Thyme to Stop Snoring!

I carry an Elmo Halloween basket as my tool bag at work! The kids way prefer it to a starched white coat and the parents generally seem amused! My intangible tool bag, however, is pharmaceuticals. I make a daily concerted effort to treat illness with the right medication, and often in pediatrics, a gentle dose of time. The resources available for treatment are vast depending on the issue, but possibly only partially explored by mainstream medicine. Yesterday, more than one parent talked about nightly snoring in her child during a well visit… not secondary to a cold or presumed due to allergic rhinitis or obesity, but just chronic snoring with daytime fatigue. On exam, some nasal inflammation was present – it is Fall and both viruses and allergies abound, but otherwise the exam was normal – no gigantic tonsils or other findings that might explain soft tissue obstruction with slee…

Essential Oil Review – Peppermint

Essential oils are a hot topic, and in recent months I have had a fair share of parents inquiring as to their efficacy in alleviating common maladies. My answer has been that the data is limited, but that it is certainly not harmful to use aromatherapy as an adjunct to medical treatment, and topical application of oils is likely fine as minimal amounts should penetrate the skin surface, but in all honesty, I don’t know enough about it. Essential oils are not med school fodder, and alternative medicine is rarely explored in allopathic medicine, not because all docs consider it fruitless, but more because we, as a whole, are skeptical of anything without strong scientific data behind it, especially if the complementary intervention could cause harm. I have definitely learned over time that “natural” doesn’t equate to “safe.” That being said, I believe it is becoming extremely important for medical doctors to understand the pros and cons of the …

Da&# Mosquitos!

It’s Summer— and about to be humid and hot, an environment uniquely favorable to the exponential growth and survival of disease-transmitting mosquitos. West Nile Virus, one of the better known arboviruses, is an illness transmitted via a pesky insect to a human host. In comparison, a zoonotic virus is transmitted via an animal to a human- a well-known example of this type of disease is the Ebola virus.

In the vast majority of West Nile cases, upwards of 80%, people infected will be completely asymptomatic. Approximately 20% will develop a mild to moderate illness consisting of fever and body aches predominately, reminiscent of the seasonal flu. Less than 1% of infected persons will actually develop West Nile Encephalitis (WNE) – the much feared but quite rare neurologic progression associated with the virus. So, who in particular is at risk of developing WNE? The elderly mainly – likely because of reduced immune system function t…