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Yes, we are in the middle of an epidemic in Central Illinois: influenza has blasted our communities for about three weeks now.
Is this an unusual year? As a spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this fall, "There is no such thing as a typical influenza season." Our assessment is that the volume of illness is higher than most years and the symptoms are not as severe as they often are. Unfortunately, we are seeing many people who were vaccinated who have come down with the illness, but they seem to be not as sick as the unimmunized children.
What to look for: rapid onset of harsh cough, marked fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches all suggest influenza.
What to do: treat the symptoms with rest, increased fluids and acetaminophen or ibuprofen but be sure not to use any old-fashioned aspirin. (This can cause severe complications.) Call the office if your child's symptoms are more than mild. Those who are seen within 48 hours of onset of the illness may be candidates for medication that will shorten the illness a little and make the symptoms less severe.
Should I still get my child vaccinated? Yes! This epidemic might go on for months. Call for a flu shot today!
The news and rumor storms around scary medical matters can make it hard to know what to believe. Our doctors have been getting a steady stream of information about Ebola virus. This website from the CDC provides the best resources for parents, teachers and medical personnel that we have seen. We hope that this helps you know when to be concerned about Ebola and what actions you should take.
Many parents have told us that they have heard and read about the severe Enterovirus respiratory infections in children and teenagers that have occurred in the Midwest in recent weeks. Happily, our area has not seen much of this but parents are still concerned.
This bulletin sent to our doctors from the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics provides some of the clearest information about this condition that we have seen, including some details about the illness in Illinois.
If your child comes down with symptoms of a common cold that is almost certainly what it is. Treat it as you always would. If you observe severe or frequent cough, labored or rapid breathing, please contact us promptly.
Nurses and doctors from Bloomington Pediatrics and Allergy served as "VIPs" with the Saint Jude's Telethon earlier this month. We were touched and gratified to receive many gifts by phone, on-line and in person from patients, their families and our colleagues in the community. THANK YOU to so many who helped bring us closer to eliminating cancer in children!
P.S. We hope that you will consider donating to this effort next year too! :-)
The short answer to this question is, "Yes!" Young eyes can experience short-term and long-term damage from exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. Sunglasses provide the best protection against these problems. Check out the advice from The Vision Council about how to choose effective sunglasses for your child. You can do a lot of good that will last a lifetime! PS The website has helpful suggestions for teens and adults too!