I am leaving today on my third visit to the community of Kawete, Uganda on a medical mission. I will be able to go thanks to my partners-Dr. Bayer, Dr. Lowther, Dr. Carney and all the staff of West County Pediatrics. I will have a blog of my trip available at www.drkilliansugandatrip2012.blogspot.com if you would like to follow me on the adventure. I will be back in a week. Stay healthy!
Beginning in October, our office will be open for a limited number of sick visits during the lunch hour, Noon to 1PM. Our Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Marla Olish will be available for 4 sick visits. Our telephone Nursing staff will also be available during that time.
We are expanding to better serve our patients and expect to continue delivering our health care services for children at the highest level all day from 9AM to 5PM.
Influenza season will be coming soon. Influenza is a respiratory virus that is highly contagious. It causes a illness that typically has a high fever (101 to 103 degrees), cough, sore throat, severe headache, body aches and fatigue. It lasts from 5 to 7 days before recovery begins. Complications of Influenza are primarily bronchitis or pneumonia. The most vulnerable for complications are the very young (under age 2) and the elderly. Vaccination against the Influenza virus promotes development of protective antibodies so that if we are exposed to the virus in the upcoming flu season, we will not get sick. We encourage everyone from age 6 months to adulthood to receive the Influenza vaccination.
One of the other benefits of receiving the Influenza vaccine and avoiding the "flu" is that our immune system stays stronger. Individuals during Influenza have a lower white blood cell count. The Influenza virus kills our lymphocytes. These are the White Blood Cells responsible for making antibodies to protect us from infection. Our immunity is weakened by Influenza and it takes 2 to 3 months to recover. The result is after the Influenza, patients are often sick from other wintertime infections. If your child receives the Influenza vaccine, they will be better able to protect themselves from all the other infectious diseases that occur during the fall and winter months. This leads to a healthier year, less sick days and less visits to our office (not that we don't love to see you!).
We offer both the non-live, preservative free Influenza vaccine by injection and the Flumist-live virus-Nasal Influenza vaccine. If your child is under age 9 and has never received the Influenza vaccine, the first time he/she receives it, they must return in 30 to 40 days to receive a second dose to maintain their protection for the entire year. If your child has received the Influenza vaccine in the past and are under age 9, they only need a single dose. There are certain circumstances where if your child did receive the vaccine in the past and received only a single dose that they may have to get 2 doses this year to be fully vaccinated. Your doctor will advise you if your child is in this group. All patients age 9 and above only need a single dose of the Influenza vaccine.
The Flumist Nasal Influenza Vaccine is available to patients age 2 and above and the patient must not have a history of recurrent wheezing, asthma, immune deficiency or Cystic Fibrosis. For these patients the non-live injectable vaccine is recommended.
Please call to schedule your protective Influenza vaccine today!
During the summer we are frequently called about the most common health problem related to swimming: Swimmer's Ear. Swimmer's Ear or Otitis Externa is a condition in which the ear canl becomes infected. It is very painful. Treatment requires antibiotic drops with anti-inflammatory steroids to placed in the ear canal and of course not swimming til healed. Fever is rare with Swimmer's Ear. The presenting symptom is usually pain to touch of the external ear.
Swimmer's Ear develops from prolonged contact of pool water or lake/ocean water inside the ear canal. The water causes the skin to become edematous and the pool chemicals cause inflammation and lastly skin bacteria get into the wet, inflammed skin and infection begins.
Prevention of Swimmer's Ear is best accomplished by making sure the ear canal is dry after finished swimming. Over the counter products such as Dri-Ear drops use Rubbing Alcohol to accomplish this. I generally recommend the use of a easy to prepare home remedy for prevention. Mix equal parts of Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol and White Vinegar and after finished swimming place 4 to 5 drops in each ear canal. The alcohol dries the skin, the hydrogen peroxide kills germs and the vinegar decreases inflammation. This mixture should never be used if your child has ear pain or ear tubes.
Have a great summer!
As the hot Memorial Day weekend has shown us, Summer is officially here! Hopefully we are all starting off happy and healthy! As we all know summer can present us with health problems. Here are some prevention tips for common problems.
There are numerous sunblock products available. The most common sunblock active ingredient is Titanium dioxide. For the immediate St. Louis area, we recommend at least a SPF 30 type. The most important thing to remember is to reapply every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. No product is truly waterproof. For sensitive skin Neutrogena products are excellent. If you are protecting an infant under 6 months you may not use the titanium containing products. Please search for a Zinc Oxide product. Shade and UV blocking swimsuits and swimshirts are also very effective. Also if you react to the titanium products, the zinc oxide products should work. Blue Lizard products from Australia use Zinc Oxide and are available at online stores. Coppertone for Sensitive Skin also uses Zinc Oxide.
Mosquitos are common in the St. Louis area. Rarely do they carry disease although in the recent past the West Nile Virus which causes encephalitis has been found in the St. Louis area. Mosquitos like to feed from around 4pm til 11pm. There are many choices for mosquito repellents. For the young (less than 13 years) we do not recommend the use of DEET containing products. There are several non-DEET formulas. They generally use Citronella Oil, Eucalyptus Oil or Lemon Oil as the repellant. Common lotions are AVON Skin So Soft products and OFF Botanical Lotion and REPEL Lemon/Eucalyptus Oil Spray. These products work as well as DEET 25% solutions but need reapplication every 2 to 3 hours.
Have a safe and fun summer!
We know it has taken us a long time to begin a presence on the internet but we are finally here. We hope our website becomes a regular visit for your family as you care for children from newborns to young adults. We hope to provide useful information, ease of use and accessibility to our practice through our website.
From scheduling well child care to getting copies of medical records to non-urgent medical questions you may access us through MyMercy.net. Also feel free to contact us with any concerns or suggestions to improve our office or website. We look forward to your visiting us-both in person and on the website!
As the school year comes to a close, we at West County Pediatrics are opening up our schedules to do all the well child care and Sports/School/Summer Camp physicals for our patients. Again call as soon as possible so we may get your child their needed physical completed. You may also schedule through MyMercy.net.
On the WCP News page we will update regularly with news for children's healthcare, reminders for scheduling needed exams annual Influenza Vaccination, and updates on illness outbreaks in our community.
Follow along! West County Pediatrics is finally on the world wide web!