Tag Archives: Medicine

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

It’s All Fun And Games Until Someone Pokes An Ear Out

I have been getting great pleasure from parents telling me about how their children evoke my name at home (ah, the ego).
A 3-year-old patient of mine recently got a *very* small splinter and said to her mother:  “If this doesn’t get better soon I’ll have to go and see Dr. Kim.”  I think she is displaying excellent judgment in her self care, quite precocious in fact.
Sometimes, however, it seems that my name is a source of less positive behaviors.  A mother told me that her 2 1/2-year-old son was playing with another child’s doctor kit at a party.  As he placed the toy stethoscope on his playmate’s chest, my patient said “I’m Dr Kim, and I’m going to listen to your heart.”  It turns out that I am the pediatrician for both of these children and thus ensued, the mother related, quite a struggle between these two doctor proteges about who was going to be my namesake in their games.  Not exactly the way that I used to imagine boys fighting over me, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Today, however, a story from a mom gave me pause when thinking about the power that my words may have on the actions of my patients.  While playing, her 4 year old attempted to stick a carrot into his ear.  “Don’t do that!” she scolded.  “But Dr. Kim does,” he replied, quite pleased with himself.
In my attempts at distraction, I do frequently search for carrots in the ears of small children.  A word to the wise:  I think I’ll switch to butterflies.

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Filed under General Commentary, Kids Say the Darndest Things

The Best Cough Medicine? A Spoonful of Honey

Home remedies are often more effective than expensive medications.  A recently published study showed that honey provides better control of cough in children over the age of 1* compared to common over-the-counter and prescription medicines!  In fact, several studies have shown that cough medicines do not work at all, either to decrease the cough or to help kids (and their parents) sleep through the night:  not great news for exhausted parents with sick children. Continue reading


Filed under Common Illnesses

Crash Helmet

Me to my 9 year old patient:  What can you do to protect your head while riding a bicycle? 

My patient:  If you hit a branch you should hang onto the branch instead of falling down. 

Nice work, Evil Kneivel.  But I was trying to get you to wear a helmet.

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Filed under Kids Say the Darndest Things

A Fast Cure for Diaper Rash

Red, inflamed, irritated skin in the diaper area:  oh no!  

Diaper rash is a common problem for infants and toddlers, and can be very worrying and frustrating to parents.  And when the wee one is screaming in pain with every diaper change, parents are desperate for a cure–and fast.  After a quick lesson on the cause of diaper rash, treating and preventing this frustrating condition is no sweat!

Most diaper rash starts as an irritant dermatitis:  the skin that is exposed to urine and stool gets irritated and raw.  (“Dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin.)   Continue reading


Filed under Common Illnesses, Newborns and Infants