Thursday, March 31, 2011

Social Media and Kids: Good and Bad

If you are reading this article, you are probably either on your computer or a smart phone. You are probably aware of the many types of media that our children are exposed to; however, being a mom of a ten year old myself, I think the best way to decide what is "good" and "bad" for our children is being educated about the topic. Recently, the AAP and Pediatrics, have published wonderful information about Social Media and Kids. Pediatricians and are adding another topic to their list of questions for visits with school-aged and adolescent patients: Are you on Facebook?

Recognizing the increasing importance of all types of media in their young patients' lives, pediatricians often hear from parents who are concerned about their children's engagement with social media. To help address the many effects-both positive and negative-that social media use has on youth and families, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued a new clinical report, "The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families," in the April issue of Pediatrics (published online March 28). The report offers background on the latest research in this area, and recommendations on how pediatricians, parents and youth can successfully navigate this new mode of communication.

"For some teens and tweens, social media is the primary way they interact socially, rather than at the mall or a friend's house," said Gwenn O'Keeffe, MD, FAAP, co-author of the clinical report. "A large part of this generation's social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones. Parents need to understand these technologies so they can relate to their children's online world - and comfortably parent in that world."

According to a Common Sense Media poll from August 2009, 22 percent of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day. Seventy-five percent of teens now own cell phones, and 25 percent use them for social media, 54 percent for texting, and 24 percent for instant messaging.

The new AAP guidelines include recommendations for pediatricians to help families navigate the social media landscape, including:

Advise parents to talk to children and adolescents about their online use and the specific issues that today's online kids face, such as cyberbullying, sexting, and difficulty managing their time.

•Advise parents to work on their own "participation gap" in their homes by becoming better educated about the many technologies their children are using. •Discuss with families the need for a family online-use plan, with an emphasis on citizenship and healthy behavior.

•Discuss with parents the importance of supervising online activities via active participation and communication, not just via monitoring software.

The AAP report outlines the positive effects of social media. Engagement in social media and online communities can enhance communication, facilitate social interaction and help develop technical skills. They can help tweens and teens discover opportunities to engage in the community by volunteering, and can help youth shape their sense of identity. These tools also can be useful adjuncts to-and in some cases are replacing-traditional learning methods in the classroom. But because tweens and teens have a limited capacity for self-regulation and are susceptible to peer pressure, they are at some risk as they engage in and experiment with social media, according to the report. They can find themselves on sites and in situations that are not age-appropriate, and research suggests that the content of some social media sites can influence youth to engage in risky behaviors.

In addition, social media provides venues for cyberbullying and sexting, among other dangers. Youth who are more at-risk offline tend to also be more at-risk online. "Some young people find the lure of social media difficult to resist, which can interfere with homework, sleep and physical activity," Dr. O'Keeffe said. "Parents need to understand how their child is using social media so that they can set appropriate limits." Parents also should educate their children about the ways social media sites can capture personal information about users, Dr. O'Keeffe said. Young people can harm their reputations and safety by posting personal and inappropriate information. And information about sites they visit may be captured and used to target them with advertising.

For additional resources about online safety for children and teens, visit

If you have concerns about your child, please call today and schedule and appointment with your doctor. We are more than happy to help you with these hard decisions to raise your child.

**info from April Pediatrics online edition and and

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Updated Car Seat Safety Recommendations

As you may know, car seat safety is always a question on parents' minds!  We always want to try to be as clear and concise and up-to-date as we can with these recommendations as we know that it is an important issue for all parents!  The AAP has recently released updated recommendations for car seat safety.

