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150721NewHPVRecsWhen a new and improved Human Papillomavirus vaccine, called Gardasil 9, became available earlier this year to better prevent cervical cancer, doctors and parents quickly asked: What about kids who have already finished their Gardasil 4 series?

As the name indicates, Gardasil 9 covers nine strains of the potentially deadly virus, compared to the four-strain vaccine many children have received.

Human Papilloma Virus is the cause of cervical cancer, penile cancer and genital warts, affecting both young women and men. This virus: spreads quickly by skin-to-skin contact, is extremely contagious, and is known to infect millions of young adults in the U.S.

Ten thousand new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year; 4,000 deaths annually make cervical cancer the No. 1 cancer killer of 20- 30-year-old women in this country.  

HPV vaccination has proven to be safe and highly effective over many years of use and is already showing impressive declines in the number of new cervical cancer cases in immunized women. The vaccine is strongly recommended for girls 9- to 26-years-old, and boys 9- to 21-years. The shot is given as a series of three injections over 6 months, and is intended to be given before children are old enough to be exposed to the virus.

We have waited eagerly for information on what to recommend to those who’ve finished some or all of their HPV series with the earlier 4-valent version. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the CDC recommends:  

•    Girls who have already finished their entire series of the Gardasil 4 vaccine may benefit from a single dose of Gardasil 9 to help protect them from the other serious strains of HPV.

•    Boys who have already finished their entire Gardasil 4 series do not need to be boosted with the 9-valent shot because of the lower burden of disease on their gender. Penile cancer is much less common in men than cervical cancer is in women.  

•    Girls and boys who are partially immunized with the Gardasil 4 vaccine (they’ve had one or two doses but need to finish the series) should receive the broader Gardasil 9 vaccine for all subsequent doses.

Eugene Pediatrics is one of the first pediatric clinics in our region to switch entirely to this improved, highly effective vaccine.  

I cannot stress enough how important it is to immunize your tweens and teens against this virus. By doing so, we can defeat one of the top cancer killers in this country.

150706LawnMowerSafetyA common question parents ask this time of year is: When is my child old enough to mow the lawn? Before a child takes on that job, ask yourself: Does he or she exhibit the maturity, good judgment, strength and coordination that the job requires?

In general, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be at least:

·      12 years of age to operate a walk-behind power mower or hand mower safely
·      16 years of age to operate a riding lawn mower safely

Before allowing your child to mow the lawn alone, show him or her how to do the job safely. Be sure to supervise your child's work until you are sure that he or she can handle it alone.

When mowing, be sure to follow these safety tips:

·      Ensure that children are indoors or at a safe distance from the area you plan to mow.
·      Clear the mowing area of any objects, such as twigs, stones and toys that could be picked up and thrown by the lawn mower blades.
·      Make sure your mower is in good condition and protective guards, shields, the grass catcher and other safety equipment are placed properly.
·      Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes with slip-proof soles, close-fitting clothes, hearing protection and safety goggles or glasses with side shields (especially when mowing near gravel).
·      Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you must mow in reverse, look for children or objects behind you.

Tagged in: Safety Teens Tweens

Posted by on in News
140919EPA childabuse-smThe cost of abuse to a child lasts a lifetime, for individuals and our country as a whole.

In a study of 17,000 adults, those abused as children were more likely to become suicidal and have heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and liver disease; twice as likely to be smokers, severely obese and to become alcoholics; and three times as likely to develop a drug addiction.

Of children abused, 22 percent have learning disorders requiring special education, and 27 percent become delinquents, compared with 17 percent of children in the general population.

In 2007, Stanford University researchers found that children suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to severe trauma actually have smaller brains. Severe trauma includes parental homicide, sexual assault, sexual abuse, school shootings and ongoing community violence. Researchers found a nearly 9 percent reduction in the size of the hippocampus, a horseshoe-shaped sheet of neurons that controls memory and emotions.

A study conducted in 2009 showed an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases in childhood abuse or neglect survivors tracked over time. In the same year, another study found, beyond the mental health impacts, childhood maltreatment reduces immune function, an effect that can linger long after the maltreatment has ended.

The cost to our country is approximately $124 billion annually, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is approximately $210,000, in 2010 dollars.

That includes
  • $32,648 childhood health care
  • $10,530 adult medical care
  • $144,360 productivity losses
  • $7,728 child welfare
  • $6,747 criminal justice
  • $7,999 special education

Prevention of child abuse and neglect requires public education and a commitment from communities to provide emotional, social and financial support systems for families.

Research shows that investing in child abuse prevention programs yields a 19 to 1 savings over the long-term costs to society of child abuse. These programs include parent education classes, safety programs designed to make children less vulnerable targets for abuse and home visitation.

If your child is a victim of child abuse, or you need help as a parent, reach out to the Relief Nursery, a local non-profit committed to strengthening families and keeping our children safe.

140916EPA asthma-smDoes your school-aged child have asthma?  If so, now is the time to take steps to be sure the asthma is controlled as the school year gets rolling.

Your pediatricians at Eugene Pediatric Associates urge you to:

  1. Take an updated, written Asthma Action Plan to school and review it with your child’s teacher and front office staff so they know how to handle the asthma. See us if you need an updated written plan.
  2. Take a fresh Ventolin (rescue) inhaler to school for your child.
  3. Be sure your child gets a flu shot this September or October. Influenza illness is especially dangerous for kids with asthma.
  4. Talk to your children and review the symptoms they feel when an asthma attack is starting, and be sure they are comfortable asking their teachers for help when they don’t feel good. 
  5. Watch our instructional video on www.eugenepeds.com about proper technique using asthma wet inhalers.  

Asthma is a chronic and potentially serious health condition. But with proper management, it will not stop your child from living a long, healthy and active life.

Posted by on in News

140901EPA backtoschool-smIt’s back-to-school time, that moment when parents start to think about ways to help their kids stay healthy during the school year.

Here are my top tips:

  1. Vaccinate your children! Oregon is the least immunized state in the United States. School is a major source of exposure to potentially life-threatening diseases for kids. Help keep them safe by vaccinating them according to the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule.
  2. Encourage your kids to wash their hands. Frequently, and especially before eating!
  3. Feed them a healthy breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day, and will give them energy to learn and run all day.
  4. Make sure they get enough sleep. At least nine hours of sleep each night will help their learning, memory and mood the next day.
  5. Be engaged with their schooling. Ask questions and visit with their teachers early in the year. And ask us for help if you see trouble early in the school year.
  6. Give them your love. A hug as they go to school and another as they come home, no matter what happened that day when you were apart. Knowing that they have your unconditional support and adoration will help your child succeed.

School is your child’s job, so make sure you are supportive of their education in every way you can. And call us at Eugene Pediatrics and Thrive Behavioral Health if you have concerns about how your child is doing in school.