Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Opening Times

The clinic will be closed on Good Friday.

Clinic hours as usual on Saturday and Sunday.

We wish all Christians a Blessed Easter!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chickenpox: Update on the boy with complications



Chickenpox Scarring

Remember the boy who suffered from the severe case of Chickenpox?  The good news is that it did not turn out to be meningitis, but the Chickenpox did leave him with a very bad scar to remind him of the entire ordeal.

He had spent one week at KK Hospital where various tests were done to determine the severity of the infection.  The pox just in front of the ear had gotten infected, so he had to be put on antibiotics and they had to perform ultrasound imaging to see the extent of the infection which had caused him not to be able to turn his neck.

After one week at KK, he was discharged but still had to be followed up by the paediatrician and had to be continued on antibiotics.  This picture is taken recently, one month after the initial Chickenpox infection and I have just certified that he was able to return to school.

I had another Chickenpox case recently where a distraught mom  recounted how she had left her child with the in-laws while she was overseas and during the time, her in-laws had another grandchild who had chickenpox and purposely exposed her child to the affected kid.  Subsequently, her child had chickenpox which left her with some scarring!

Please remember that though Chickenpox is a mild disease most of the time, it can still cause serious infection.  So please don't endorse the idea of Chickenpox parties and subject your child to the disease thinking that it is a way of getting them immne naturally to Chickenpox.  You will never forgive yourself if your child landed in hospital because of severe complications.  A better and far safer method is to give your child the Chickenpox vaccine and do also consider giving your child a second dose of the vaccine if you want to confer an higher level of protection.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rotarix: HSA assures us that it is safe

By now you might have heard of the news of the concern over the Rotarix Vaccine containing some pig virus. Both GSK, the manufacturer and all the leading authorities have looked at the matter and assured us that despite containing the virus, the vaccine is still safe for consumption.

Of course, I know that a lot of parents will still be very concerned about this issue. I would too.

I have spoken to the people at GSK and the way I interpret the situation is as follows. The virus concerned is normally found in pigs and is even found in the pork that is sold for consumption. Due to some new methods of surveillance, they detected fragments of the virus in Rotarix. The scientists are currently investigating how this viral fragment got into the manufacturing process since there is no use of animal parts.

Rotarix is not a vaccine that is injected into the body, but rather taken orally. We know that consumption of the virus does not affect humans, since we would also inadvertantly eat the virus when we eat pork. In fact the virus is not known to cause any disease in pigs or human. Furthermore, it is not the whole virus that is present, but only a fragment of the virus. So if you follow this logic, it should still be safe for babies to be given the vaccine.

So, what should you do?

At this point in time, Rotarix is not a compulsory vaccine, so the decision to give or not to give it is up to the parents. Since the first dose of Rotarix needs to be given before 14 weeks of age, if your baby is still very young, you can perhaps wait for further news on the subject before deciding. On the other hand, one has to still keep in mind that Rotarix has been very useful in preventing severe diarrhoea in babies and so its benefits still outweigh the risks.

I will keep everyone informed of the news about this subject as it unfolds. In the meantime, you might also want to check out the press release by GSK by clicking here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

MMR Vaccine does not cause Autism

The Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine which was introduced in the 70's has resulted in the dramatic decrease in what used to be the very common childhood diseases of Measles, Mumps and Rubella. I even remember having Measles and Mumps as a child myself, but nowadays you don't see kids with these conditions in the clinic.

Over the past decade, there has been concerns about a possible link between the MMR vaccine and Autism. This was the result of a paper published in 1998 in the British Journal "The Lancet" It has since been shown that the whole thing was a sham. Here is the excerpt from Wikipaedia:


Claims of a connection between the vaccine and autism were raised in a 1998 paper in the respected British medical journal The Lancet.[3] It was later discovered that Andrew Wakefield, the paper's lead author, had received major funding from British trial lawyers seeking evidence against vaccine manufacturers.[4] Ten of the paper's twelve coauthors retracted its interpretation of an association between MMR vaccine and autism.[5] It was also discovered that Wakefield had previously filed for a patent on a rival vaccine using technology that lacked scientific credibility, and that Wakefield knew but did not publish test results that contradicted his theory by showing that no measles virus was found in the children tested.[6] In 2009, The Sunday Times reported that Wakefield had manipulated patient data and misreported results in his 1998 paper, creating the appearance of a link with autism.[7] A special court convened in the United States to review claims under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program ruled on February 12, 2009 that parents of autistic children are not entitled to compensation in their contention that certain vaccines caused autism in their children.[8][9] The Lancet fully retracted the 1998 paper on February 2, 2010.[10]

Following the 1998 publication, there has been many large epidemiological studies conducted to look into the safety of the MMR vaccine. All of these studies concluded that the MMR vaccine was safe. I recently read one of the papers published by the Cochrane Collaboration in 2008. This paper reviewed all the previous studies conducted on the safety of the MMR vaccine and concluded that there was no link between MMR and Autism. The following the summary of the paper:



I hope this short post will give parents a better understanding of issues behind the MMR/Autism link. I think there is very good evidence to show that the MMR vaccine is safe and benefits far outweigh the risk. At this point in time, there is no reason to believe that giving the MMR vaccine will cause the child to develop Autism.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dadsforlife: Photography workshop for Dads



Karri Family Clinic's philosophy is to look after the family in a holistic manner. That means that we don't just treat your family's health problems, we also want to promote family harmony and values.

So I am now supporting the Dadsforlife movement which serves to spur all daddies to be even better daddies. Dadsforlife has organized many events during the upcoming holidays, but I want to highlight one which I am personally involved in.

If you have been wanting to learn to take better photos of your kids, do sign up for the free workshop during the school holidays from 19 to 21 March organized by Dadsforlife.sg with the support from Canon, Singapore. I will be the instructor for the events on 19th and 21st March.

Fathers can bring the children down to one of the three locations during the holidays where you can attend the seminar and then put your new skills to work taking photos of your kids! At the same time, there will be professional photographers around where you can have a free portrait taken of you with your children!

Details:

19th Mar at Fort Canning Park, 1.30pm (My session)
20th Mar at Marina Barage, 1.30pm
21 Mar at Singapore Discovery Centre, 1.30pm (My session)
Admission: Free but seats are limited so please register early

You can register by clicking here.
More information at Dadsforlife.sg website here.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Karri Family Clinic is now on Facebook!

One of our patients pointed out to me that it would be very convenient if they could read my updates on facebook too. So I have now created the Karri Family Clinic Facebook page and invite everyone to join as a fan!

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