The influenza virus, better known as the flu, has been proven over and over to have the potential to cause serious disease in pregnancy. That includes an increased risk that when pregnant women “catch” the flu, they may require admission to the intensive care unit, require a ventilator and, less commonly, even death. It’s serious. Babies of women who are infected with the flu during pregnancy are more likely to be born prematurely and are at increased risk for stillbirth.
We recommend the flu vaccine at any point in pregnancy and offer the single dose, preservative free vaccine in our office to all pregnant women (with the exception of those who have a medical reason not to get it.) A common misconception is that the vaccine causes the flu - it does not. Another misconception is that it is not safe for the developing baby to be exposed to the vaccine itself or the immune response it generates. There is no evidence to support this fear in almost 50 years of administrating this vaccine and close follow up of those receiving it.
We recommend the flu shot, which is an inactivated virus. The Flumist is a live attenuated virus that is not recommended in pregnancy.
Your family members should also receive the vaccine as they can pass the flu on to a newborn who has not yet gotten the vaccine. Babies can suffer severe complications if they are infected with the virus before they can receive the vaccine.
The other vaccine we recommend during pregnancy is the Tdap booster. The benefit of the pertussis booster outweighs any perceived risk. Pertussis, or the whooping cough, is at epidemic levels especially on the west coast including Washington State. That may be ...
Below are answers to a few common questions that I often receive from my patients:
What if I am taking birth control?
Depending on the type you use, you may want to stop birth control a few months in advance of planned conception. Birth control suppresses ovulation and impacts fertility. The good news is the affects of birth control do not last long. For example, we recommend that women finish a pack of birth control pills, have their next menstrual cycle and then go through one additional full cycle before attempting to conceive. During this time, it is important to use a barrier method of contraception (condoms) if you plan to engage in sexual intercourse.
An IUD (Intrauterine Device) can thin the lining of the uterus. I recommend that patients with an IUD ....
A short anatomy lesson
Our inner ear, or cochlea, has thousands of cellular components called hair cells. These cells act as biological amplifiers when the sound arriving at our ear is soft. That is, they pump up and down at the same frequency as the sound entering our ear making it more intense. This allows us to hear very soft sounds.
These same cochlear cells which amplify soft sounds can also contract and dampen the loud sounds which enter our ear. This prevents the ear from being over driven and this, in turn, prevents distortion.
So what happens if these cells are gradually damaged so that they no longer work properly? The simple answer is ...
Holidays are known for gathering with friends and family to celebrate the season and the passing of another year. For those with hearing loss, these gatherings can be more stressful than enjoyable. Small groups of people around the room all talking at once about how best to serve the cranberries or the beautiful lights that are decorating homes in the neighborhood can be difficult to hear even with a mild hearing loss. Working to understand what is being said takes a lot of energy and focus and can result in the feeling of isolation, tiredness and depression.
There are things you can do to help improve your communication during these otherwise festive times. No matter your hearing abilities, good communication strategies are always helpful when you are talking to others while cooking in a busy kitchen, gathered around the warm fireplace or sitting across the dinner table. The Better Hearing Institute has some great suggestions to share with your loved ones.
Depending on the severity of your hearing loss, you may benefit from the use of hearing aids or even a cochlear implant. Many people think that hearing aids are only for the elderly and cochlear implants are only for young children. This is not the case. Your hearing loss and speech understanding abilities determines what technology is right for you with no regard to your age. [Finally! Something doesn’t care how old I am!!] There are ...
Amongst the cheer and merriment, parties and soirées, often come unwanted extra pounds that sneak their way around our waistlines. The span between Thanksgiving and New Years are filled with traditions and an extra average weight gain of 1-2 pounds. It may not sound like much, but consider over the course of a decade that can lead to an extra 10-20 pounds. That extra luggage then leads to another tradition - the New Year’s resolution to lose weight!
Stop the insanity and start eating smart. Simple lifestyle changes will put an end to the cycle of overindulging, weight gain, and feeling miserable once the season is over. It is said the best offense is a good defense. By practicing these time-honored tips, you’ll likely feel fulfillment without getting overfilled.
