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Archive for November, 2011

Does My Child Have the Flu?

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Does My Child Have the Flu?
As we head into peak flu season, it might be helpful to review just what exactly is “the flu.” The flu is caused by the influenza virus and circulates in the winter season. It is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, body aches, cough, headache and fatigue. These severe symptoms can last up to 4-5 days and generally make a person miserable.
Influenza is sometimes confused with colds or stomach “bugs” but it is not the same thing.
Vomiting and diarrhea illnesses are often erroneously referred to as ‘the flu’ but are not caused by the influenza virus. The influenza virus does not typically causes intestinal symptoms. (Although it may occasionally cause vomiting in some young children.)
Since the flu and colds both cause respiratory symptoms, it can be confusing to figure out which one you or your child has. A comparison of symptoms:





 Rare or Low-grade
 High (up to 104F)
 Body Aches 
 Mild to Moderate
 Common and Severe
 Stuffy Nose
  Prominent & Common
 Can last up to 2 weeks
 Ear/sinus infection
 Can be serious: Pneumonia



If you are not sure if your child may have the flu, call our office for an appointment. We have rapid flu tests that can detect the virus. A nasal swab is used to obtain a specimen and the test takes 10 minutes to run. If the test is positive, we may opt to treat your child with anti-viral medication but only if started within 24-48 hours after onset of symptoms. These medications help lessen the severity and length of illness.   

And don’t forget, it is not too late to still get a flu shot. We have vaccine available in our office for our patients and their parents!  Jaime Fell, PA-C






How to Boost Your Child’s Immune System

Monday, November 28th, 2011

How to Boost Your Child’s Immune System Kids are exposed to thousands of bacteria and viruses every year and the surprise is they aren’t sick more often than they are. Their immune system is their defense to fight all these germs. How can parents help their children have the strongest immune system possible so their kids can be as healthy as they individually can be? Diet and lifestyle decisions are two important areas that parents can influence.


1. Offer More Fresh Fruit and Vegetables- Use some creativity and put fruits and veggies into your kid’s daily diet. Vitamins and minerals in these foods help support their immune system. Some of the best sources of vitamins include apricots, bananas, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, cantaloupe, carrots, mango, papaya, spinach, strawberries, and sweet potatoes.

2. Reduce Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners- Kids generally have too much refined sugar in the processed foods and sweets they eat. This is a problem because sugar suppresses the immune system. Artificial sweeteners offer fewer calories than sugar but are no help for immunity. Aspartame may cause headaches and Splenda may cause gas or diarrhea.

3. Use Good Fats- Kids need a certain amount of good fats like Omega 3 fatty acids to stay healthy and build up their immune system. Flax seed oil and many types of fish, like salmon, are good sources of Omega 3. Flax seed oil can be added to oatmeal or other hot cereals and your kids will continue to enjoy their cereal like they always have.

4. Offer Yogurt- Give active culture yogurt to your kids to help them restore the healthy bacteria (Lactobacillus) in their digestive system. Yogurt is also high in calcium to support strong bones, teeth and muscle. Avoid the yogurts that are high in sugar and colored like candy. Probiotics can also be helpful.

5. Encourage Healthy Fluid Intake- Children and adults generally need more fluids than they are currently drinking. Offer your kids more water and more 1% or 2% milk each day and a limited amount of vitamin rich fruit juices. Avoid sodas and other beverages high in sugar or artificial sweeteners.

6. Offer Vitamins and Minerals- Vitamins help the immune system. Vitamins A, C, and E are collectively known as the anticancer vitamins. The immune system needs these plus minerals like zinc and selenium to do its job. Zinc boosts the immune system and reduces the severity and duration of colds and other viral infections. Dark green leafy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and kale and orange vegetables like carrots are high in Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins and minerals support helper T-cells and this strengthens immunity. Vitamins and minerals also help in fighting colds and flu. Vitamin C is available in many fresh fruits. Vitamin and mineral supplements are helpful for all children to ensure a healthy foundation for their immune system. Centrum Junior Chewable vitamins and Emergen-C Junior (powder which is added to water to make a fizzy, fruit flavored drink) are two of the many vitamin and mineral choices for school-aged kids.

Lifestyle Influences:

1. Insist On Adequate Sleep- Make sure your children are getting enough sleep. The amount of sleep needed by children every night varies by their age. Sleep gives your kids time to store up new energy and make necessary repairs for the day ahead.

2. Encourage Exercise- Kids need exercise every day. Exercise strengthens muscle, balances emotions and builds up the immune system while it makes the rest of the body healthier. Be creative with options for exercise: walk, run, ride bikes, swim, participate in sports, dance or exercise with the Wi or at a health club. Exercise with your kids.

3. Be A Good Example- Kids model most of their behavior after watching their parents walk through life. Think seriously about not smoking cigarettes or abusing alcohol or drugs. These addictions all suppress immunity and lead to many other problems for you and your children. Give them a good example to follow with your own healthy choices concerning nutrition and exercise.

David B. Roos, M.D. 11/23/2011


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