The following is a quick view of the current recommendations (as of March, 2011) from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  1. Infant-only seats
    • Are used for infants up to 22 to 35 pounds, depending on the model.
    • Are small and have carrying handles (and sometimes come as part of a stroller system).
    • May come with a base that can be left in the car. The seat clicks into and out of the base so you don’t have to install the seat each time you use it. Parents can buy more than one base for additional vehicles.
    • Are used only for travel (not for positioning outside the vehicle).
  2. Convertible seats (used rear-facing)
    • Can be used rear-facing, then “converted” to forward-facing for older children. This means the seat can be used longer by your child. They are bulkier than infant seats, however, and do not come with carrying handles or separate bases.
    • May have higher rear-facing weight (30–40 pounds) and height limits than infant-only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies.
    • Usually have a 5-point harness that attaches at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the legs. Older convertible seats may have an overhead shield—a padded tray-like shield that swings down over the child.
  3. 3-in-1 seats (used rear-facing)
    • Can be used rear-facing, forward-facing, or as a belt-positioning booster. This means the seat may be used longer by your child.
    • Are often bigger in size so adequate space within the vehicle when rear-facing should be determined.
    • Do not have the convenience of a carrying handle or a separate base; however, they may have higher rear-facing weight (35–40 pounds) and height limits than infant-only seats, which make them ideal for bigger babies.
You can view the article in its entirety here.

If you ever have any questions regarding car seat safety, please feel free to call our office.  Primary Children's is also another great source for car seat safety information.  The car seat safety hotline is 801-662-CARS (2277).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fact Friday: Still a chance to win!

Just wanted to remind you that we still have just over a month to enter into our Spring Facebook contest. We are giving away a Flip UltraHD Digitial Video camera! Who would not love to have a video camera to capture all those funny moments your kids do! It is important to your pediatrician for you to stay current on your child's well exams. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for all children 2 and up to be seen for well exams every year! So in order to enter this season's contest, your child must have a well visit scheduled in 2011. If you have a check up scheduled sometime this year, click here and "like" us on Facebook. Then leave us a comment with your child's first name and the month when your appointment is scheduled for. If your child has already had their well visit for 2011, leave us a comment with feedback about your visit! Once you have a left a comment, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a Flip UltraHD Digital Video Camera! You have until midnight on April 30th to leave your don't want to miss out on this awesome prize!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A film festival for Kids!

Check this out! A film festival for kids!

Tumbleweeds is the first and only film festival of its kind for children and youth ages 4-14 in the Intermountain West. This inaugural weekend will present a jam-packed program of feature-length and short films from around the world—with some in their original language! Presented by SLC Film Center.

•Tickets are just $5. bucks!
•Ages 4-14
•Tickets go on sale March 14th
Click here for more info
Thanks Dr Lynch for giving us this great tip for our kids!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fevers and Tylenol/Ibuprofen Dosage

Fever is the body’s normal response to infection.  Most fevers are due to viral infections, and range from 101 to 104 degrees F.  Fevers due to viral illnesses generally last for 2-3 days though sometimes longer.  The height of the fever does not relate to the seriousness of the illness.  What counts is how sick your child acts or looks.

Fever is a symptom of illness, such as pain and cough.  Rather than being harmful, fever can be a benefit.  Evidence shows that the body’s immune system is more effective at higher temperatures.  Fever by itself does not cause brain damage or other harm, though there may be some theoretical risks if the temperature is > 107 degrees.

The main purpose of taking the temperature is to determine if a fever is present or absent.  If your child’s temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C), he or she has a fever.  Since we are interested mainly in the presence of fever and not the exact level, any method of taking temperatures is acceptable except forehead strips.  Rectal and tympanic (ear) methods are the most accurate in children, but axillary and oral are reasonable alternatives.

Treatment of Fevers:
The goal of fever treatment is to help the child feel more comfortable, not to make the temperature normal.  A child with a fever can be made comfortable through extra fluids, less clothing, and reduced activity.  External cooling is rarely necessary and is generally uncomfortable.  Do not wake your child to treat a fever.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen are two over the counter medicines used to treat fevers.  Do not use aspirin.  Generic brands are as effective as name brands and less expensive.  Please note that medicines for fever reduction come in varying concentrations.  Acetaminophen drops are 3 times more concentrated than the liquid form.  A serious mistake is to give the drops at the liquid dose.  A common mistake is to use the dropper (from the acetaminophen drops) for the less concentrated liquid.  As with all medications, please keep these medications out of sight and reach of your children.  If you need to use fever-reducing medications for more than 3 days, please consult your doctor.

