Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Just a friendly reminder that MomsRising will be live-tweeting from the White House tomorrow — and you all are invited! To join us, follow the #MomsatWH hashtag on Twitter at 9 a.m. PT/ 12 p.m. ET. You can also ask questions via Facebook @momsrising. Thanks all!

Singing children’s praises to bolster their self-esteem is losing ground to more rigorous curriculums, in which praise is fine-tuned, according to a story in the Washington Post.

Parents published an article, “Six Secrets of Kids Who Rarely Get Sick,” which is timely considering I am desperately trying to avoid illness before my half marathon at the end of the month. So far a fever and cold have hit DH and DD. DS has a cold, and I am feeling rundown but have not had any other symptoms. Ugh!

In related news, Parents ran an article on natural remedies for everything from sore throats to head lice.

From the Boston Globe: A mom challenged Rick Santorum for his comment that no one in the United States dies from a lack of healthcare coverage. Good for her.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


Tylenol weakens vaccine effectiveness?

Hi MTers,

I saw this short AP article in the paper on October 16.  It is a timely topic about the importance of the body’s fever response after vaccinations.  Obviously they did not study the H1N1 vaccine, or the seasonal flu vaccine for that matter, but I’m thinking the same principal applies (immunology people can back me up here?).  Since it is fairly short, I’m just posting the whole article by By Marilynn Marchione, of The Associated Press.  (Hope this is ok with the “rules” of quoting…)

Giving babies Tylenol to prevent fever when they get childhood vaccinations may backfire and make the shots a little less effective, surprising new research suggests.

It is the first major study to tie reduced immunity to the use of fever-lowering medicines. Although the effect was small and the vast majority of kids still got enough protection from vaccines, the results make “a compelling case” against routinely giving Tylenol right after vaccination, say doctors from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They wrote an editorial accompanying the study, published in today’s issue of the British medical journal, Lancet.

The study only looked at preventive use of Tylenol — not whether it is OK to use after a fever develops.

Tylenol or its generic twin, acetaminophen, is widely recommended as a painkiller for babies. Many parents give it right before or after a shot to prevent fever and fussiness, and some doctors recommend this.

However, fever after a vaccine isn’t necessarily bad — it’s a natural part of the body’s response. Curbing fever, especially the first time a baby gets a vaccine, also seems to curb the immune response and the amount of protective antibodies that are made, the new study found.

It was led by military and government scientists in the Czech Republic and was done at 10 medical centers in that Eastern European country. It involved 459 healthy infants, 9 to 16 weeks old, who were getting vaccines against polio, pneumonia, meningitis, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis and other childhood diseases.

Half were given three doses of Calpol, or paracetamol — a Tylenol-like brand sold in Europe — during the first day after vaccination. The others were given nothing besides the vaccines. Babies given the painkiller were significantly less likely to develop a fever — 42 percent versus 66 percent of the others — and very few in either group developed a high one.

However, lower rates of protective antibody levels from several vaccines were seen in the group given the drug. Levels remained significantly lower in this group after booster vaccines, given when the babies were 12 to 15 months old.

The research was sponsored by Belgium-based GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, which makes all the vaccines used in the study. Some authors have financial ties to the company, including owning stock in it, and Glaxo had a role in reporting the results.

I always gave my son Tylenol after his vaccines, but he still ran a fever of between 102 and 103 for at least a day afterwards, anyway.  I’m wondering if his immune response was sufficient, despite the Tylenol, because the medication didn’t have much effect on him.  

I just wanted to put this info out there.  Maybe we shouldn’t give any Tylenol before or after our kids’ H1N1 vaccines, just in case!  (See how hopeful I am…we are all going to get the vaccine!  Soon!)


Weekend Open Thread

It’s the weekend, y’all! Let’s get right to some health and wellness news:

I did a little fist pump when I read that 3.4 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine will be available in the first week of October– especially when I saw that these vaccines are inhalable. Woo-hoo! One less needle poke for this pregnant mama!

Then I read the details: pregnant women can’t receive the inhalable vaccine, because it contains a live virus. BOOOOOO! Looks like I’ll be suffering through two separate pokes. But it looks like healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 can take the inhalable vaccine, so maybe my husband and daughter can be spared one poke?

According to a CNN/Opinion Corp. poll conducted in late August, 66 percent of Americans plan to be vaccinated against H1N1 flu. What say you, ladies? Will you be lining up for one?

I will be very pregnant through the height of flu season so as you can imagine, I’ve got H1N1 on the brain:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnancy puts (women) at higher risk of complications for flu in general, and so far that also holds true for the novel 2009 H1N1 virus. The most recent data show that from April 15 to May 18, 2009, thirty-four percent of the pregnant women infected with the H1N1 virus were hospitalized, and by June, six pregnant women had died.

To help reassure jittery moms-to-be, about 120 expecting mothers are participating in clinical trials across the country. Health officials anticipate the results of these studies will be available in the coming weeks, according to CNN.

I subscribe to People magazine, and if there’s one story I’m tired of reading, it’s the “How’d they lose the baby weight?” feature that pops up time and time again.

Even more bothersome? The celebrities that claim they stay rail thin by “running after my kids!” A new study confirms what I have always suspected: they are full of it! 😉

In a study of 58 women with children under age 6, only about a third of the mothers got an average of 30 minutes or more a day of moderate or greater intensity physical activity. And yet overall this group of women, most of whom also worked outside the home, believed they were getting upwards of an hour of activity daily.

