Showing posts from December, 2011

The Importance of Medical Play

Last week, my 3 year old, whose asthma is generally very mild, needed a few treatments of his albuterol inhaler. Because he is unaccustomed to having the spacer device on his face, the process of administering the medication was a bit of an ordeal. When I say a bit of an ordeal, I mean kicking, screaming, tears flowing, hyperventilating -- you know, nothing I can't handle. I finally got the puffs in him, and swore to myself that we weren't going through that again. By that point, we were already late for daycare, so I left the inhaler and spacer on the coffee table and whisked the kids off to school. That evening, as I was preparing dinner, I heard a strange musical noise, and turned to find Son #2 using his spacer as a vuvuzela. Here was the same child who only that morning was so vehemently resisting his treatment, now dancing around the kitchen with his spacer and inhaler attached to his face. The sound might have been as annoying as anything coming out of the World Cu

Want to Decrease Your Child's Risk of Pet Allergy? Better Act Fast!

The past few years have seen increasing interest in potential strategies to reduce the risk of allergy and asthma in young children. One particularly popular topic has been that of early pet exposure potentially decreasing the risk of animal allergy. Indeed, I am often asked by parents of my young patients if I recommend adding a furry pet to the household. However, it has been unclear how early in life the pet exposure needs to occur in order to modify risk.  A recent analysis of data from the Detroit Childhood Allergy Study sheds some light on this important question. It was published in the July 2011 issue of the peer-reviewed medical journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy. (Clin Exp Allergy. 2011;41:920-922) Annual interviews from 1987 through 1989, and follow-up interviews at age 18 years, were used to assess study subjects' exposure to indoor dogs and cats. After analyzing pet exposure during the first year of life, specific age ranges, and cumulative lifetime exposu