Tag Archives: pediatrics

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

Fairy Dust or Wizardry: What Are Those Crystals in My Baby’s Diaper?

While innocently changing their infant’s diaper, many parents come upon a curious thing: small clear crystals are scattered in the diaper of their perfectly healthy appearing babe.  

These parents often head straight to the internet, and come upon a host of potentially anxiety-provoking information.  Parents may read that crystals in an infant’s diaper are a sign of dehydration, which is worrisome enough.  But urinary crystals can also be associated with dramatic sounding diseases:  liver failure (yikes!),  congenital cystinuria,  tyrosinosis, or the intriguingly-named maple syrup urine disease.   Urinary crystals are made of different elements:  calcium oxalate, triple phosphate, cystine, and uric acid.  And they come in different shapes: some are hexagonal, others are shaped like diamonds, while some take on the shape of a square envelope or even a coffin lid. 

Continue reading

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Filed under Newborns and Infants

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