Archive for April 2012

Monthly Archive

Whooping Cough Reaches Epidemic Levels in Washington State

Issue

Pertussis, aka “whooping cough”, has reached epidemic levels in Washington state and elsewhere throughout the country.  Whooping cough, an infection of the respiratory system, spreads from person to person easily and can be life-threatening.  Infants and children who haven’t been immunized can get seriously ill if they get whooping cough.

Public health officials are asking everyone to make sure they’re up-to-date with vaccines. It’s especially important for anyone who has close contact with babies younger than 12 months to get vaccinated to help protect the baby from whooping cough. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, health care providers, and child care providers.

Experts believe a growing hesitancy toward vaccination in general,  as well as the fact that many adults don’t realize they need to get vaccinated against pertussis have contributed to Washington’s whooping cough epidemic.  Vaccination decreases the chance of contracting and spreading whooping cough. Read full post »

Springtime Drowning Risks in Open Waters

Issue

In the U.S., drowning is the second-leading cause of injury death for children, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.  Most drownings occur in lakes and rivers. Children ages 1-4 and 15-19 are at highest risk. Non-fatal drownings are nearly five times higher in number, and can cause long-term disabilities including brain damage, memory problems, learning disabilities or permanent loss of basic functioning.

Why we should be talking about this now

While the weather is warming up, lakes, rivers and streams in the many parts of the country are still extremely cold, and snowpack melt feeds rivers that are running deep, cold and swift.  Sadly, it is at this time of year that drowning deaths often occur as people venture into these waters without appropriate lifesaving gear and lifeguard protection. Preparation, planning and extreme caution in activities around open water are needed to prevent drowning.  Read full post »

Kidney Donor Shortage Impacts Children with Chronic Kidney Disease

Issue

The good news: Today, children who undergo a kidney transplant have a 95% chance of surviving five years or more after surgery. That’s thanks in large part to the remarkable improvements made in anti-rejection medications over the last few decades.

The bad news: The average life span of a replacement kidney is only 10-15 years. This leaves many children with certain types of chronic kidney disease essentially “outliving” their replacement kidneys as they grow into adulthood. As a result, a new subset of patients has emerged – those needing repeated kidney transplants throughout a lifetime. Waiting for an organ can be a grueling marathon with some adults waiting years for a kidney. In the U.S., more than 97,000 people are waiting for a kidney. To make matters worse, common myths persist surrounding organ donation preventing many people from becoming registered organ donors.

Why we should be talking about this now

As April marks Organ Donor Awareness month, this provides an opportune time to provide a reminder about the benefits of organ donation, and to encourage people to register as organ donors. Read full post »

Cystic Fibrosis Drug Breakthrough: Q&A with Dr. Bonnie Ramsey

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey of Seattle Children’s Research Institute was honored today, April 18, in Washington, D.C. for her work on clinical trials of Kalydeco, a cystic fibrosis drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this year. She is a co-recipient of the award with Dr. Frank Accurso from the University of Colorado.

The Clinical Research Forum, a nonprofit organization that promotes understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare, put Dr. Ramsey’s work on a Top Ten list of outstanding clinical research projects across the country.   Some of Dr. Ramsey’s fellow award winners were behind research that:  is helping prevent complications after bone marrow transplantation; uncovered new therapies for leukemia; found that early treatment with medications can prevent HIV transmission. Read full post »

Crying Babies Live Facebook Chat

Have you, a family member or friend ever felt like a failed parent when a newborn cried inconsolably despite your best efforts to comfort the child?  It’s a common feeling.  New parents – and even experienced caregivers – can easily feel overwhelmed or frustrated by an infant’s crying. It can be a nerve-wracking experience, and often people think they must be doing something wrong.

There are many misperceptions about babies crying, and well-intended advice from family and friends may be inaccurate, increasing frustration and anxiety. The reality is all infants have extended bouts of crying, and there are effective ways to cope with it. Read full post »

Pinwheels Planting Raises Awareness of Child Abuse Victims

To recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Seattle Children’s Hospital will place thousands of pinwheels around the hospital campus this week. Each pinwheel represents a child who has suffered abuse, and people may purchase their own pinwheels at hospital gift shops to place outside. All proceeds will go to Seattle Children’s Protection, Advocacy and Outreach Program. Read full post »

Resurrecting Outdoor Play Time

Like many parents across the country, my husband and I are constantly trying to balance and prioritize what’s best for our two young children.  I’m also a researcher at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington.  My most recently-published work highlights that half of preschool age children in the U.S. lack daily outdoor playtime with their parents.  The topic is one that hits close to home, as there are many challenges for parents to get outside with their little ones. Read full post »