The Flu shot made me sick!

Just yesterday, a friend engaged in casual conversation by asking if I was seeing the Flu yet in my office. “Only one confirmed case so far”, I told her. “Well, a few of my friends got the flu after getting the shot this year” she remarked. She anticipated my response – “You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine!” Year after year, I hear the same comment- from friends, patient parents, acquaintances, the FOX news network (j). What is happening in these cases? Are people really suffering a side effect of the vaccine itself? The influenza vaccine, like all other vaccines, does incite an antibody response. In fact, its effectiveness lies in its ability to stimulate the immune system to produce disease fighting agents that well, may make you feel a little under the weather for a day or two. Low grade fevers, a few muscle aches and some fatigue are normal and fleeting, and honestly a heck of a lot more tolerable than influenza. But what about…

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 …