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Just a reminder! Thanks for visiting us at Shots Hurt Less Blog! This is just a reminder that the information on this site is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should never replace the recommendations of your doctor - check with your doctor if you have any specific questions! We will always honor and protect patient confidentiality, and we ask that you all do the same, if you choose to comment on our posts. Thanks for visiting!


Stumped by the belly button? 

Belly buttons are such a funny part of the body – why are they there anyway? Just to tickle and stick fingers into? During fetal development, the belly button (or umbilicus) is the lifeline from mom’s placenta. The umbilical cord connects the fetus to the placenta, which is how the baby receives nutrients from mom during pregnancy. After delivery, the umbilical cord is cut, leaving a small stump that will ultimately fall off and form the notorious belly button.

In the first day or so, the umbilical stump usually looks whitish and rubbery. Over the next few days, it starts to dry out and may even turn dark brown or black, which is normal. It will generally stay this way for one to two weeks until the stump falls off entirely. During this time, you may notice some yellowish/whitish (or even bloody) discharge coming from the base of the cord. Generally this is normal and related to the cord separating from the navel. If it seems like an excessive amount of discharge, always let your doctor know! After the cord falls off, you may notice that there is a bit of red tissue at the base of the belly button. This will often heal up on its own and is healing tissue that may continue to ooze a small amount. If, however, it’s still there after about a week, get in touch with your doctor – it may need to be treated with medicine (called silver nitrate) to help it heal.

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The Dairy Dilemma: Alternative Milk Options for Toddlers

At one year of age, we start to talk about the transition from breast milk or formula to whole milk, as a child’s diet starts to become more based on calories from foods as opposed to liquid calories. In fact, children don’t require nearly as much milk as you might think after a year (only 12-16 oz per day!). It’s much more important that they eat a well balanced diet to get the vitamins and minerals that they need. (Quick caveat: if you’re still breastfeeding, breast milk continues to be a great option, but after a year, your child will need a wide variety of supplemental foods to provide optimum nutrition).  

Inevitably during the same conversation, I get questions regarding alternative types of milk available – Are they safe? Can they replace cow’s milk? How much should my child drink? There are many reasons for choosing an alternative type of milk, most commonly milk/food allergies or dietary preference, but I encourage you to be informed when making the choice about the kind of alternative milk you offer your child. With that in mind, here’s a helpful guide to navigating the milk aisle at the grocery store….


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FYI: Seasonal Allergies Part II (Treatment Options)

After your child has been diagnosed with seasonal allergies (or if you suspect that is what is the cause of the itchy eyes, sneezing, and runny noses at your house), rest assured treatments are available! Our goal is for your child to feel good and have fun.  We don't want these kids to be sitting inside miserable with a box of tissues.  See below for tips on how you can help your child minimize his symptoms so he can get back to doing what children do best: playing/exploring/learning in the great outdoors.

Treatment of Seasonal Allergies:

    - Oral Antihistamines (Benadryl, Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra):
Oral antihistamines block one of the agents responsible for producing swelling and secretions in your child’s body, called histamine (and most are available over the counter now).  There are three categories of oral antihistamines. The oldest category, the

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To Do: Create an Emergency Disaster Plan for your Family

Unfortunately in the wake of natural disasters (such as the tornado in Oklahoma), we are often forced to wonder how we would prepare for similar situations with our own families. Tornadoes and other natural disasters can happen anywhere and anytime, and can affect all of us, whether at home, work, or school. Be prepared!

Create an emergency plan now to help prepare your family when faced with a natural disaster. With the help of Seattle Mama Doc (a favorite pediatrician blogger), Sesame Street, and, I’ve compiled a list of tasks to consider when creating a plan to share with your family:

- Learn about the type of natural disasters that may be prevalent in your area (tornado, earthquake, hurricane, flood, fire, etc) so that you can be prepared for certain types of scenarios. Know where to go in your home to stay safe from these disasters. Teach your child what kind of signals alert you of these events (sirens, etc).

- Teach your child who they can trust around town - visit the police station and fire station so that they learn that these people are friendly and helpful.

- Teach your child mom and dad’s cell phone numbers (most children can learn by age 5)

- Pick two emergency contacts and teach your child their full name and phone number (address too if possible). Make sure that one person lives out of state, who would likely not be affected by a local disaster and could help if no one else was accessible. Make sure you put a card with these emergency contacts in your child’s backpack.