Call immediately if your child:
¨      Is less than 3 months old and has a temperature > 100.4 F (38 C)
¨      Looks or acts sicker than the level of the fever
¨      Is crying inconsolably, whimpering, having difficulty breathing, hard to awaken, very pale or mottled, or looks dehydrated (decreased wet diapers, dry mouth or decreased tears)
¨      Has a fever > 104 F
¨      Has a seizure (which can occur in 2-3% of children regardless of fever medication)
¨      Has symptoms not mentioned above that are concerning to you

Alternating Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen:
Though theoretically helpful, most fevers can be treated with either acetaminophen or ibuprofen alone.  If you do use both, the last confusing method would be to give each medication every 6 hours, so that one or the other is given every 3 hours.

We know as parents it can be confusing to get different dosage amounts from different medications or pharamacies.  It is best to always give in "ml" (millileter) dosage instead of teaspoons. Most pharamacies have free syringes and you can pick one up the next time you are at the grocery store. Here is a little break down so it is not so confusing:

1 tsp = 5 ml

1/2 tsp= 2.5ml

1/4 tsp = 1.25ml

If you have any questions about the dosage you are giving your child please call our office at anytime to speak to a nurse.

For complete dosing information for Tylenol and Ibuprofen, click here.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fact Friday: Being ready for a disaster

With the recent events in Japan, we thought it would be a good idea to remind people to have their family ready in case of a disaster. What to to tell your children in case of a disaster?
It is important to warn children, without overly alarming them, about disasters. Tell children that a disaster is something that could hurt people or cause damage. Explain that nature sometimes provides “too much of a good thing” – fire, rain, or wind. Talk about things that could happen during a storm, like the fact that the lights or phone might not work. Tell children there are many people who can help them during a disaster, so that they will not be afraid of firemen, policemen, paramedics, or other emergency officials.
The AAP has a website with a great resource about what to teach your children. We hope that this will provide comfort in knowledge and not fear or panic, so read this and decide what works for your family.
Teach children:
•How to call for help
•How to shut off utilities (gas, electricity, etc.)
•When to use emergency numbers; and
•To call the family contact if they are separated.
Staying Calm in an Emergency
The most important role a parent can play in an emergency situation is to stay calm. Children of all ages can easily pick up on their parents’ fears and anxieties. In a disaster, they’ll look to you for help and for clues on how to act. If you react with alarm, a child may become more scared. If you seem overcome with a sense of loss, a child may feel their losses more strongly. However, experts agree that you should be honest with your children and explain what’s going on. Just be sure to base the amount of information and level of detail on what’s appropriate for their age level.

Children and Their Response to Disaster
Children depend on daily routines: They wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, and play with friends. When emergencies or disasters interrupt this routine, children may become anxious. Not want parents out of their sight/refuse to go to school or daycare. Feel guilty that they caused the disaster by something they said or did. Children’s fears also may stem from their imagination, and you should take these feelings seriously. A child who feels afraid is afraid. Your words and actions can provide reassurance. When talking with your child, be sure to present a realistic picture that is both honest and manageable. Be aware that after a disaster, children are most afraid that:

•The event will happen again.
•Someone will be injured or killed
•They will be separated from the family
•They will be left alone
Common Child Behaviors After a Disaster
Children may be upset over the loss of a favorite toy, blanket, teddy bear or other items that adults might consider insignificant. Undergo a personality change–from being quiet, obedient and caring to loud, noisy and aggressive or from outgoing to shy and afraid. Have nightmares or be afraid to sleep alone or with the light off. Become easily upset, cry or whine. Lose trust in adults because the adults in their life were unable to control the disaster. Revert to younger behavior such as bedwetting and thumb sucking.

Special Needs of Children after a Disaster
Parents should remember that the psychological effects of a natural disaster don’t go away once the emergency has passed. Children can suffer from nightmares or other problems for up to two years after a disaster. Children are able to cope better with a traumatic event if parents, teachers and other adults support and help them with their experiences.