“There was this ongoing theme of the women reporting more activity than they actually were getting,” says study author Kelli O’Neil, a personal trainer who is on the exercise science faculty at Central College in Pella, Iowa.

Seems the only way to ensure we get the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week is to schedule it and get to sweating.

One last study tidbit: turns out there’s scientific merit to the notion of running your kids ragged so they’ll sleep better:

Mitchell and his team had children wear an activity-measuring device around their waists for 24 hours. They report their findings in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Most children took about 26 minutes to fall asleep after bedtime, they found. The more activity a child did, the less time it took him to fall asleep.

“We showed that one hour of vigorous activity (equivalent to running) reduced the time to fall asleep by almost 6 minutes,” Mitchell said.

Speaking of vigorous physical activity, today is Maya’s first AYSO soccer game! She will have about 10 family members there to cheer on the Pink Ponies. :-)

What is everyone up to this weekend? Chat away…


The Flu Prep Diary

I am not a Nervous Nelly about the flu story, but I am a preparedness oriented mama.  I have been collecting information on flu preparations and thought I would share some tips and things you can do.  If you have been online today you probably already heard the PSA announcement about having two weeks of water and food on hand.  But there are some other things you can do now.  

First teach your kids and their friends good hygiene.  I love this little ditty for helping stop the spread of germs.  

To the tune of When Your Happy and You Know it.

Put your mouth in your elbow when you cough (pantomime with coughing) – COUGH, COUGH
Put your nose in your elbow when you sneeze
(pantomime with sneezing – ATCHOOO
Put your mouth in your elbow, put your nose in your elbow, so you don’t spread your germs if you please.

Keep hand sanitizer in the car and give each kid a squirt each time you come back to the car from an outing or errand.  Yes, I know soap and water is better than sanitizers, but in the car you don’t have water so we use “magic soap” as we call it.

Yes, you can go to the doctor or ER for Tamiflu and Relenza and you should if you or a family member are very sick.  But, I wonder if the nation has enough of these drugs stockpiled if this does develop into a pandemic?  Relenza shouldn’t be used in children and so far the schools seem to be a big transmission point here in the US (think the NYC cases).  So I have been collecting ideas for supplementing or boosting immune system and trying to cut off any flu before it takes hold in the body.  Here are some ideas I have collected over the last week.

N95 masks can be bought at any home improvement store cheaper than online.  They won’t prevent flu virus from passing through, but will protect from infected spittle/mucus if you must go out in an area that is having an uptick in cases.  Gloves can also be purchased at pharmacies and home improvement stores.  

Standard N95 masks don’t fit kids well.  There is a brand available only online called the totobobo, that is able to be cut to fit smaller faces and is washable with refillable filters.  Obviously this is going to seem over the top to many people.  I am one who calms down when I feel like I have prepared for the worst as much as I can.

Notes about influenza from a naturopath:

The recent outbreak of swine flu may or may not become a pandemic. Earlier this winter I taught a class about influenza. Here is some information from that presentation that goes beyond the basic hygiene measures we should all be taking. These are just some ideas to consider, please remember that anyone can have a negative reaction to any supplement, so make sure that it is right for you.

According to studies, the following supplements and herbs have shown some effectiveness with preventing and minimizing influenza:
· Vitamin D 2000 IU/day
· NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) 600mg bid with 1200mg Vitamin C (NAC can cause stomach aches and diarrhea in a small percentage of people and must be used with twice as much Vitamin C)
· Extracts of Olive leaf, Elderberry (Sambucus and Sambucol are good brands-try Whole Foods or organic/health food markets) and Astragalus

Other preventive measures include:
Keep mucus membranes moist and healthy
Nasal saline
Humidifier if house is dry
Clean vents and furnace filter and other environmental irritants in the house
Basic Immune Enhancing Measures for Influenza
· Eat enough, not too much, not too little
· Include 5 portions of colorful vegetable and fruit (especially for the carotenoids which help maintain the lining of the respiratory tract along with many other helpful attributes
· Stay hydrated
Peculiar to influenza:
· Exercising it off is not a good strategy with influenza. The goal is to keep the pathogen from descending deeper into the bronchi and lungs from the throat and nasal passages. The deep breathing of exercise combined with our (usually) dry air can actually drive it deeper. If you suspect flu, because of body aches and such, stay home and rest.
· Stay warm. The influenza viruses like a temperature of 95 degrees, which is part of why it flourishes in the airways where the temperature is cooler. Warm foods and drinks and covers help.
· The conventional anti-flu drugs do appear to be effective with this swine flu variant.

>From the symptoms reported in the media thus far, the homeopathic medicine with the best match is Baptisia. Not usually found it home kits, this would be a good one to add to your at home pharmacy in a 30C or higher potency. Washington Homeopathics is my favorite online source for remedies.

I also have diarrhea meds, guaifenesin expectorant, electrolyte replacement fluids, a vaporizor, and different fever reducing meds for kids and adults.  I keep have some favorite hidden treats/new toys to keep happy kids if they have to be stuck at home and isolated from friends.  

Here is a link to percussive techniques for removing lung congestion.…

What would you do if your daycare and schools closed and you had to be home with your kids.  Thankfully, a pandemic shouldn’t take out the internet so you could continue to educate your kids solely by looking at educational web options.  Some free resources are: (for multiplication drills/tests)……