- Choose an emergency meeting place that may be centrally located to home/work/school for everyone (possibly a library, grocery store, park). Make sure you remind your child every time you visit that place that’s it is where they should go in case of an emergency.

- Create a family emergency kit with the necessities for several days. Check out this excellent article from Seattle Mama Doc in Parents Magazine with tips for creating your own kit.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Moore, Oklahoma as they start to heal and rebuild after such a terrible tornado devastated their town. 

Don’t wait, make a plan now, as you never know when disaster might strike your community!



Zapping Zits: acne management for teens

Acne is one of the hardest parts about being a teenager. Unfortunately, it affects more than 75% of teens, therefore, most people have experienced it at some point or another. Acne is a result of increased activity of the sebaceous glands of the face, back and shoulders – this increase in activity is particularly notable during the teenage years, as sebum starts to plug the follicles, leading to those pesky zits.

“Acne” is an overarching term that refers to many different types of lesions that can occur on the skin. These particular lesions are:


  • Whiteheads (“closed comedones,” papules formed from sebum obstructing the follicle)
  • Blackheads (“open comedones,” papules that are also caused by an obstruction of sebum, but the follicle is larger and more open, and a dark color develops as the oils in the follicle are exposed to air)
  • Inflammatory lesions – similar to above, but the presence of bacteria worsens the inflammation
  • Nodules – large inflammatory nodules that tend to be underneath the skin (and painful!), can cause scarring if left untreated

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FYI: Seasonal Allergies Part I (Allergies vs Cold)

This time of year our clinic rooms are full of adorable children with runny noses.  But whether it is seasonal allergies or a virus (upper respiratory infection or URI) such as the common cold) to blame can sometimes be tricky.  Both conditions are VERY COMMON.  In fact, experts estimate that anywhere from 20-40% of Americans suffer with seasonal allergies and we know that children will typically have 8-12 viral URIs per year.  So it is very likely that your child will suffer from one (or both) conditions in any given year. 

So when should you suspect your child has seasonal allergies? If your

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Have a new baby? There's an app for that.....

Now that my baby girl is 2 months old, my husband and I are starting to get into a new "rhythm" juggling life with our 2.5 year old son and his new sister.  Although we still have our moments of total mayhem (cue screaming toddler and crying baby and bleary eyed parents making a mad dash toward our coffee pot), there are a few things that we've discovered this time around that make this whole baby thing a little easier.  Apps!

My favorite one is called "Total Baby" and I need to give all the credit to one of my favorite patients (well her parents, really) who introduced this one to me in clinic.  This app is totally genius and keeps track of, well, just about everything.  Feedings, diapers, sleep, baths, doctors

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In the News: Measles

Some of you may have heard the news this past week about a measles outbreak in North Carolina. The Raleigh News and Observer reports that there have been 7 confirmed cases: 6 in Stokes County and 1 in Orange County. Fortunately, measles is a vaccine preventable illness, so outbreaks like this are relatively infrequent; however, there’s no doubt that it causes quite the frenzy when it hits the news!

Because measles has been virtually eradicated in the United States  (there are only about 50 cases per year, most originating outside of the US), most of us have (fortunately!) never come in contact with a measles case. Since we don’t hear much about it anymore, here’s a quick refresher course:

  • Measles (also known as rubeola) is caused by a respiratory virus
  • The virus is very contagious and is spread by respiratory secretions (sneezing, coughing, etc). It can also live on surfaces for up to 2 hours, and can be transmitted that way as well
  • Symptoms generally include fever, cough, congestion, red eyes, and general fatigue/not feeling well to start; after 3-5 days, a red rash starts on the head and spreads down the body. There also may be spots that appear in the mouth.
  • Symptoms generally resolve on their own without medication
  • The biggest risk (and cause of deaths) from measles is the risk of getting another infection on top of the virus – ear infection, pneumonia, etc.

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FYI: Snapchat: a gateway to Sexting?

First there was Friendster and Mypsace...then came Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  The landscape of social media outlets and messaging apps is rapidly changing and new software programs are coming out all the time. In fact, a recent study suggested that teens are now favoring some of these newer "feed heavy, profile-lite" social media sites  and apps such as Snapchat (a photo messaging service) and Vine (attaches a short video to tweets on Twitter) rather than Facebook and MySpace which allow users to create detailed profiles describing themselves and their interests. 