Help should start as soon as possible after the event. Some children may never show distress because they don’t feel upset, while others may not give evidence of being upset for several weeks or even months. Even if children do not show a change in behavior, they may still need your help. Parents should be on the lookout for signs that their kids need some extra counseling.

What Parents Can Do to Help Children Cope after a Disaster
Talk with children about how they are feeling and listen without judgment. Let them know they can have their own feelings, which might be different than others. Let children take their time to figure things out and to have their feelings. Don’t rush them or pretend that they don’t think or feel as they do. Here are some suggested ways to reduce your child’s fear and anxiety:

•Keep the family together as much as possible. While you look for housing and assistance, try to keep the family together and make children a part of what you are doing. Otherwise, children could get anxious and worry that their parents won’t return.
•Calmly and firmly explain the situation. As best as you can, tell children what you know about the disaster. Explain what will happen next. For example, say, “Tonight, we will all stay together in the shelter.” Get down to the child’s eye level and talk to them.
•Encourage children to talk. Let them talk about the disaster and ask questions as much as they want. Encourage children to describe what they’re feeling. Help them learn to use words that express their feelings, such as happy, sad, angry, mad and scared. Just be sure the words fit their feelings–not yours.
•Listen to what they say. If possible, include the entire family in the discussion. Reassure them that the disaster was not their fault in any way. Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Children should not be expected to be brave or tough, or to “not cry.”
•Include children in recovery activities. Give children chores that are their responsibility. This will help children feel they are part of the recovery. Having a task will help them understand that everything will be all right.
•Go back as soon as possible to former routines. Maintain a regular schedule for children.
•Let them have some control, such as choosing what outfit to wear or what meal to have for dinner.
•Allow special privileges such as leaving the light on when they sleep for a period of time after the disaster.
•Find ways to emphasize to the children that you love them.
Turn off the TV
Once you arrive at a shelter, hotel, or a relative’s home, disaster related TV programs should be restricted. News coverage of disasters—especially if children see their own town or school on TV–can be traumatic to children of all ages. If children watch TV coverage of the disaster, parents should watch with them and talk about it afterwards.

Activities to Get Children Talking About a Disaster
Encourage children to draw or paint pictures of how they feel about their experiences. Hang these at the child’s eye level to be seen easily. Write a story of the frightening event. You might start with: Once upon a time there was a terrible ______ and it scared us all ______. This is what happened: ______.
Be sure to end with “And we are now safe.”

Kids Get Ready Kit
Assemble a Special “Get Ready Kit” for kids. Explain to your children that you might need to leave your house during a disaster and sleep somewhere else for awhile. Here are some items you and your children could put into a back pack so it will be ready if needed:

•A few favorite books, crayons, and paper.
•Two favorite small toys like a doll or action figure.
•A board game.
•A deck of cards.
•A puzzle.
•A favorite stuffed animal.
•A favorite blanket or pillow.
•Picture of your family and pets.
•A box with special treasures that will help you feel safe.
How to Get Your Family Ready
It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency, because when a disaster strikes, the best protection is knowing what to do. You should also discuss possible disaster plans with your children–in a very general way–so that they will know what to do in various situations. For example, if you live in a part of the country that is prone to tornadoes, it is important for your children to know what to do if a tornado is coming. Remember that it is possible that you and your children may be in different places when a disaster strikes; for example at school and work. Also, older children may be home alone when faced with an emergency.

Create a Family Disaster Plan
You can create a Family Disaster Plan by taking four simple steps. It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do. Talk with your children about the dangers of disasters that are likely in your area and how to prepare for each type.

Make sure they know where to go in your home to stay safe during an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or other disasters likely for your area.

Teach your child how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms and local community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like and what to do when they hear them.

Explain to children how and when to call for help. Keep emergency phone numbers (your local Emergency Phone Number List) where family members can find them.
Pick an out-of-state family contact person who family members can “check-in” with if you are separated during an emergency. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name and phone number, or give them a copy of the emergency list included in the kit.
Agree on a meeting place away from your home (a neighbor or relative’s house or even a street corner) where you would get together if you were separated in an emergency. Give each family member an emergency list with the name, address and phone number of the meeting place. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name, address and phone number. Put together a disaster supplies kit for your family.

