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This little guy here, the Aedes Aegypti is responsible for Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue fever.
This mosquito is most active and likely to bit during the day, in the first few hours after sunrise and before sunset.
With the current worry about Zika virus and it’s possible association with microcephaly in newborns, it’s a good time to review the differences in these illnesses, Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue, all caused by viruses transmitted by a mosquito bite.
Symptoms of Zika
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, Zika may be associated with microcephaly and other serious complications for newborn babies. I emphasize the words “may be” associated as this is being actively studied right now.
Having a new baby to care for is an emotional experience! Add to that the lack of sleep, feeding every 2 to 3 hours round the clock, a hormonal roller coaster….oh, yes and your body’s recovery from childbirth, plus your partner and family and, well, you get the idea. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all of the changes.
Mild mood changes are absolutely normal and expected for the first few weeks after giving birth. Every mom goes through a period of adjustment as her old way of life adapts to her baby’s needs, unique temperament, personality, as well as the baby’s sleep cycles, feeding challenges and all the other aspects of their care.
What every mom needs
All moms need support when a new baby arrives. Many times, moms who are feeling overwhelmed need to:
• Know that they aren’t alone
• Be encouraged to get more sleep
• Have other trusted caregivers help out by caring for the baby
• Be given permission not to be perfect
• Let go of pressures to keep up appearances
Comparing Your Experience to others on Social Media
Most new moms I’ve worked with over the years find motherhood much more challenging than they ever expected. This is what they tell me in the privacy of the exam room at 2, 4 and 6 weeks after giving birth. And because there can be a lot of shame involved when things are slightly less than perfect, it’s the rare mom who is comfortable posting anything but perfect photos and commentary on social media.
This sets everyone up for a false sense of inadequacy. You might be covered in spit up, be dragging around on only 2.5 hours of sleep, without a shower in days, hair in a ponytail and happen to glance at a friend’s photos and become instantly dejected, “Look at Emily, she’s lost all her baby weight, the breastfeeding is a breeze, her baby isn’t puking all over her and I bet she takes a shower every day.”
While adjusting to motherhood can be a breeze for a few lucky new moms (with full time help and a stylist on call), the vast majority of new moms need about 3-6 months to figure out how to care for their baby and themselves and, yes, get a shower every day.
If your pregnancy, birth and/or breastfeeding experiences are not what you expected or your baby has a health challenge, the feelings of being overwhelmed can become amplified.
Many new moms must also contend with managing complex relationships with well-meaning extended family members or be asked to conform to cultural traditions that may not resonate with their current situation. These can also add more stress to an already challenging situation.
Recognizing Postpartum Depression
There has been so much about postpartum depression in the news lately. Many new moms and their families wonder where the line between the normal “baby blues” ends and postpartum depression begins.
The following are examples of what may happen with more severe mood changes, and/or those that last more than 2 to 3 weeks. Anytime you are concerned about yourself or someone you love, do reach out to a health care provider.
Call your OB or Pediatric provider if you are:
– Feeling out of control
– Feeling sad and crying often
– Unable to sleep even when you are exhausted
– Having increased anxiety, worry or panic attacks
– Unable to care for yourself or the baby
– Having recurring thoughts or obsessive behaviors
– Feeling hopeless, guilty or ashamed
– Having disturbing thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
When in Doubt, Reach Out
Take or share this online risk assessment that can help to identify whether the symptoms you are experiencing should be addressed.
Safe and effective treatment options
Postpartum depression can be safely treated through one-on-one or group counseling, safe medications, or a combination of both. There are a variety of classes, support groups and treatments available no matter where you live.
You can find more resources through Postpartum Support International
For moms who live in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Maternal Outreach Mood Services (MOMS) program at El Camino Hospital is a resource I count on for my patients. This specialized program provides education, counseling and medical evaluation for expectant and new mothers.
Disclosure: I am working with El Camino Hospital to provide information on the programs and services that are available here.
In honor of March being Brain Injury Awareness Month, I am going to take a moment to address some misconceptions surrounding concussions. Whether you’re a worried parent, youth sports coach, or amateur sportsman, this information will provide you with some basic facts (and debunk a few myths) about these brain injuries.