So you may have seen Snapchat making headlines recently.  First a little background:  Snapchat is a new, hugely popular app for smartphones that allows users to add photos and videos to texts (this was instantly a HUGE success among the target demographic of teens and tweens).   

One key feature (and main selling point) of Snapchat is that the messages self-delete after they have been viewed. The sender can select a duration (anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds) after which the image, along with any added text or artwork, will be deleted off the device.  And it is this feature that has landed Snapchat in the news.  Due to the seemingly temporary nature of the texts (and accompanying photos), many worry that Snapchat offers the perfect avenue for "sexting" (sending nude or sexually suggestive images via smartphones and other mobile devices).  Teens and tweens mistakenly assume that the "evidence" of their inappropriate behavior will be immediately destroyed. However, it is important to note that those who receive a Snapchat

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In the News: Vaccine Safety!!

A very important study in the world of pediatrics came out this past week in the Journal of Pediatrics. Vaccines and the potential link to autism is a hot topic in the media as well as in the pediatric office, as parents often express concern over vaccine administration and whether or not vaccines contribute to the development of autism. As pediatricians, most of us feel confident that there is no link between the two, and this recent study shows some more powerful evidence to support this.

Dr. Frank DeStefano and team compared vaccine administration in two groups – those with autism and those without. Specifically, they were interested in the part of the vaccine that stimulates the immune system to protect the body from infection (known as the “antigen”). For each child, they counted the number of antigens that were administered via vaccines from birth until age 2. When comparing the groups of autistic children with normal developing children, there was no difference in the number of antigens they had received. This suggests that the effect of these vaccines on the immune system does not contribute to the development of autism. Perhaps even more importantly, it did not seem to matter how many antigens a child received on a specific day, further supporting that children should stick to the recommended schedule. Even Autism Speaks, a prominent autism advocacy organization, acknowledges this study as reassuring, given the good evidence provided.

Another very interesting point that was highlighted in the study is that the number of antigens in vaccines today has decreased drastically compared to those in the 1990’s. Even though children receive more vaccines than they did two decades ago, their immune systems are stimulated even less! Keep in mind that children are exposed to tons of germs on a daily basis – FAR more than what they receive in these vaccines.

NPR and USA Today did excellent stories on this study and hot topic, and I encourage you to check them out for more information (the audio story on NPR is great too).

The reality is that vaccines are one of the best studied areas of medicine today and they have effectively prevented millions of deaths per year! We have significantly decreased (if not almost eradicated) many of the diseases and illnesses that killed children no less than 20 years ago. The more we decrease vaccination rates, the more we run the risk of these awful diseases returning. Vaccines are much like wearing a seatbelt in the car – protect your children (and yourself too) now to prevent deadly consequences later!


In the News: Pets Spreading Salmonella Infections 

Most of us are aware of the risk of Salmonella infection linked to raw chicken and eggs, but a recent study published in the leading medical journal Pediatrics warns about the current outbreka of Salmonella infections linked to household pets (reptiles, in particular).  The report warns that African dwarf frogs are causing a nationwide outbreak of a specific Salmonella strain in children.  Salmonella is a type of bacteria that frequently causes gastroenteritis (a common reason for diarrhea in children).

The report looked at Salmonella infections from 2008 to 2011 and identified over 300 cases of Salmonella in 44 states and found that 70% of those infected were children younger than 10 years old and nearly 1/3 of these kids required hospitalization for their infections.  Children, the authors speculate, are at higher risk for

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Evolving Food Allergy Guidelines

Food allergies have become increasingly common among children. Because of this increase, it has naturally made us more wary about starting particularly allergenic foods in young children. Back in 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics attempted to decrease the prevalence of these food allergies by recommending that parents wait until age 1 to introduce cow’s milk, age 2 to introduce eggs, and age 3 to introduce peanuts, tree nuts, and fish. These guidelines didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference in the development of food allergies; therefore, they have since been revised to make food introductions a little bit easier.