Practice your Family Disaster Plan every six months so that everyone will remember what to do when in an emergency.
It's important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do.
Shelters can’t take pets, so plan what to do in case you have to evacuate. Call your humane society to ask if there is an animal shelter in your area. Prepare a list of kennels and veterinarians who could shelter them in an emergency. Keep a list of “pet
friendly” motels outside your area.
Disaster Supplies
Every family should have disaster supplies in their home. Needed supplies include food, water and other things that you might need in an emergency. In a hurricane, earthquake, or flood, you could be without electricity for a week or more, or the water supply may be polluted. There also may be times, like during a flood or a heavy winter storm, that you might not be able to leave your house for a few days. Your family may never need to use your disaster supplies, but it’s always best to be prepared. To make getting these items fun, you could have a family “Scavenger Hunt” and have family members see how many of these items they can find in your home.
Thanks to the AAP and for a great resource

Thursday, March 17, 2011

AAP-Letter about Nuclear Crisis and Japan Earthquake

Our hearts go out to everyone that has been affected by the Earthquake in Japan. We know that it may have been family or friends that have experienced this horrible disaster. We also know that many people are concerned about the radiation level in the United States. Dr Lynch received this letter from the AAP yesterday about the concerns of the Nuclear Crisis. Please read below and look at the wonderful links at the bottom of this article.
Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Crisis March 16, 2011 From: AAP Executive Committee
The AAP conveys its heartfelt sympathies to everyone affected by the earthquakes, tsunami and resulting nuclear power plant crisis in Japan. The AAP has contacted the Japan Pediatric Society and offered to provide support. We have heard from members that parents in the U.S. have questions about radiation. Federal and state agencies have been monitoring air and water in the U.S. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has stated that currently there is no health risk for radiation exposure to U.S. residents from events in Japan. People in the U.S. need not be concerned about additional health risks as a result of this disaster. They should not use countermeasures such as potassium iodide unless advised to by local or federal health authorities. Previous disasters and the current events in Japan can serve as a reminder of the importance of disaster planning for health care providers, families, and communities. Improving day-to-day emergency readiness begins with personal and family preparedness. AAP members should develop their own plans and talk with parents about family emergency preparedness. As pediatricians, we know that images and news accounts of disasters can be extremely distressing, especially for children. You can help by encouraging parents and caregivers to minimize children's access to the media. Remember that if parents are watching, listening, or viewing news media, children are also being exposed. Encourage parents to ask questions about what children have already heard and answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner, while assuring them about their safety. For more information on responding to parents' concerns, including a tip sheet you may post or e-mail to patients, visit
Additional References
Links: CDC Information
AAP Children and Disasters Web site
Helping Children Understand and Cope with Disasters
Radiation Disasters in Children;111/6/1455
We will keep you updated if any information that we receive.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finding a Great Pediatrician

Most people have traditionally found their doctors by word of mouth. The people that are most commonly sought out for their suggestions are friends and family members. Second on that list would be a current adult doctor, such as an internist or obstetrician, or the nurse of one of these doctors. Now, however, we are inundated with information in print, on television and radio, as well as the most favored media for new parents these days, the web and social media. One thing has not changed, no matter where you start; it is best to do your homework and then make your own choice.

Obviously, insurance coverage is one of the first steps to consider, then location and hours of service, if you can call or email for advice, if there are social media options, etc. The list can seem overwhelming, but undoubtedly, the most important is how you connect emotionally and philosophically with your doctor.

At Willow Creek Pediatrics, we offer a “meet the doctor” appointment. One of the benefits of this service to prospective families is that we do not charge for this visit. In the long run, it makes sense for us and for you to feel that whoever you choose is most likely to be a good fit.

