Wednesday, October 21, 2009

IMFed: Help for kids who don't want to eat

One of the most common concerns amongst parents is that their child is not eating well. Parents do have a natural instinct that senses that something is wrong when a child is not eating or putting on weight. This is a good thing as the inability to eat is sometimes a sign that something is wrong.

On the other hand, some parents are overly concerned just because their child is not as chubby as the neighbour's kid. I often have parents coming into the clinic asking for their child to be weighed and measured. I have to say that most of the time, after checking the growth charts, I reassure the parents that the child is OK.

However, there are occasions when there is something wrong and the important thing is to make a correct diagnosis of the problem. Sometimes the child is simply picky while at other times the child might actually have a fear of eating. Some kids might be sensitive to certain foods, while others actually have something more sinister, like an underlying disease which is is causing the child to be unable to eat.

IMFed Kit found in the waiting room

Now there is a new tool available at our clinic called the "IMFed" which stands for Identification and Management of feeding difficulties. (It's pronounced "I am Fed") This is essentially a simple questionaire where you as the parent can identify the set of problems that you face when trying to feed your child. Once the form is completed, it is fed into another tool where the doctor can help to explain the problem and advise on the appropriate management of the problem.

So for example, you might find that your child refuses to eat because of the smell, taste or texture of the food and eats only very limited number of foods. Using the tool, the diagnosis of Sensory Food Aversion is made. Sensory Food Aversion is basically a heightened sensory sensitivity in kids and the way to handle the situation is to use a strategies like trying to eat "new foods" in the presence of the child without offering any. The tool makes it very easy for the doctor, together with the parent, to identify and help manage eating difficulties.

So, if you think your child has difficulty eating, do look for the IMFed box at our counter and just fill it up and we can look at the management options together.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dr Tay to be featured on Channel U

There will be a TV program featuring Dr Tay, the clinic and his food blog on Channel U on 20 October at 9.30pm and 11.30pm. So do remember to tune in and watch what your familiy doctor gets up to in his free time!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Pneumococcal Vaccine slated to be in the National Immunization Program

You might have read in the news that the Pneumococcal Vaccine will be added into the National Immunization program soon. Health Minister Khaw made this surprise announcement in Parliament last month.

I say "surprise" because having been part of a group of doctors that have been rallying for its inclusion, this announcement still seemed quite far off at the beginning of this year. And when Minister Khaw made the announcement in response to MP Fatimah Latiff, everyone was quite taken aback. But whatever it may be, we are all happy that the Ministry of Health has eventually made the decision to join a long list of developed nations around the world to include this into their immunization program.

So why is this vaccine important? Well, in short, pneumococcal disease forms the biggest proportion of vaccine preventable disease in the world. Despite the introduction of the vaccine, there are still proportionately more people suffering from this disease compared to other vaccine preventable diseases.

However, rather than providing it free for Singaporean children, the minister has announced that he will be allowing parents to pay for it from their Medisave account. Currently, these vaccines can also be paid from the Baby Bonus account.

But please don't wait for the govenment to make it compulsory before vaccinating your child. Pneumococcal disease is most devastating in babies less than 2 years of age. I have written about one mother's ordeal in an earlier post, so this is not something that you should allow price or government legislation to dictate whether you give the vaccine to your child. It is recommended that babies start the vaccination at 2 months of age in order to gain the most benefit from the vaccine. By starting the vaccine early, you have the opportunity to prevent the bug from colonizing the child's nose and throat. Some of us already carry the bugs in our nose and throat and most of the time it lies domant. However, one day it might just become aggressive and start attacking the body's organs. So preventing the bug from colonizing the nose and throat is an important aspect of preventing the disease.

I just returned from giving a talk on Pnuemococcal disease prevention to the Polyclinic Doctors and Nurses and found out that the retail price for the vaccine at the Polyclinic is $170 plus a $4 injection fee. Because I feel strongly that all babies should get the vaccination, our clinic has packages which work out to $155 per jab for babies in their first year of life who require 3 to 4 jabs. For those in the 2nd year of life, the jabs are $170 nett and we waive any consultation or injection fees. At the present moment these can be paid with the Baby Bonus card. I have been asked many times why we are able to charge less than the polyclinic and the answer is simply that we want to encourage parents to give the jabs early so we lower our margins to make it easier for families to protect their children.

So since it is going to be compulsory to protect your child from Pneumococcal Disease, do consider to do it now rather than wait for MOH to announce it later. Early prevention is very important.

Link to news article on the announcement by Minister Khaw
Link to my previous articles on Pneumococcal Disease

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Get rid of Body Odour once and for all!

I am going to share with you a little secret that the manufacturers of deodorants would never want you to know.

You can get rid of body odour once and for all rather than having to use roll ons and sprays everyday.

This is how it works. Body odour is often caused by bacteria residing in your armpits. Because the armpit is a moist environment, bacteria thrive and cause that smell which make people shift seats in the MRT.

So the trick is to get rid of the bacteria.

This is what you do. Go to the pharmacy and pick up a bottle of iodine. Then go pick up a soft brush, the type that you buy to scrub the toilet floor, but a soft one. Then the next time you shower, apply the iodine to your armpit and scrub away! Leave the iodine for a few minutes and carry on with your shower. Do it for a few days and very soon, you can throw your roll on and sprays away!

So if you have a friend or a colleague at work who has BO, but you have never struck up the courage to tell him, perhaps you can send him this post as a subtle way of saying: "Hey, its time to do something about your BO!" Soon the air in the office would smell like the meadows during springtime.

Good luck!