I am so pleased to announce that Notchview Pediatrics is being recognized and honored by HTCNJ-Healing The Children NJ. They are awarding our organization the ‘Sergio Award’ for medical assistance and contribution to their charity cause over many years. Dating back to 1990s, Notchview has participated in rendering pro bono medical care to the needy patients sponsored by this wonderful institution. The partners of Notchview: Dr. Caprio, Dr. Mediterraneo and Dr. Lewis will attend a Gala in Short Hills this May where this coveted award will be presented. Notchview is proud to accept this award and will continue our work with this organization.
DID EVERYONE SURVIVE THE DREADED FLU OF 2018?
There is a sigh of relief now that Flu season is winding down. Having done this for many years, this period of Influenza provided much chaos and fear to the many parents having to watch the daily news reports of flu related problems; some of which were catastrophic. Many offices ran out of flu vaccine. People were thankful for the availability of our early morning walk-in hours in the Clifton office (7:30-8:30AM)Monday to Friday and, of course, being open every weekend day (Saturday and Sunday) and every Holiday. We had many people access these convenient office hours and they were so grateful that they could have their pediatricians provide the care they so desired.
Substance Abuse in Children by Bolanle Akingboye, DO
Although studies show substance abuse in children to be at an all time low, about 6-14% of school-aged kids fall into the trap. Knowledge of risk factors and protective factors shed light on substance abuse prevention. Risk factors include early aggressive behavior, access to both illicit and prescription drugs, academic failure, poverty and lack of community, child abuse, lack of supervision, negative family modeling behavior, social media, peer pressure, and depression. Some of these risk factors act to sever children from their sense of belonging i.e. their family and community. Children left alone are at the highest risk for substance abuse and all the health risks it presents. Establishing the opposite of all these risk factors is key to protect against and prevent substance abuse in our children. Teaching self-control, setting age-appropriate limits, preventing access to prescription drugs in the home, and limiting access to social media are just some of the ways to prevent substance abuse in children. For more information on substance abuse prevention, please refer towww.cdc.gov and www.drugabuse.gov.
High School Sports Athletes
Baseball season is starting soon. Remember, it is NJ state law that allhigh school athletic participants have their medical clearance submitted to school. The form is standardized by the state, ‘PREPARTICIPATION PHYSICAL EVALUATION’, and must be submitted before any participation is possible; even fitness and practice sessions. Cardiac Clearance (a part of the evaluation) is a very important component. Schools are strict with this law and to avoid conflict, be aware of your status. Check with your trainer or school nurse to see if you are in compliance. The form requires parental input ‘HISTORY FORM’ section to be completed (regarding medical history) before we can provide medical clearance. Please remember that completion of all forms for daycare/nursery/school and sports, unless done at the time of well care, will require a minimum of 3 business days to process.
NIGHTMARE BACTERIA-SCARY CONCEPT
The major networks are reporting on this relatively new medical information about the ‘super bugs’ or more appropriately, super germs. We have been through this before with the nasty Staph germ-MRSA and the resistant intestinal germ, C. diff or difficile. The unfortunate and disturbing finding is that these newly designated antibiotic resistant germs CRE and CRPA (carbapenem resistant Enterobacter and Pseudomonas) can actually live in the body of normal, asymptomatic people and can be passed to others causing severe, life threatening conditions e.g. cancer patients, organ transplant patients, newborns, and elderly. Obviously, the implication for spreading in a hospital or clinic environment is quite serious. Antibiotic resistant germs kill more than 23,000 Americans a year. Overuse of routine antibiotics is an obvious cause and we physicians must be quite discerning in prescribing these medications for only very appropriate situations. Remember the antibiotic we prescribe doesn’t know which bacteria we want to kill. Rather, it attempts to kill all exposed germs, even normal ones. It may only partially alter those bacteria such that it changes the DNA and, at times, ultimately the sensitivity of that germ to subsequent antibiotics.
Will The Spring Ever Come????
We are all tired of the nor’easters; one after another. We are tired of the cold weather and snow and puddles on the ground. Some of us still have to reckon with downed trees, bushes and plants. But don’t worry, very soon we will be sneezing, coughing, blowing our noses and wiping and rubbing our eyes. Yes, spring will be here and the nasty tree pollen season will be upon us. Tree pollen season is the worst allergy season for most kids and adolescents. The over-the-counter antihistamines, allergy eye drops and nasal sprays generally give some relief but their efficacy is totally dependant on the pollen counts. Those with asthma or reactive airway disorder need to be more conscientious with their allergy control since flares tend to be more significant. If you think you need a tune-up, refills or pre-season consultation, please call for an appointment. It is impossible to accurately predict the actual cycle of pollen levels. They change from day to day and as we have seen recently, despite the colder weather variations. As of the writing of this newsletter, the pollen counts for Maple and Juniper trees are quite high despite yesterday’s snow storm dumping five inches of snow.
The Madness of the Influenza Vaccine by Lai Ping Lew, MD
An annual influenza vaccine only protects you from the flu. It does not prevent you from every virus that can cause colds and flu such as the rhinovirus, adenovirus and the parainfluenza virus. A study done during 2010-2012 showed that the flu vaccine reduces a child's risk of being admitted to the ICU with the flu by 74%. It also reduces the risk of flu deaths by 65% and 51%, respectively, in children who were healthy versus those who had pre-existing medical conditions. During the 2016-2017 season, 59% of children 6 months to 17 years were immunized. There were 110 influenza-associated deaths reported and some of these deaths could have been preventable. However, influenza vaccines seem to vary in their effectiveness every year. A mismatch in the virus found in the vaccine and the one that is circulating might not prevent the flu but can potentially reduce the severity of the illness. A minor change in the virus in the vaccine during the production even though it's a theoretically good match with the circulating virus might cause a less effective response. A delay in vaccination as well as flu exposure around the time of vaccination might not provide adequate amount of time for the body to produce antibodies protecting against the influenza viruses. As we look into the future, a universal flu vaccine may be available to provide protection against new emerging flu strains and eliminate yearly "updated" vaccines administration. Unfortunately, until that time arrives, we must continue to have timely influenza vaccinations and continue to practice universal precautions such as washing hands.
Happy Children: The Return of Flu Mist-Flu Vaccine by M. Lewis, MD
On 2/21/2018 the CDC has voted to support using the Intranasal Flu vaccine once again. Intranasal (nasal spray) flu vaccine or FluMist, has been used for years safely and effectively. However, two years ago it was removed due to its lower effectiveness. Scientific studies currently show good viral fighting activity against Influenza B, but it is still unknown how it will work against H3N2 strain (Influenza A) for the upcoming flu season of 2018-2019. It is hoped that the return of FluMist will improve pediatric influenza vaccination rates. Many children and their parents were disappointed by the removal of FluMist, with some deferring vaccination because of the injection despite provider’s recommendations. Everyone over 6 months of age should be vaccinated and, by NJ law, all children attending pre-school/daycare programs are required to be vaccinated. The deadline for preschoolers (daycare or nursery) is December 31 of that flu season.
Important Disclaimer: The information on notchviewpediatrics.com is provided as a supportive service to Notchview Pediatrics, LLC and is not meant to replace the advice of the physicians and nurses who care for your child. All medical advice, information, and recommendations should be considered to be incomplete without a comprehensive evaluation by the physicians at Notchview Pediatrics, LLC.