The doctors at Willow Creek Pediatrics offer a shared partnership with the parents, and the patients when age appropriate, where parents have equally as important roles as do the doctors. We work as a team, not only are the doctors and parents part of this team, but so is everyone in our office. All parties concerned share in the effort of providing the best medical care we can for each of our patients. We encourage parent feedback to help us continually fine tune the process.

From the start of parents’ relationship with us, we try to empower the parents to be an active part of the medical process. We encourage simple, but powerful things, like trusting your intuition about your children. When you think there is something different about your baby or child, pay attention to that. We say that when a parent is concerned, we are concerned until we can find an answer. We will work together to determine if the concern is a serious problem or just a “new variation of normal” for your child that you had not seen before.

Finding a “Medical Home” is a fairly new concept, but we have considered ourselves the medical home for our patients long before the term came into vogue. Someone needs to be aware of all the medical conditions of any one patient and be aware of all of the doctors who are involved in caring for any one patient. We have always seen that as part of our job.

You must understand that there is never a dumb or stupid question or visit to our office. We respect parents as making their best effort for each of their children and all we ask is the same respect in return as we make our best effort for each of our patients.

Make a list of all of your questions or concerns ahead of your visits. Prioritize that list as we may not be able to cover all of your questions at the visit. We will follow up by email or phone if we run out of time in the visit. We will eventually answer all of your questions, as that is our job.

Speak up during the visit.  If you think we did not understand your concern, tell us. If you did not understand what we tried to explain to you, ask us to say it again in a different way. If we ask you to follow a certain treatment plan and you have concerns about being able to comply, say so and give us a chance to make it work better for you. We try our best to individualize every one of our visits for that patient, that day and we need your help to accomplish that goal.

As you seek parenting or medical information on your own, we can recommend books, web sites and local organizations or services. Check our web site or ask us to find out more. When you look at websites on the Internet, look for ones that end in “.edu” or “.org”.

Keep your appointments or cancel them in a timely manner, so as to show respect for the rest of our patients who are also trying to be seen.

Know your insurance coverage. That is a bigger request than most people realize. Insurance companies may have complicated rules and they are not necessarily “on your side”, but if you learn their system, you can maximize whatever services and help they do offer under your particular plan.

“Patient and Family Centered Care” is also a relatively new term to help describe an ideal medical style to seek in a doctor’s office. Hopefully you can see that style reflected in this description of the practice philosophy of Willow Creek Pediatrics. It is something we have believed in long before the term became popular.

No matter where you go or who you see, the doctors and staff of Willow Creek Pediatrics wish you and your children good health.

--Joe Jopling, M.D.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fact Friday:Cooking with your kids and CPR reminder

Having a picky eater at home can be a very frustrating thing. One of the best ways to familiarize your children with good food choices is to encourage them to cook with you. Let them get involved in the entire process, from planning the menus to shopping for ingredients to the actual food preparation and its serving. The AAP has teamed up with ChopChop, the fun cooking magazine for kids and families, to bring you great recipes your family will love. It is always fun to see new and different ideas to help with the nutrition of your family. What things have worked for you? We would love to hear! For the full article click here.

**Also reminder that we are having another Infant CPR class on this Saturday, March 12th at 3:00 pm at Willow Creek. Please call our office if you are interested in coming~only a few slots left. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring Facebook Contest - Schedule Your Check Ups!

It is time for our Spring Facebook contest (even though it feels like Winter)!  It is important to your pediatrician for you to stay current on your child's well exams.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for all children 2 and up to be seen for well exams every year!  So in order to enter this season's contest, your child must have a well visit scheduled in 2011.  If you have a check up scheduled sometime this year, click here and "like" us on Facebook.  Then leave us a comment with your child's first name and the month when your appointment is scheduled for.  If your child has already had their well visit for 2011, leave us a comment with feedback about your visit!  Once you have a left a comment, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a Flip UltraHD Digital Video Camera!  You have until midnight on April 30th to leave your don't want to miss out on this awesome prize!

