Does My Child Need a Flu Shot
My family has not had a flu shot in the past and we have all been fine. Why should we get one now?
We hear this comment regularly when we offer the vaccine to our patients. Let me offer an
explanation. As physicians, we see illnesses all of the time and most are minor, self-limited or respond
to a little medical intervention. For this, we are grateful. There are however, a small percent of
children who get more seriously ill, who end up in the hospital and/or who get a serious pneumonia.
Gratefully, we almost never see the really small number who do even worse. But they are out there;
they happen and not necessarily to sicker children. These are the things we hope to prevent. Yes, it
takes a lot of immunizing children to possibly reduce even the small numbers, but we do not want any
of our patients in that situation if we can prevent it. It is like wearing a seat belt in a car. Hopefully, you
will never be in a car accident. At some point, you might be in a minor accident and you saved yourself
some minor injury by wearing your seat belt. But you might someday be in a real wreck and you will
praise yourself for keeping yourself and your kids buckled in. We hope to prevent the medical ‘wreck’
with a simple immunization. Immunizing our kids protects them and those around them. It helps stop
the spread of the illness. So please, give the flu shot a second thought!
Does My Child Need an Antibiotic?
My three year old child has had a cough, congestion and runny nose for one week. He had a fever to 101° for 2 days but now it has been running 99° - 100°. He is drinking OK but not eating much. He coughs all night.
Most common colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections not viral infections. There are no treatments to cure a common cold. Most of these children benefit from symptomatic care and get better on their own. Some children develop secondary infections, such as ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections or pneumonia. If your child is getting worse after being ill for over a week or is running higher fevers as the illness progresses, we would want to see them in the office.
The physicians at ABC Pediatrics are happy to see your child anytime you are concerned about their health but an antibiotic may not always be indicated based on what the doctor believes is causing the illness. Vaporizers/humidifiers, Tylenol® or Motrin®, rest and plenty of fluids are always great places to start in helping your child feel better!
We have pulled together a number of resources that might be of interest to you:
Center for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov)
American Academy of Pediatricians (www.aap.org)
Kent County Health Department
American Association of Poison Control (www.aapcc.org/DNN)
Grand Rapids Poison Control (800) 222-1222
Welcome Home Baby - Kent County
Michigan WIC Program
United Way 211 Community Resources
Needy Meds (www.needymeds.org)