Gardening, Endorphins and Dishes

I like weeding. There, I’ve said it. That feeling of satisfaction when a dandelion pulls right out, roots and all and leaves my beloved Shooting Star intact, is hard to match. I know there are others of you out there that know what I mean. Gardening has a way of leaving me with a sense of satisfaction and calmness that few other things do. Watching my garden evolve though the seasons always brings a smile to my face. An empty bed is just sleeping waiting on the warmth of spring to inspire the plants there to bring on their show. A freshly weeded bed will actually stay nice and neat for weeks, unlike my house. Dishes and clothes propagate in my house just like the weeds in my garden but seem to reappear in a matter of minutes instead of weeks after they are cleared. I just read an article that says natural endorphins are
released when you dig in the dirt. Maybe that is part of it.

Planned Home Births

Planned home births have increased during the past several years. Of all births, the incidence of home births is still below 1% and is not well supported in the United States. If a home birth is considered, I cannot stress enough the importance of subsequent newborn care that includes erythromycin eye ointment and intramuscular vitamin K. I recommend reading the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement regarding home births.


FluMist Shortage

Get your flu shot! The CDC and AAP recommend that everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine. There is currently a production delay of FluMist (nasal spray flu vaccine), making the timing of the availability to both schools and doctor’s offices uncertain. If you are waiting for FluMist to become available, consider getting the injectable flu vaccine instead! A Vanderbilt pediatrician explains more about the FluMist delay.

Dental Care for Infants and Toddlers

Did you know that the American Dental Association recommends the use of fluoride containing toothpaste for dental care beginning with the eruption of the first tooth? A child from 6 months to 3 years should use a “smear” or an amount the size of a grain of rice. A child from 3 to 6 years requires a pea sized amount. These amounts are considered safe twice a day even if the child is unable to spit it out.


Kids and the Flu Shot: 11 Things Every Parent Needs to Know about the 2015-2016 Influenza Vaccine

A St. Louis pediatrician has written a very informative article discussing the flu vaccine.  Parents often ask these very questions.  All your doctors at KPA strongly recommend the flu vaccine.  This article should those of you that have real questions about the vaccine make a good decision.

Backpack complaints are a matter of perception

We blessed the backpacks at church last week but some of our kids seemed more interested in a ceremony called “cursing of the backpacks”. It does seem that in this age of IPads and Kindles that backpacks would have already been relegated to the dustbin of history. But if your child’s pack exceeds 20% of body weight and she has chronic neck, shoulder or back pain, we can help medically but also help persuade teachers to decrease the weight of packs.

Click here to read full article.


Part of young parents’ reticence to immunize their kids is due to the fact that they have lived in a golden age of medicine; they have never witnessed the ravages of measles, chickenpox or polio so the natural fear that they should have is largely absent. August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Elder pediatricians, including myself, have been asked to provide anecdotes about some of our patients who had vaccine preventable diseases before vaccines were available.

I vividly remember a nine year old boy with leukemia who developed chickenpox. He had blisters over his entire body and inside his mouth, esophagus and trachea. We could not start IVs because there were no veins visible. We treated him as we would treat a severe burn patient. There were no drugs to combat the virus. He died a miserable death from chickenpox pneumonia, severe dehydration and skin superinfection.

I also remember with great fondness our senior partner Dr. Hammond Pride, who, with Dr. Dick Willingham established Knoxville Pediatric Group, the predecessor of KPA. Ham had polio as a child but survived with only a minor limp. However, as he grew older, he developed a huge belly but he didn’t seem particularly fat anywhere else. His doctors finally came to the realization, when he was 53 years old, that Ham’s bladder had been partially paralyzed by the polio. It was as big as a large pumpkin! He had many urinary infections later in life along with increasing weakness from his childhood bout with polio. But polio never suppressed his indefatigable spirit or his good humor. He is missed.

It is truly heartbreaking to witness parents withholding these life saving vaccines.