FACT: Having a concussion changes the way your brain functions
– Anyone who has had one can attest to the fact that your brain just doesn’t feel right. Whether you suffer from headaches, problems with concentration, poor balance and coordination, or memory loss you will feel a bit off while your brain works to fix the damage.
MYTH: These changes last forever
– This altered brain function is USUALLY temporary and should resolve with proper rest and recovery. *Sigh of relief*
FACT: A blow to the head or violent shaking can cause a concussion.
– You may be thinking Well DUH, but many people who sustain an injury are so caught up in what they are doing that they don’t realize they have a concussion until much later. So, if you’ve been hit or jolted while playing a contact sport or even during a minor traffic accident, be on the lookout for symptoms. (more…)
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. Their child, who’s away at college contracts a rare form of Meningitis, becomes seriously ill and lands in a hospital far from home. That’s the tragic and heartbreaking situation for the family of a student from the University of Oregon, Lauren Jones.
Lauren, who was from Georgia, was a freshman student athlete on the Oregon acrobatic and tumbling team. She was one of 4 students who suddenly became ill in January this year and tragically she died from what public health officials believe was Meningitis B.
I wrote about Meningits B back in 2013, when there were outbreaks at Princeton and the University of California, Santa Barbara.
I thought my kid was already vaccinated
My son is also a freshman at the University of Oregon ( U of O ) and I have several patients who also go there. My phone is ringing off the hook, as friends and parents call with questions because this week, there is a mass vaccination effort at the Matthew Knight Arena at the U of O using the BRAND NEW, RECENTLY APPROVED MENINGITIS B VACCINE, TRUMENBA.
Unless your child got one of the first doses of Trumenba over the Winter holidays, they have NOT already had this vaccine.
And, no, if you’re wondering, I do not work for Trumenba or the manufacturers, or anyone associated with this vaccine. I do have experience working in Pediatric ICU at Stanford caring for kids who had Meningitis and would like to help prevent anyone from suffering from this potentially deadly infection.
Your student was vaccinated for DIFFERENT TYPES of Meningitis
Most parents, kids and even a few pediatricians are thinking that the 1 or 2 meningococcal vaccine(s) that they already got previously is sufficient. WRONG!
Ready for this?
1. What are some of the most common problems menopausal women complain of?
Nearly 3 out of every 4 women have hot flashes or night sweats. And most also notice many symptoms that they don’t complain about unless their health care providers ask:
• Sleep disturbances
• Weight gain
• Too much facial hair
• Changes in mood.
• Changes in sexuality
These all contribute to a change in a woman’s quality of life and the good news is that there are treatments, both hormonal and non-hormonal.
I was just talking to a reporter about the recent increase in Measles cases. This is one of those highly contagious infectious diseases that has been just under the radar for years, but recently has increased dramatically. Most people under 40 haven’t seen a case of measles and don’t know anyone who had measles. If you’re over 50, chances are that you had measles or knew someone else who couldn’t go to school for a week while recovering from measles.
If your child has an ear infection and you’re debating whether to use the antibiotics, a recent study may help you make the decision. In children 6 -23 months with an ear infection, the use of antibiotics was more likely to resolve the infection faster than using a placebo. 35% of the children who received Augmentin showed marked improvement by day 2, compared to 28% on placebo. 80% had resolution by 1 week on medication versus 74% on placebo. (more…)
Lynn* came to see me with severe hot flashes and night sweats. She worked in sales and had resorted to bringing extra blouses in her car because she inevitably sweated through at least one each day. She was beyond irritable and hadn’t slept through the night in months. “I feel like a different person,” she said. “I can’t live like this.” Lynn wanted to know about all of her options for treatment.
Herbs, Soy and Acupuncture
I began by explaining how yoga, acupuncture and deep breathing had been shown to be effective, then moved into the research on black cohosh and soy. She wasn’t interested in hormones, but did want to discuss other prescription remedies. She had tried increasing her soy already and wanted something more effective than the herbs and yoga breathing we discussed. (more…)
Does your child have a cold? Here are some of my tips for parents. I hope your child feels better soon.