With all of these changes in guidelines, it has been confusing for both parents and pediatricians to decide when it’s safe to introduce these highly allergenic foods. Fortunately for us, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology has recently outlined the approach to introducing allergenic foods even more explicity…and I’m here to share this information with you (this recent Wall Street Journal article also does a nice job discussing this issue)! Here are the highlights:

  • It is OK to introduce these highly allergenic foods (i.e. cow’s milk products, eggs, peanuts/tree nuts, and fish) BEFORE the age of 1. That being said, infants under age 1 should still receive breast milk or formula as their primary source of nutrition. Before age 1, cow's milk products should be limited to yogurt, cheese, etc. 
  • Start with cereal, fruits, and vegetables at 4-6 months according to your pediatrician’s recommendations. If these are tolerated well, it is reasonable to introduce the above foods any time afterwards.
  • Start with a taste of one of the allergenic foods at home (as opposed to daycare/elsewhere). If tolerated well, slowly start to introduce more of that food into the diet and only introduce one new food every 3-5 days

And regarding those questions about mom while pregnant and breastfeeding:

  • There’s no evidence to suggest that moms need to avoid allergenic foods during pregnancy or breast feeding in order to prevent the development of food allergies in their child. Instead, it’s important to maintain adequate sources of nutrition and protein while you’re feeding your little one!
  • Breastfeeding your little one CAN be beneficial in protecting from food allergies, asthma, and eczema (among other things). 6 months or more of breastfeeding is ideal, but you do the best you can!
  • If you’re choosing formula for your baby, there’s no reason that soy formula should be used over milk-based (regular) formula to prevent allergies

As always, ask your pediatrician if you have any specific questions or concerns about these guidelines. It is particularly important that you talk with your doctor if there is a strong family history of food allergies, as these can tend to run in families, and there may be a different plan for introducing these foods to your child. Otherwise, rest easy knowing that you can introduce lots of new foods earlier! 


FYI: New guidelines stress that not all ear infections need antibiotics! 

Ear infections are the number one reason pediatricians prescribe antibiotics for children.  But research clearly demonstrates that a good deal of these infections (up to 60% according to some studies) are due to viral infections rather than bacteria, and thus, will clear up on their own WITHOUT antibiotics.

So earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics published their newest guidelines for the treatment of acute otitis media (ear infections) and recommended giving antibiotics only in the following circumstances

- Any child under 6 months of age with an ear infection

- Any child over 6 months of age with an ear infection ONLY IF ADDITIONAL CRITERIA ARE MET:

  • They have a history of frequent ear infections
  • Their fever is higher than 102.2
  • Their pain lasts longer than two days
  • They have a bulging ear drum

For children over 6 months of age, if the above criteria are not met, the AAP encourages doctorsto recommend "Watchful Waiting" which entails

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Safety Alert: Safe Sleep for Infants

Back to Sleep. The slogan that started back in 1992 has drastically decreased infant mortality rates due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Despite the campaign, however, children still die from SIDS-related events that are preventable.

I wanted to share this excellent video from the Tennessee Department of Health about this important subject. Thanks to Dr. Michael Warren, a friend of mine from Vanderbilt, for allowing me to share it with you!

To put it simply, always follow the ABC’s of safe sleep for infants, meaning that babies should always sleep:

A: Alone

B: on their Back

C: in a Crib 

Other helpful sleep tips to reduce the risk of SIDS:

  • Avoid co-sleeping
  • Remove stuffed animals, extra blankets, and pillows from the crib. It is OK to swaddle (see Dr. Brown’s post here), but there’s no need for extra “stuff” in the crib!
  • Use a firm crib mattress
  • Although they’re cute, remove bumpers from the crib, as they pose an extra suffocation risk
  • Breastfeed if possible and consider using pacifiers when sleeping, as both have been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS
  • Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Avoid overheating; a general rule of thumb is that infants may need one light layer more than what you may require at night

Keep these tips in mind as you tuck your little one in at night!


To Do: Get Tdap shot during EVERY pregnancy 

As I type this, my left shoulder still aches a bit from the Tdap shot I requested at my Obstetrician's visit a few days ago.  I think my Ob was a little surprised to have someone so eager for a shot, but I had just received an email highlighting the new 2013 recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Center for Disease Control's stating that PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD GET A TDAP SHOT (or "booster") DURING EACH AND EVERY PREGNANCY! The new recommendation was voted on in October 2013 but just published last month.  As I near my due date, I wanted to be sure to get my Tdap shot before baby Brown makes his or her arrival.

Tdap is a combination vaccine which contains immunizations against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.  But it is the pertussis component that is driving the new recommendation for repeat doses during each pregnancy.  

Specifically, the experts recommend getting the Tdap shot toward the end of

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To Do: Brush those pearly whites!

There are always tons of questions about teeth at well visits. When do we start brushing? Do we use toothpaste? When should we see a dentist? We definitely like to see healthy teeth as well as healthy bodies, which is why it’s important to be knowledgeable about dental health for your child.

