Monday, February 26, 2018

Flu Season May Have Peaked

So this article was in my inbox this morning from AMA Rounds (American Medical Association) and caught my eye...
CDC: flu season may have reached peak
ABC World News Tonight (2/23, story 9, 0:25, Muir) reported the flu season has led to “a disturbing number” of child deaths – 13 more have died, bringing the national season total to 97 – as infections remain at high levels in 39 states. However, “visits to doctors and” emergency departments “did tick down” according to recent reports.
        NBC Nightly News (2/23, story 6, 1:40, Holt) reported data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the “season may have finally peaked.” Medical correspondent John Torres, MD, explained the CDC says “doctor visits and hospitalizations for flu are down,” a sign “that the worst is over.”
        USA Today (2/23, O'Donnell) reported CDC spokeswoman Kristin Nordlund said the new data are “encouraging,” considering the decline in visits to physicians and child deaths, down from 22 the week prior. She added, “It looks like we may have reached the peak of flu season,” but added that “it looks like we still have many more weeks of flu season to go.”
        CDC relies on network of surveillance methods to track flu The Wall Street Journal (2/23, McGinty, Subscription Publication) reported on the CDC’s flu surveillance data collection process, saying the agency relies on a network of hospitals, labs, and outpatient facilities to track the virus. This surveillance tends to capture only a portion of flu cases, and includes categories such as outpatient surveillance, hospitalizations, and mortality. Lynnette Brammer, head of domestic influenza surveillance for the CDC, discussed the agency’s use of surveillance and how effective these methods are. 

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Great!  It sure has been unlike other winters from not just the number of patients coming in but also how long the illness lingers and the severity of the symptoms.  For example, I treated many folks who normally never needed inhalers who were now wheezing and needing neb treatments.

Since we are not totally out of the woods yet, please continue to wash your hands and practice good hygiene.  Easier said than done for little ones who love to put everything and anything in their mouths... but grownups do it, too.


Also, do not underestimate the importance of a good night's sleep and stress reduction.  The minute your sleep is disrupted or you are stressed... your immune system is lowered and that is when you may find yourself sick.


Some practical advice when you find yourself starting to get sick. Your throat usually starts to hurt and you get that "malaise" feeling.



  • take it easy and REST. 
  • drink LOTS of fluids (water... not just caffeinated beverages which dehydrates you... so coffee but also soda or tea has caffeine.  alcohol dehydrates you too!)
  • make sure you are eating nutritious meals... don't skip meals.  chicken broth if you are losing your appetite. stay hydrated and think about how to make the most of what you are taking in especially if you don't feel like eating
  • probiotics and vitamins if you don't think you are covering all your basics with your diet
  • do not give up exercising completely if you normally exercise... but maybe cut down on intensity based on how you are feeling. the better in shape you are the better chance you have of fighting it off quicker...
  • if needed can take Tylenol or Motrin for fever and aches and over the counter cough medicine to help relieve coughing so you can get rest
  • call your doctor if you feel you are not improving.. or if you improve then get worse again
And I wrote about the flu vaccine in previous posts.... but given our recent Superbowl Eagles win... (Go Eagles!) ...here's my analogy I've been using with my patients...
  • You are the Eagles team (or whatever team of your choice)...
  • The flu virus is the other team...
  • Getting the vaccine is like getting a sneak peak at the other team's plays...
  • You may not know exactly which one they will do when... but you will have more of an advantage than another team who did not see the plays
  • So... even if you do get sick after getting the flu shot... imagine how sick you'd be if you didn't get the flu shot...
That is why I always get the flu shot (to protect not just myself but my older and younger patients as well as my family)... and I try to get all my family members to get the shot.

This flu season is going down as the worse season since 2009 when Swine Flu was around. I did get the Swine Flu in 2009 and I was pregnant.  That year, we did not have the vaccine in time and I got exposed in August and was sick until November. I've never been so sick in my life before! Flu can be very serious... so glad this flu season is almost over...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

When Tragedy Hits...