**Employees of Willow Creek Pediatrics are not eligible!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fact Friday:Sharp rise in Whooping cough

U.S. saw sharp rise in whooping cough cases in 2010. The CDC reported Wednesday, Feb 23rd. that whooping cough hit more than 21,000 people, many of whom are children and teens, in 2010 -- a record high since 2005 and one of the worst years in more than five decades. CDC officials said California appeared to be the most affected state, with more than 8,300 whooping cough cases, including the deaths of 10 babies. Click on this link to read full article.

Here is more information from the Utah Health Department about Pertussis(whooping cough)
What is pertussis (whooping cough)?
Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria. Pertussis can cause very severe illness in younger children, but also causes illness in older children and adults. Children can get pneumonia and occasionally inflammation of the brain from pertussis. In rare cases (1 out of 200), pertussis can cause death (especially in children less than one year of age).

What are the symptoms of pertussis?
The symptoms of pertussis usually occur in two stages. The first stage begins like a cold, with a runny nose, sneezing, and possibly a low-grade fever. The second stage of pertussis includes uncontrolled coughing spells. When a child breathes in, they give a whooping noise. The second stage can last for 6 – 10 weeks.

Infants under 6 months:
Sometimes their symptoms are different. Small infants may stop breathing for a period of time. Also, they may not have a whoop. Infants that are not fully immunized have the most severe disease and many will require hospitalization.

Older children and adults:
In adults, pertussis starts like a cold, with a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and cough. Then it turns into bronchitis, which is raspy, hoarse coughing. This can last for weeks. The coughing spells may be so bad that the person can’t sleep and may vomit.

Who gets pertussis? Anyone can get pertussis. Infants and young children usually get the disease from an older brother or sister or an adult who may have a coughing illness. Vaccinated children are protected until the age of 7.

How is pertussis spread?
The bacteria that cause pertussis are found in the mouths, noses, and throats of infected people. The bacteria are spread in the air by droplets produced during sneezing or coughing. Pertussis is very contagious and most unvaccinated people living in a household will get the disease. Once a person is exposed, it takes seven to ten days before the first symptoms appear.

How long can a person spread pertussis?
Pertussis is very contagious during the early stage of the illness and becomes less contagious by the end of three weeks. Antibiotics will shorten the contagious period of the illness.

How is pertussis diagnosed?
A physician suspects pertussis when someone has the symptoms described above. A sample of mucus from the back of the nose must be taken during the early stage of the illness in order to find the bacteria. Laboratory tests can be done on the sample to identify the bacteria.

How is pertussis treated? Infants younger than six months of age and persons with severe cases often require hospitalization. Severe cases may require oxygen and mild sedation to help control coughing spells. Antibiotics may make the illness less severe if started early. Generally, if a person is exposed to pertussis, specific antibiotics may help prevent the disease.

How can pertussis be prevented?
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent pertussis. Currently, the pertussis vaccines available in the United States are acellular pertussis antigens in combination with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DTaP, DTaP, combination vaccines, and Tdap).

Children should get four doses of DTaP, one dose at each of the following ages: 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months and a booster dose given at 4-6 years. DT does not contain pertussis, and is used as a substitute for DTaP for children who cannot tolerate pertussis vaccine.

Tdap is recommended for all pre-teens going to the doctor for their regular check-up at age 11 or 12 years. Adults (between the ages of 19-64) who didn't get Tdap as a pre-teen or teen should get one dose of Tdap instead of the Td booster. Most pregnant women who were not previously vaccinated with Tdap should get one dose of Tdap post-partum before leaving the hospital or birthing center.

Parents can also help protect their very young infants by minimizing exposure (close contact) with persons who have cold symptoms or cough illness. Coughing people of any age, including parents, siblings and grandparents can have pertussis. When a person has cold symptoms or cough illness, they need to stay away from young infants as much as possible.

Prompt use of antibiotics is helpful in limiting other cases. Antibiotics should be given to all household contacts and other close contacts, such as those in day care. Children who develop symptoms within 14 days of exposure should be excluded from day care until a diagnosis can be made.