1. Plan ahead.
If you know the party you are headed to will lack healthy options (hello, cookie exchange!) have a low-calorie, high protein snack prior to attending a party. This will keep your appetite in check and you will be less likely to arrive ravenous and overeat. Hummus with vegetables, whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese, a piece of fruit with natural peanut butter, or Greek Yogurt with high fiber cereal are a few great choices to tide you over. Pair foods that are high in protein and rich in fiber to keep you satiated longer. At the party, keep to light appetizers.
2. Host a healthy holiday.
Control the nutritional content of the meal by throwing the party yourself. Plan the dinner menu with lean meats and seafood, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans, and low-fat dairy. Use the opportunity to try healthy recipes from sites such as www.cooklinglight.com and www.eatingright.com (Ed. Note – check out our healthy recipe collection here or on Pinterest.) In lieu of a potluck, have party guests bring non-perishable foods to donate to the food bank.
3. Lighten up your menu.
Revamp your recipes by ...
As the holidays approach, parents often wonder what toys are safe for their little ones. When making your list and checking it twice, here are some tips to ensure that toys are appropriate for the age and developmental stage of your giftees.
For younger children/infants:
- Make sure all parts are larger than the child’s mouth. Most children age 3 and under consistently put toys in their mouth, and some older children do as well. A small-parts tester, or “no-choke tube” is about the size of a small child’s airway and can be purchased to test parts if you are unsure. If a part or toy fits inside the tube, it’s too small to be safe.
- When buying stuffed toys, look for embroidered or secured parts rather than pieces (such as eyes or noses) that could be removed and swallowed. Remove all loose strings and ribbons. Avoid animals with stuffing made of small pellets or material that could cause choking. Be aware that stuffed toys given away at carnivals, fairs, or in vending machines are not required to meet safety standards, so be especially careful with these!
- When buying hanging toys for cribs, ensure that the child cannot grab any portion, and that strings or wires are short. These types of toys should be removed when the infant can push up onto his or her hands and knees.
- Keep plush toys and loose, soft bedding out of the cribs of infants and young children as these can cause suffocation.
For all children:
- Look for labeling on the package that indicates what ages the toy is appropriate for. Remember that this doesn’t have to do with how smart your child is, it is based on physical and developmental skills for his or her age group and should be followed.
- Ensure that batteries are ....
Patellofemoral pain constitutes a quarter of the injuries to the knee. Kneecap pain can be both debilitating and frustrating; prolonged pain can limit physical activity and cause those suffering from it to abandon their recreational and sporting activities.
Patellofemoral pain usually manifests as a gradual onset of pain around the edge or underneath the kneecap during physical activities. Common activities such as descending hills or stairs, squatting, running, or sitting for long periods of time can all aggravate the pain and cause soreness.
How your knee works
The knee joint is made up of three bones: the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). The patellofemoral joint refers to the kneecap and the groove (trochlea) in the femur in which the patella sits. The four muscles of the quadriceps all attach to the patella. The patella is a sesamoid bone (the bone is embedded within the tendon) and it plays a crucial role in the function of the leg by lengthening the lever arm of the muscles and tendons of the quad to maximize power and function and by acting as a shield to protect the knee from direct trauma. The cartilage covering the kneecap within the knee joint acts as a shock absorber, protecting the underlying bone from stress. With running and jumping, the knee (and its overlying cartilage) can experience forces up to 8 times bodyweight. The cartilage itself does not have a nerve supply, but the bone underneath has an extensive nerve supply and these nerves become painful when the cartilage is not functioning properly to pad and protect the bone.
In patellofemoral syndrome, or PFS (also known as runner’s knee), the cartilage undersurface of the patella become angry, inflamed, irritated, and the kneecap hurts.
How to treat PFS or runner’s knee
Loosen things up. Use a foam roller to roll out the quad muscle and the illiotibial (IT) band. These tissues all hook into the kneecap and can contribute to pain when they are tight.
- Make things stronger. In the early recovery period (the first several weeks when you are just starting out on your recovery journey) ....