So you know... I wrote that other blog the night before Valentines Day... sent it last night... but all day yesterday in the midst of the parties and fun... in the background... my heart really was in a knot . I heard the news and thought "another one??" ... but knowing this was a school setting was even more troubling to me.  I was afraid to read the details because honestly... I didn't think my brain/heart/soul could process it yet... I just needed to compartmentalize this news until I got done what I had to get done...

But last night and even this morning... I did read... and I am struck... I'm still processing...


Part of me feels a little like this is unreal...  there have been too many stories... but at a school again? It's frightening to think how little actual control we have over what happens really... and now having kids of my own it's even more frightening to me... 


My brain can't even begin to process the horror and grief that these parents must be going through...

So... I just wanted to share my "go to" verses when my mind starts to panic and worry and... basically "freak out"...


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Happy Valentines Day!

So, yes we are now out of the nursing, changing diaper, spoon feeding, wiping bottoms phase... well... no, there is still some bottom wiping... but we are out of the more physically taxing stage of parenthood! Now, we are sliding into the more... let's say... emotionally taxing aspect of parenthood.  We are also smack in the middle of elementary school years and I actually am loving this stage!

Today was Valentines Day. For us, this means parties at school and since all 4 of my kids are now either in preschool or in elementary school... (when do these parties end? 6th grade maybe?) last night I was up finishing like 80 valentines. LOL. Good thing for google and pinterest!







It really was a lot of fun looking up ideas and getting my kids' input on what they wanted to do. They wrote their classmates names and signed them. The older kids helped more with the making of the valentine. Past years, I think I just bought a box from the store because honestly, I had neither time nor energy. This year, I truly wanted to avoid sweets. It helped that the principle sent out a reminder about their school's "no candy" policy. There really is just way too many excuses for sugar and candy.

Speaking of which... here's little medical tidbit on sugar. Now there is a plethora of information on this subject so this is not at all an in-depth analyzation or discussion. However, as both a family doc and as a mom of four, here is my two cents:


1) Moderation is key... don't completely deprive...

This is not rocket science, but I feel this cliche is very true...
See intaking sugar is not all bad, but binging on sugar may lead to very similar type of cravings and withdrawals that is often seen in addictions. Therefore, the trick is to not to be super duper crazy limiting... (which might lead to unhealthy cravings and binging) but maybe to offer more choices and more opportunities of well rounded foods... and sugars can happen to be one of them...

2)  Don't put it on a pedestal and offer as a "reward"

I think the bigger obstacle is to debunk sugar from this high glorious position... See if we treat sugar/candy as this "trophy" for whatever good behavior etc.  then the kids too will see it as this awesome unattainable.  Now this concept is harder than I thought it'd be. I was surprised to find myself offering candy as a bribe when feeling desperate! So discovering what to replace this "treat" with may take some creative thinking since every kid is different. But the idea is to not make "candy" the prize... offer a better alternative. There has gotta be one out there!

Alright... go enjoy your sweets! Happy Valentines Day, everyone.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Go Eagles!!!!!



Happy 2018, everybody!  

I realize I am only a month late... it sure has been a while since I've blogged.  2017 is a bit of a blur... to give you an example of the state of my scattered mind... one of my so called "resolutions" for 2018 was to get my youngest to preschool with his shoes on!  Twice in 2017, I believe, this failed to happen... so he went to school in socks and another family member had to bring the shoes before recess... So as I was happily announcing this 2018 resolution to his preschool teacher... proudly showing her that he has had his shoes everyday so far and we were on week 2 of 2018... she kindly points out... " love your shirt! I have the same one... it's on backwards by the way..."

Progress not Perfection!!!

Okay... 2 huge milestones to catch you all up...
  • My oldest has now lost ALL her baby teeth
  • My youngest has been diaper free for some time now...

Now, I thought we would throw a HUGE party once we were diaper free because it really has been like 10 years of diapers.  But no... came and went... all a blur... but yay!!

Alright... keeping this short and sweet...  let's make some history...


GO EAGLES!!!!!


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