NOTE: Upper-case letters in these abbreviations denote full-strength doses of diphtheria (D) and tetanus (T) toxoids and pertussis (P) vaccine. Lower-case “d” and “p” denote reduced doses of diphtheria and pertussis used in the adolescent/adult-formulations. The “a” in DTaP and Tdap stands for “acellular,” meaning that the pertussis component contains only a part of the pertussis organism.

Where can I get further information?
-Your personal doctor
- Your local health department, listed in your telephone directory
- The Utah Department of Health, Immunization Program (801) 538-9450 or the Office of Epidemiology (801) 538-6191.

Info from

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where is your info coming from?

This past week I was looking into purchasing a new camera so --I googled it. Last week, I needed directions to a new restaurant--I searched the Internet for it. Tomorrow I am sure I will look up the current movie reviews by looking at my good old reliable "Fandango". No matter where our information comes from we need to make sure that we are educating ourselves with GOOD information.
We know that we live in a new day in age where people use computers, smart phones, or IPads to look up all different type of information. I am sure MOST of us have "googled" a diagnosis or a prescription to see more information on it. We want to make sure that you are getting your information from correct sources. Generally speaking, most information found with .EDU or .ORG should be a reliable health source, along with the AAP and CDC. Here are a few websites that we recommend: (AAP Symptom checker) (American Acedemy Pediatrics)

Thanks to Dr Jopling for providing this arcicle that was published in Jan 2011

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of people looking for health information online is set to soar as workers return from holiday breaks, but few will check where the information comes from, according to an international survey on Tuesday.
A report by researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE) commissioned by the private healthcare firm Bupa said that with smartphones and tablet computers set to outsell personal computers by 2012, more health information is available online and there are more ways to access it than ever before.
The Bupa Health Pulse survey questioned more than 12,000 people in Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain and the United States and found that 81 percent of those with internet access use it to search for advice about health, medicines or medical conditions.
Russians search for health advice the most on the internet, followed by China, India, Mexico and Brazil. The French search for online health information the least, according to the survey's findings.
It also found that 68 percent of those who have access have used the internet to look for information about specific medicines and nearly 4 in 10 use it to look for other patients' experiences of a condition.
"New technologies are helping more people around the world to find out more about their health and to make better informed decisions. However, people need to make sure that the information they find will make them better, not worse," said David McDaid, a senior research fellow at the LSE.
In Britain, where Bupa predicted there would be 40 million hits on health websites this week as people make New Year's resolutions after their Christmas break, experts warned that much online health content is unchecked and people would struggle to know what to trust.
The survey found that of the 73 percent of Britons who say they go online for health information, more than six in 10 look for information about medicines and more than half of them, or 58 percent, use the information to self diagnose.
Yet only a quarter of people say they check where their online advice has come from.
"Relying on dodgy information can easily lead to people taking risks with inappropriate tests and treatments, wasting money and causing unnecessary worry," said Annabel Bentley, a medical director at Bupa.
"Equally, people may check online and dismiss serious symptoms when they should get advice from a doctor."

As you seek parenting or medical information on your own, we can recommend books, web sites and local organizations or services. Please feel free to contact us to help you get your "GOOD" information for your child.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Introducing Dr. Ryan Donnelly!

The Willow Creek Pediatrics doctors and staff are so excited to welcome Dr. Ryan Donnelly to our staff!  Dr. Donnelly will be building up his practice and seeing many of Dr. Ashton's patients!  He is currently seeing patients part time here and will be working full time starting in July when he finishes up as chief resident at Primary Children's Medical Center!

Dr. Donnelly is originally from Colorado and attended medical school at Saint Louis University.  He then moved back west for residency training at the University of Utah/Primary Children's Medical Center.  Ryan was chosen to be chief resident at Primary Children's for 2010 and is board certified in pediatrics.  His wife, Claire, is a silversmith and they have 2 young boys, Michael and Drew.  Dr. Donnelly loves taking care of children and has a family-centered approach to care.  When not at work, he enjoys hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, and spending time with his family.

We want to extend a very warm welcome to Dr. Donnelly and we look forward to having him as part of our team!