read online pediatric and adolescent medicine stories of 2008.  The previous post is here.

    • When Are Temper Tantrums in Preschool Children Cause for Concern? 
      • Most toddlers and pre-schoolers have the occasional, or even frequent, tantrums but are generally healthy. In some children, however, they can be an early sign of depression or disruptive disorders.  If you have concerns about the frequency or quality of your child’s tantrums, please see your doctor.  
    • Vaccines in the News
      • Two new combination vaccines have been approved this year.  The AAP strongly encourages the use of combination vaccines, as it helps assure that children receive their vaccines on schedule.  I think they’re nice because in my quest to prevent life-threatening illnesses, I have to stick fewer needles into children.  The kids seem to agree. Continue reading

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    Filed under Common Illnesses, Healthy Eating, In The News, Newborns and Infants, Vaccines

    Nearing Global Pandemic: What You Need to Know About Swine Flu and Children


    What do you do when you hear “global pandemic?”  Is it time to build a bunker?  Should you and your family lock yourself in with enough PB&J for weeks of sustenance? With swine flu creeping towards meeting the definition of global pandemic, everyone is in a flutter.  Parents especially are wondering how to protect their families from this illness.


    Today it was announced that there is at least one case of swine flu in my home, San Francisco.  Being on the front line of a potential pandemic is quite an experience, and at times I am tempted to feel a little nervous myself.   At the moment, however, the best thing that all of us can do is use common sense, stay informed, and, as usual:  don’t panic.


    What do we know about the swine flu?   Continue reading


    Filed under Common Illnesses, In The News

    Top 10 Child Health Articles of 2008: The Science of Medicine

    Physicians are always trying to stay abreast of the latest news in order to provide excellent care for their patients.  Parents, too, can learn from cutting edge medical news.  

    Do you want to know what your child’s doctor is reading about?  Here is my take on the first five of top 10 most read online pediatric and adolescent medicine stories of 2008, according to Journal Watch.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on the 2nd half later this week.  

    • Regularly Eating Breakfast Reduces Weight Gain
      • Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  This one we’ve known for a while.  So get up a few minutes earlier to make sure that breakfast fits into the morning rush every day. Continue reading

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    Filed under Common Illnesses, Healthy Eating, In The News

    Are Cloth Diapers an Option For Working Parents? Tips From The Experts: Working Moms!

    “Why can’t we seem to interest him in the toilet?” the parents of a 26-month-old patient recently said to me, “We were assured that he would be potty trained at least 6 months earlier than kids who wear disposable diapers.” 

    Parents choose to swaddle their little ones in cloth rather than disposable diapers for many reasons:  most would like to raise their children with the least environmental impact possible; many worry about rashes or other conditions caused by the chemicals and fragrances in disposable diapers; others have done cost-effectiveness calculations and found that cloth diapers may be more economical for their family; and many are hoping that, yes, cloth diapers would lead to earlier potty training.

    Reusable diapers can, however, seem like more effort than disposable.  For families in which both parents work outside the home, however, time is precious, and the potential for added labor in an already stretched family may be just too much.

    Here are some tips from working moms (and dads) who are making washable diapers work for them: Continue reading

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    Filed under Newborns and Infants