Does the Flu Vaccine Work and should my child get one this Flu season?
The answer to both these questions is yes.
Recent news reports have come out in reference to the CDC’s reported concern about the Flu Vaccines effectiveness. And thus the question must be should I even bother getting my child a Flu vaccine if it’s ability to help is in question?
Setting aside the very small minority who are not eligible to receive the Flu vaccine like those who are allergic, and who have immune related issues and those under 6mo of age, every eligible person should get a Flu vaccine. Despite reports of the Flu vaccine not be as effective as hoped any vaccine is better than none. Our immune system responds to vaccines by producing antibodies to fight off actual infections we come in contact with. The vaccines job is to trick our immune system into thinking we have the illness, in this case the Flu, and thus stimulating an immune response that leads to the production of these protective Flu antibodies. Most will develop these protective antibodies in 2-4wks after receiving the vaccine.
The problem with the Flu is unpredictability. The Flu type, severity, and the timing of its arrival to the U.S. from other parts of the world are extremely unpredictable. The top 3-4 types of the Flu are used to create the vaccine. If the these most common forms of the Flu are not the type(s) of Flu that show up during this Flu season then the vaccine will appear to be less effective as many who received the vaccine may still come down with Flu-like symptoms. However, the Flu vaccine, even in these cases, still provides protection. But that doesn’t make any sense, right? But realize that despite being vaccinated and still contracting the Flu the likelihood is that without some protective antibodies, produced secondary to the vaccine, the person would have been more critically ill and may have even required hospitalization. So despite concerns over the effectiveness of the Flu vaccine we at the Childrens Clinic would agree with the CDC’s recommendation and urge all our eligible patients to receive a yearly Flu vaccine, along with their family members to help prevent illness from spreading and to avoid the need to hospitalize our patients.Read More
The Children’s Clinic weekend clinics have changed. Appointments are available Saturday ONLY.
Saturday clinic will continue to be appointment ONLY. You may call from 8 am – 10 am on Saturday for a sick appointment.
Callers will be given an appointment time until all appointments are taken. Appointments are from 9 am – until last appointment scheduled.
Due to the season, we have had to implement an end point –our last appointment will be 430 and once that appointment has been taken, we will forward our phones even if it’s prior to 10am.
As always, our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Read More
Growth charts consist of a series of percentile curves that illustrate the distribution of selected body measurements in children. Pediatric growth charts have been used by pediatricians, nurses, and parents to track the growth of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States since 1977.
CDC recommends that health care providers:
- Use the WHO growth standards to monitor growth for infants and children ages 0 to 2 years of age in the U.S.
- Use the CDC growth charts for children age 2 years and older in the U.S.
Growth charts are not intended to be used as a sole diagnostic instrument. Instead, growth charts are tools that contribute to forming an overall clinical impression for the child being measured.Read More
By. Dr. Warren Skaug
As if parents didn’t have enough to worry about, here comes a new potentially serious infection to threaten our children. Enterovirus D68 has been in the news almost daily for the past several weeks, it seems to be spreading throughout the country, including Arkansas, so it might be helpful to have a little information about this virus from your doctor’s perspective.
First, you need to know that enteroviruses are a big family of viruses that commonly pass child-to-child in the Summer and Fall of the year. Most members of this family of germs cause acute illnesses that make kids miserable but resolve on their own over several days. They cause various symptoms from fever to runny nose to sore throat to diarrhea, and sometimes skin rashes (including Hand-Foot-Mouth disease). There is no real cure or vaccine for these illnesses; they go away on their own. Among these many virus strains, the D68 variety was rarely seen in the past, but for some reason that strain has become a very big problem this year.
Enterovirus D68 appears to cause just cold symptoms initially and is impossible to distinguish early on from any number of not-so-bad respiratory viruses. However, in many children, especially those who have asthma, the illness progresses to respiratory distress lasting several days, often requiring hospitalization to manage. In recent days, there have been frightening reports of arm and leg muscle weakness during the recovery phase in some of these patients, and it is not yet clear whether all children will recover from that complication.
From your doctor’s perspective, this is a nightmare. Every day, we see a great many children with cold symptoms caused by the usual harmless viruses around us. We can’t pick out the very few who will potentially develop severe breathing distress over the following few days. Also, the specific test for Enterovirus D68 (yes, there is one) is not readily available to physicians around the country. Nasal swab samples have to be sent to the Arkansas Department of Health and then to the CDC in Atlanta, GA to be analyzed, and they are only accepted from hospitalized patients. Another thorny issue is that there is no specific treatment – just the supportive care we might give to any patient with respiratory distress – oxygen if they need it, breathing treatments, and close watching.
From a parent’s perspective, here’s what you can do: Enteroviruses are spread through secretions (snot, saliva, stool). Just employing good hand washing and cleanliness at home can reduce their spread. Good day care centers typically know this and employ those practices. If your child gets sick with runny nose and cough, he/she should be treated for a routine cold because that’s probably what it is. But also closely watch for onset of wheezing or breathing distress over the following few days and get to your health care provider if those occur. You may depend on us to consider the possibility of Enterovirus D68 as we evaluate your child.
Thankfully, so far, illness from this virus appears uncommon in Arkansas, but we are on guard for a possible increase over the next several weeks. We are waiting, just as you, are for more information about its spread, for better diagonstic and treatment options, and hopefully, for its prevalence to eventually decrease as the Winter season gets here.Read More
Amber Sloan, APRN has been a part of The Children’s Clinic family for 9 wonderful years, however she will be moving to The Pain Center with Dr. Savu. She will be greatly missed by The Children’s Clinic, her patients, and her patient’s families. We wish her the best in her endeavors.Read More
Unfortunately, babies do not come with directions! It is our job as parents to keep them safe. The Children’s Clinic would like to see how many parents would be interested in a child safety class that include topics such as: CPR, sleeping positions, SIDS, and car seat safety.
If interested, please fill out the form below. You will be contact should we decide to offer a class like this.