Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Poop in My Eye"- A Novel Cause of Conjunctivitis

It's that time of year. The intersection of tree and grass seasons. Beautiful to look at, miserable to inhale.

Naturally, my 4 year old's allergic conjunctivitis is starting to rear its ugly head. This morning, I found him rubbing his watery little eyes as we were getting ready for a visit to the pediatrician.

As I went to grab a Kleenex for him, I passed by my 9 month old and caught a whiff of his unusually pungent diaper. Aah, the sensory joys of motherhood...

Upon hearing me call his brother a "stinky butt", my son decided to embellish his story, as 4 year olds are wont to do:

"Mommy, I think he pooped in my eye."

The visual had me cracking up all the way to the pediatrician's office... I secretly prayed that he wouldn't share his theory about the cause of his conjunctivitis symptoms, lest she believe I am allowing my baby to use his brother as a potty.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Case for Good Nutrition and Playing Outside... low Folic Acid and Vitamin D Levels Associated with Allergies, Asthma

Two recent studies find interesting associations between lower levels of folic acid and vitamin D and increased allergy/asthma symptoms...

#1) A retrospective study performed at Johns Hopkins and recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology tracked the effect of folate levels on respiratory and allergic symptoms, as well as levels of the allergic antibody IgE. They reviewed the medical records of over 8000 patients ranging from toddlers to octogenarians. The researchers found that patients with serum folate levels at the higher range of normal had lower rates of high IgE, atopy, and wheeze than those patients with lower levels, even though some of the patients with lower levels were technically within the normal range for serum folate. Bottom line? Folate levels on the high side of normal may be protective against some allergic disease, but blinded prospective studies are needed before we begin recommending supplementation for this purpose alone.

#2) A cross-sectional study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine examined the relationship between vitamin D levels and markers of asthma severity in a population of Costa Rican children. Interestingly, low levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D were found in 28% of the studied children. To me, this was a surprising result in kids who are probably getting plenty of sunlight. Lower levels of vitamin D were associated with increased IgE, eosinophilia, and a 10-log increase in vitamin D levels was found to decrease the odds of recent hospitalization, antiinflammatory medication use, and airway hyperreactivity. Bottom line? There's been a lot of talk about the role of vitamin D in allergy/asthma prevention, and this study certainly supports the concept. However, we are still lacking data on exactly how much supplementation would be needed to prevent allergic disease- it's likely to be more than what's currently recommended for bone health. That said, I still give my baby vitamin D supplementation, and will continue to do so even after he has transitioned to vitamin D fortified milk.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How My Inability to do the Laundry Embarrassed My 4 Year Old

So it's been a while since I've done the boys' laundry... I've been busy! And they have so many clothes, I didn't really think they'd run out.

I was wrong.

Yesterday morning, it was time to go to school, and I couldn't find clean pants for Son #1. So, I decided that it was warm enough to break out his summer wardrobe. Last year's summer wardrobe.

Kids grow fast.

I hurriedly squeezed him into an oversized pair of blue shorts. They didn't look oversized on him, though. Maybe that's because they were made for an 18 month old. I convinced myself that as long as no one looked at the label, it would be okay.

However, when we pulled into the parking lot, Son #1 refused to get out of the car. His explanation? "I don't want anyone to see me like this. I look like I'm going to the beach." Poor kid kept pulling the shorts down to his knees and sheepishly found a place on the floor during "circle time".

This is the first time that I've embarrassed my kid at school. I felt awful, and vowed to buy him some summer clothes that fit. Or, at least wash his pants.

I really hope my husband isn't reading this.