I used to believe we should leave medicine to the doctors and faith to the Church. I didn’t really understand that my pediatrician would become a personal mentor for me as I navigated parenthood. I didn’t really consider that my pediatrician would become a private confidant of my children, discussing sensitive issues behind closed doors.
HPV, or the Human Papiloma Virus, is epidemic in the United States. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 24.5% of females in the United States aged 14 to 19 years are HPV positive. Among women 20-24 years old, an astounding 44.8% were positive. Given sad statistics like this, it’s no surprise that many people pushed hard for the development of the HPV vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix.
But now that we have vaccines, a raging debate has grown up around them. Parents especially express concerns about vaccine safety, parental autonomy, and the financial interest of vaccine manufacturers. So many parents ask me the question, “Why expose your child to a vaccine when virus can be prevented by abstinence?”
“When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude it can no longer be held together by love: and consequently it is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, then society in which they live becomes putrid, it festers with servility, resentment and hate.” — Thomas Merton
Something has changed in the past five years-- pot isn’t really considered a street drug anymore by my patients. Marijuana use isn’t anything they feel a need to deny or hide. With increasing frequency, my adolescent patients openly discuss their marijuana use in front of their parents. Some adamantly deny alcohol use yet don’t hesitate to discuss their regular marijuana use.
Just a few years ago, this wasn’t true. As soon as I mentioned the need to get a drug screen, my patients would get a nervous look on their face, often confessing marijuana use before the test results came back and begging me not to tell their parents.
My patients now recognize marijuana as a drug-- a medical drug, that is.
Sleep helps kids do well in school, improves social functioning, prevents illness and injuries, and even prevents obesity. But American children don’t sleep enough. With touch-screens luring children to avoid bed, we have a growing epidemic of pediatric sleep deprivation. Don’t let your kids go to school sleep-deprived. Summer is ending and it’s time to get your kids on a back-to-school sleep schedule.
Every summer my ER fills up with travelers-- families far from home with vacation plans gone awry. Most are children with high fevers, vomiting, broken bones, burns, poison ivy, and infected insect bites. With a few tricks and a bit of preparation, you can keep your kids out of the ER and enjoy your vacation.
True confession: the night before we left for our national park road trip my husband and I seriously considered cancelling the whole thing. On a total whim (and moment of fantasy) I had planned a six day, 1700 mile family road trip to Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and Crazy Horse. Perhaps I was the crazy one? As we stayed up late packing the minivan, my dreams of teaching my kids history and watching family movies in the minivan turned to fears of incessant back-seat bickering and kids bored by national parks.
In February of 2014, in the Journal ofExperimental Psychology (General), Eddie Brummelman and colleagues published an article that revisited the subject of praise for youth. For decades, praise and positive reinforcement had been hailed by mental health professionals as the antidote to many of our youth’s problems. Parents regularly heard the message that there was no such thing as “bad praise.” But as the research began to evolve, some began to question this notion. Brummelman and his co-authors focused on two types of praise: person praise and process
I’ve been throwing down prenatal vitamins every morning for more than a decade, so I was shocked to realize that I’m deficient in iodine, a nutrient essential for thyroid function and brain development. I’m not alone, almost a third of pregnant women in the United States don’t get enough iodine in their diet, and only about 15% of prenatal vitamins contain iodine (mine didn’t.) This month, The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement about iodine deficiency, making the recommendation that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should be taking at least 150 micrograms of iodine daily.
Everyone needs iodine, but new research on iodine deficiency
The CatholicPediatrics.com web site is intended as a reference and information source only. If you suspect you have a health problem, you should seek immediate care with the appropriate health care professionals. The information in this web site is not a substitute for professional care, and must not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. The following entities assume no liability for the information contained in this web site or for its use: Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD, CatholicPediatrics.com, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and BJC Healthcare. The opinions and views expressed on and through CatholicPediatrics.com are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of CatholicPediatrics.com, Kathleen M. Berchelmann, MD, or any other entity.