Teeth usually start to come in during the latter half of the first year, which is when it’s time to start taking care of them. It’s hard to believe, but those teeth will set the stage for the mouthful of adult teeth that will come later! Tooth decay can start as soon as the first tooth pops through and is a huge problem in toddlers and preschoolers due to decreased brushing, increased intake of sugary drinks and foods, and prolonged bottle use.

What can you do to help prevent tooth decay in your child?

  • Start by brushing as soon as you see that first tooth! You can either use a washcloth, finger toothbrush, or soft bristled toothbrush to start. Brush twice daily and always help your child – though they may have the brushing motion down, they may not be thoroughly cleaning their teeth!
  • Avoid fluoride toothpaste to start, as young babies will swallow the toothpaste rather than spitting. Instead, use water or baby-formulated toothpaste. You can start using fluoride when you feel like your child is able to spit reliably.
  • After 12 months, switch to all sippy cups as soon as possible. Bottles increase the risk of cavities, especially if children go to bed with a bottle!
  • Offer water and milk; limit juice intake to once daily
  • Avoid excess intake of candies, fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, etc. (sticky, sugary snacks that can get stuck on teeth)
  • Talk to your dentist about when to start flossing your child's teeth
  • Schedule regular well child checks with your child’s doctor as well as regular visits with the dentist

A very common question is when to see a dentist – I would suggest sometime between years 1 and 2 (definitely by age 2). Check with your doctor for dentist recommendations if you need them. Many family dentists will see children at young ages, but if not, a pediatric dentist is also an option.    

Further questions about your child’s teeth? Check out these articles from the AAP for more info! I especially love this article about ideas to help make brushing fun...


Practical Parenting: Sleep Solutions for Young Infants

During the first week of life, infants sleep 16-18 hours each day with sleep periods of 2-4 hours being equally spaced throughout the day and night.  Between weeks 2-12, the total daily sleep duration decreases to approximately 15 hours per day.  By 4 months of age, most babies are capable of "sleeping through the night" which experts agree means they can sleep a 6-8 hour stretch.

For the first few months of their lives, babies sleep A LOT!  For most infants, around the time they develop their "social smile" usually around 6 weeks of life (or 6 weeks from their due date for babies that are born early) is when "social learning" begins and also when babies are neurodevelopmentally able to regulate their sleep patterns.

"People have a genetic timing mechanism in their brain that controls sleep, and it takes time for that mechanism to develop," explains Marc Weissbluth, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University's School of Medicine, and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child (one of Dr. Brown's favorite sleep books). "Think of it like eye color: Babies are born with a genetic predisposition to a certain eye color, but it takes time for that color to be expressed."

Before this 6-8 week mark, let your babies sleep however and whenever they want to sleep.  Don't expect predictable sleep schedules and don't stress over trying to enforce a certain schedule.  And a word of advice for those of you whose child amazing sleeps for long stretches at a time starting sometime before the 6-8 week mark....realize that you are one of the fortunate few, count your lucky stars (and be very careful about who you choose to share this wonderful news with, lest your friends find themselves resenting your good fortune)!

The 2-4 month period is a perfect time to work on establishing a sleep schedule (or "sleep training" as many call it). Indeed, countless books have been written on the subject, each touting a certain step-wise approach to get your baby to sleep well.  My opinion is that there is no one way to teach a baby to sleep.  Every baby is different with differing home environments, different temperments, etc. 

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FYI: Debunking fever myths

Uh oh, fever strikes. Often in the late afternoon or evening after the doctor’s office has closed. What to do? Depending on who you ask, you may get many different opinions about how to manage your child’s fever. There are so many myths out there about fevers – here’s hoping I can debunk some of those myths and give you some helpful information that you can use in the middle of the night! 

First, what IS a fever? A fever is the body’s natural response to infection. When the body detects a virus (such as the common cold or flu) or bacteria (such as strep throat or ear infection), it’s natural response is to “turn up the thermostat” in the body to help fight that infection. Therefore, a fever is not bad – it signals that your body’s immune system is working to fight the infection. In children, a true fever is a measured temperature greater than 100.4 °F. Although temperatures of 99-100 may seem warmer than normal, kids’ temperatures vary throughout the day, and this can just be a normal variation.


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In the News: Norovirus (Stomach Bug) Runs Rampant 

You may have seen the news reports in the last few days, that a new strand of Norovirus is spreading rapidly here in the US.

