What's Going around Week of 10/24/2011

There is a lot of infectious illness going around Chico right now.

What I have been seeing in the office is quite a bit of
croup, Strep. throat, colds, and viral sore throat. I have also seen a few cases of herpangina, hand - foot - and mouth disease and roseola. These last three are typically summer illnesses. I guess our late spring and mild fall have shifted things a bit.

As always, if you are concerned about your child’s condition, seek medical attention.

If You Have a Depressed Child or Teen, Monitor or Block Their Internet Chat and Forum Access

Depression is as common in children and teenagers as it is in adults. Children and teens often have a need to talk over their problems with others their age that are going through the same thing. This can be a good thing and is the basis of peer counseling which can be very effective in this age group.

Unfortunately, there is no way to control who may visit chatrooms and forums that are intended for children or teens with mental illness such as depression to interact. Sadly, a disturbing trend has emerged. There are individuals who will go to these sites and basically prey on the depression of these teens. I don’t know if you read about it in the paper, but there was a teenage girl who was “befriended” by someone on one of these sites who basically convinced her not to tell her parents or seek help for her condition. This person encouraged her to commit suicide and even instructed her on how to obtain and use the poison with which she ended her life a couple of weeks ago.

One can only surmise that this was done out of some perverse desire to be the causative agent of another’s death. This has not been the first event of this kind. So, if you have a teenager or older child who is depressed make them aware of this danger. Encourage them to feel comfortable talking with you or their physician. Let them know that anything goes in those conversations and that you are there to help, not judge them. Make sure you have parental control software that can let you control, or at least monitor, their computer use.

Hopefully, if parents are diligent, these tragedies can be prevented in the future.

If You Have Adopted A Foster Child, They May Already Be in Financial Debt - READ THIS!

I read about a disturbing trend the other day that I wanted make sure I passed on. It seems that children who are in foster care are increasingly becoming the target of identity theft. Biological parents who may need money for drugs or to pay the bills, unscrupulous previous foster parents and other relatives of these children have been victimizing them in fairly large numbers of late.

Since these people have access to the child’s personal info - birthdate, Social Security number, etc. It is fairly easy for them to swindle credit card companies to issue cards in the child’s name. Since most parents don’t think of checking their children’s credit rating, these children don’t usually find out until they turn 18 and apply for credit. What turns up in these cases is that the child may have hundreds or thousands of dollars in unpaid debt and a severely damaged credit rating even before they get their first personal credit. Credit companies are supposed to help sort these cases out, but it can take a lot of time and effort and incur fees as well.

The best thing to do is to do a yearly check on your child’s credit. Everyone in the US is entitled to check their credit rating with the three big rating companies - Equifax, TransUnion and Experian on a yearly basis by the Federal Trade Commission. The official site is

So, what are you waiting for - click the link and run the check!

Not Only Parents, but Grandparents of Newborns Should get a Whooping Cough Booster

We’ve been recommending for a couple of years now that parents of newborns receive a whooping cough booster (Tdap for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)) if it’s been at least two years since their last adult tetanus (Td) booster. For babies born at Enloe hospital, the parents are offered this vaccine before they take the baby home.

Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics formally recommended that grandparents over age 65 who will be caring for a young baby also get the Tdap booster.

Whooping cough has been on the rise big time the past few years. California was the state the hardest hit last year with 27,550 new cases and 10 deaths in young babies. The immunity from one’s childhood vaccines wears off by the teenage years. Although teens and adults rarely die from it, it can be miserable to have. With whooping cough, one gets into huge coughing fits. It is not uncommon for people with it to cough until they vomit or pass out. People have coughed hard enough to break ribs and puncture lungs and it goes on for weeks or months - it used to be called the 100 day cough for a reason.

The real concern is for young babies, because they are not completely immune until they have had their 2, 4, and 6 month shots, and whooping cough can be fatal in this age group as evidenced by the 10 deaths in California last year

So, make sure everyone in the family who will be caring for a young baby is vaccinated. If your young baby develops prolonged coughing fits until they turn red or purple or just seem unusually sick with a cold to you, please get them in to be seen by their doctor.