Flu season is upon us, and now is the time to review how to best protect your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children ages 6 months and older, including adolescents, receive a flu shot this season with the goal of providing optimal protection against all strains of influenza. Influenza can be a serious illness, and as many parents are aware, influenza resulted in a record number of pediatric deaths this past year.
Injectable vs. Nasal Flu Vaccine
The AAP recommends the injectable flu vaccine as the primary choice for children and adolescents this season because the injectable vaccine has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of flu virus in recent years. FluMist, the nasal flu vaccine (also known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine) is also available this year. FluMist was off market for the past two flu seasons because it did not work as well against influenza A/H1N1, but has been re-introduced for 2018-2019.
When deciding what vaccine to give your child, it is important for parents to recognize the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has approved FluMist. However, after the AAP reviewed the same data, the AAP concluded the injectable flu vaccine is preferred. This is because the injectable flu vaccine can offer your child better protection. Based on this, the AAP recommends that FluMist be reserved as a last resort for those who would not otherwise receive any vaccine at all. However, we do have the FluMist if you would like to choose this option for your child.
As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your children from influenza is to get them vaccinated. Everyone around them should be vaccinated, too.
Influzena Vaccine and Egg Allergy
This year, the recommendations have changed. Everyone who has an egg allergy may receive any type of influenza vaccine. However, children who have egg allergies should receive their flu vaccine as a regular office visit so we can observe them after the flu vaccine is given. Thus, if your child has an egg allergy please do not come to the flu clinics, but instead please call for an appointment.
Does my child need a booster dose of Flu Vaccine?
The number of doses of influenza vaccine depends on your child’s age and vaccine history. Children 6 months through 8 years of age need two doses when it is the first time they are being vaccinated against influenza. Children 9 years of age and older require only one dose, regardless of prior vaccination history.
Our weekly newborn group is a time for new mothers to come together to share their experiences and learn from our group facilitators, Willows physicians, and each other. We also enjoy having guest speakers who present on subjects that moms have shown an interest in. One of our regular guest speakers is Tina Botticelli, a pediatric physical therapist from Norwalk Hospital. At a recent meeting Tina joined our newborn group to discuss infant motor development, and demonstrated recommended ways to position and hold babies to support their emerging physical skills. By encouraging proper head and neck development, parents can also reduce the likelihood that their baby will develop occipital plagiocephaly, or flattening on one side of the back of the head.
As part of teaching about infant development, the physicians, PA’s, and nurses at Willows want to remind parents and all caretakers about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for sleep safety. While tummy time is important for infants to develop strong muscles, tummy time is only for infants who are awake and being watched. And please remember, healthy babies are safest when sleeping on their backs at nighttime and during naps. Back to sleep, tummy to play!
Dr. Lauren Allison was recently featured on an interview with Star 99.9.
The Anna & Raven Show is a popular radio stream from the local station Star 99.9. Anna, one of the broadcasters, is currently pregnant and was concerned when she heard there was a recent outbreak of Fifth Disease in the local area.
Both Anna and Raven from Star 99.9 decided to interview Dr. Allison to learn more about Fifth Disease and other viral illnesses. Below is the interview with our own Dr. Lauren Allison!
You can listen by following this link or clicking below.
In response to new 2018 Universal Screening Recommendations for adolescent depression and anxiety by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Willows Pediatric Group is pleased to offer your adolescent age 12 years and over the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 self-reporting screening tests.
Adolescence is a period of time when teenagers may experience changes in mood and sense of well-being. While most teenagers may be able to express their feelings, not all are capable of doing so. Studies have shown that up to 50% of adolescents with depression go unrecognized and untreated. Read More
Most parents are aware of the staggering number of children and adolescents affected by firearm violence in the United States. What parents may not realize is that in the United States, one out of every three homes with children has a gun, and that many of these firearms are kept unlocked or loaded. Every year thousands of children and adolescents are killed and injured as a result.
In response, we want to bring to your attention The ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Campaign. This movement promotes a simple idea that has the potential to help keep all kids safe. The Ask Campaign, created in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, encourages parents to ASK if there is an unlocked gun in the homes where their children play. Read More
As we begin 2018, the physicians, PAs, nurses, and staff of Willows Pediatrics would like to say how grateful we are for the support from our families as we gave back to our local community and beyond the past year. September 2017 was Childhood Cancer Awareness month, and families who purchased items at our bake sale helped support the fight against childhood cancer. Thirteen members of the Willows family participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Sherwood Island last October and contributed to breast cancer awareness and research. October 2017 was also when several of our physicians and staff sorted and packed food at the Connecticut Food Bank in Fairfield. Many thanks to our families who donated non-perishable food items during our food drive. 2017 ended with our Toys for Tots drive, part of the annual campaign run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Again, many thanks for the generosity of so many families who donated unopened toys to be given to children whose families were unable to purchase them on their own.
Our always popular baby group took a break from their normal newborn learning sessions to celebrate Halloween and the new friendships and bonds that develop during the weekly sessions. While their parents enjoyed baked goods and snacks, babies celebrated their first Halloween dressed in festive costumes. The Willows baby group is open to any of our parents with an infant from birth to 3 months of age, and meets in our office every Tuesday at 11 am. No appointment is needed, just bring yourself, any family members who want to join you, and your baby!
Willows Pediatric Group has done it again! Based on data from the Connecticut Immunization Registry and Tracking System (CIRTS), we have achieved a 94% immunization rate at age 2 years, for our patients born in the year 2013. This has contributed to sustaining Connecticut’s high immunization rate. We are proud to continue our tradition of receiving this annual recognition from CIRTS.
The physicians, PA’s, and nurses at Willows are dedicated to informing parents about the benefits of vaccines, and vaccinating your children at an appropriate age to keep them protected from diseases.
If your high-school-aged teen has struggled getting up for school in the morning, you are not alone. What has been commonly observed, that adolescents’ sleep cycle shifts as they hit puberty so that adolescents become night owls, have trouble waking up in the morning, and then experience excessive sleepiness during the day – has recently received national attention as a public health issue.
With the benefit of neuroscience we now know that teens aren’t just lazy; their natural sleep cycles make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11:00 p.m. and wake up before 8:00 a.m. This is because adolescents’ biological sleep-wake cycle begins to shift two to three hours later at the start of puberty. This sleep-phase shift affects teenagers around the world, regardless of parenting methods, technology use, or sleep hygiene. Even adolescents in pre-industrial cultures without cell phones or computers develop the same sleep-cycle delay.
Enjoy these letters of appreciation to Dr. Peter Czuczka as he prepares for retirement next year.