The new virus strand, "GII.4 Sydney" was identified in Australia last March.  More than half of 266 norovirus outbreaks reported during the last four months of 2012 were caused by the Australian strain, according to data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

And although it is often referred to as the "stomach flu" - Norovirus has no connection to the influenza virus. 

What symptoms does Norovirus cause?

The illness often begins suddenly. You may feel very sick, with body aches, stomach cramping, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Symptoms typically appear within 12-48 hours after exposure to the virus and people remain contagious for approximately 3 days after their symptoms resolve.

How common is Norovirus?

The CDC estimates that each year more than 20 million cases of acute gastroenteritis are caused by noroviruses (so about 1 in every 15 Americans will get norovirus illness this year).

How does Norovirus spread?

Norovirus is tough to beat for two main reasons

1. It spreads rapidly and takes a very tiny amount of exposure to make someone sick.  One British scientist referred to it as the "Ferrari of the virus field" for its spreading speed. Fewer than 20 virus particle are enough to infect someone. 

2. Someone who is sick is contagious before they have symptoms:   Someone infected with Norovirus is shedding billions of viral particles (and start shedding virus without any symptoms, so they don’t know they have it and there’s no way to advise them about how to avoid spreading it).

Its rapid spread can be especially devastating in crowded, closed places such as daycare centers, schools, hotels, and cruise ships.

The viruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people and are typically spread by the following ways:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

How serious is Norovirus?

For most otherwise healthy people, Norovirus is usually not serious, just very uncomfortable.  Most people get better within 1­ to 2 days.

But, norovirus illness can be very serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions (like Diabetes). 

Norovirus is estimated to cause over 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths each year in the United States.  Deaths are typically due to the main complication from Norovirus - dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration to watch for in children:

- Decrease in frequency of urniation (fewer than 6 wet diapers in 24 hours in a young infant under 6-9 months and urinating fewer than 3-4 times in 24 hours in older children).

- Dry mouth and throat

- Feeling dizzy when standing up

- No tears when crying

What treatment is available for Norovirus?

There is no particular treatment for Norovirus.   

And, unfortunately, you can get norovirus illness more than once during your life.

Antibiotics will not help if you have norovirus illness. This is because antibiotics fight against bacteria, not viruses.

While infected, the most important thing is to ensure you (or your child) remains well hydrated.  Usually sipping small amounts of fluids frequently is the best approach (water or Pedialyte are best as juice and sugary drinks can worsen dehydration). 

Do not give an anti-diarrhea medication (such as Immodium) to your child. Anti-diarrhea medications usually allow the virus to increase reproduction and make the illness worse.

How to protect yourself from Norovirus?

1. Practice Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water (especially after using the restroom or changing diapers) and always before prepping food or eating.  Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is better than nothing, but is not equivalent to washing with soap and water if possible.  And if you've been an unlikely victim of the Norovirus, do not prepare food for others while you have symptoms and for 3 days afterwards.

2. Be careful in the kitchen:  Carefully wash fruits and vegetables and cook shellfish thoroughly before eating.

3. Clean contaminated surfaces: If someone in your home falls victim to the Norovirus (or any stomach bug), immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using a beach-based household cleaner (as directed on the product label).  You can make your own cleaning solution by mixing 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.

Of note: On hard surfaces in the environment, the Norovirus can survive for up to 12 hours. On contaminated carpet, noroviruses have been found to survive for up to 12 days.

4. Wash laundry!:  Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that have been contaminated with vomit or stool.  Items should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried. If available, wear rubber or disposab le gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after reomving them.


FYI: Hip Healthy Swaddling 

When my toddler was a newborn, swaddling was a must in our house.  It soothed him virtually instantly and  helped him sleep for longer stretches at a time (see adorable photo below).  

But like most things, there is a right and a wrong way to swaddle.

The "right way" can have miraculous effects and has long been encouraged by pediatricians.  The cozy feeling of the snug blanket wrapped around the baby’s body resembles the mother’s womb. Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and author of the acclaimed book "The Happiest Baby on the Block," encourages swaddeling as one of his "5 S's" soothing methods designed to calm even colicky babies. And numerous studies have shown that swaddeled babies cry less, sleep for longer stretches, and (if done correctly with a swaddled baby placed on its back) may even decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

The wrong way to swaddle, involves tightly wrapping both

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