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Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

Asthma in Kids

Young child blowing bubbles

Asthma is on the rise, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, about one in 10 children has asthma, making it the most common serious chronic disease of childhood. It is still not known why asthma is on the increase.

“Asthma attacks can cause serious medical problems, leading to missed school days and the unwanted distress and expense of emergency room visits or hospital stays,” says pediatrician Rebecca Fazilat, M.D., who is one of the physician leaders of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Asthma Management Program. “Fortunately, many children with asthma do improve as they get older. If your child’s asthma does not get better, good asthma control can make this condition almost invisible and ensure lifelong good health.”

In this blog post, Dr. Fazilat answers some of the most common questions from parents about asthma. Read More

Food Allergies: What Parents Should Know

Peanut Allegy Sign

With studies and the media reporting increases in kids’ food allergies, should parents be worried? Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s allergist and immunologist Grace Peace Yu, M.D., answers some of the questions she hears most frequently from parents.

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Breakthrough Treatment for Severe Adult Asthma

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For the millions of adults who have asthma, there has never been a cure, only medication options for preventing or treating asthma attacks. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) now offers a new procedure called bronchial thermoplasty that gives long-term relief from asthma.

PAMF was among the first medical providers in the United States to offer this new procedure for patients with severe asthma. Ganesh Krishna, M.D., is an interventional pulmonologist with expertise in pulmonary critical care medicine, who practices at PAMF’s Mountain View Center. Dr. Krishna is an expert at bronchial thermoplasty and other highly specialized, minimally invasive pulmonary treatments.

“We are leaders in bronchial thermoplasty and one of the most experienced centers in the world,” Dr. Krishna said. “Other physicians travel to our center from all over the country for training in this breakthrough procedure.”

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What Is Celiac Disease?

What’s all the talk these days about gluten free food and gluten free diets?

Gluten is a protein found in foods containing wheat, barley or rye. The consumption of gluten by susceptible individuals causes celiac disease, which affects the digestive system. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction that damages the lining of their small intestines. This damage interferes with the intestines’ ability to absorb certain nutrients. Over time this can deprive many of the vital organs of important nourishment.

The most common symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal pain, vomiting, bloating and diarrhea. Less common symptoms are depression, irritability, joint pains, upset stomach, cramps, rashes and weight loss. Infants and young children seem to have more of the digestive symptoms than do adults. Read More

Flu Season: Tips to Stay Healthy

Have you gotten your flu shot yet? Flu season is here, and I always tell my patients that the number one way to prevent flu is to get your flu vaccination. This helps protect you, your family, co-workers and community. Along with the flu vaccine, patients sometimes ask me about other flu prevention ideas, so I’ll share a few with you here.

 Flu Prevention Principles: 

  • Number one – get your flu vaccination
  • Wash your hands
  • Use a hand sanitizer
  • Regularly wash your linens
  • If you are infected, wear a mask if in close proximity to others, especially those who are high risk

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What’s New with Flu?

Did you know that every year 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu, and more than 200,000 end up in the hospital due to flu complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? The flu can seriously affect pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with certain chronic medical conditions. The good news is that getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu and stay healthy. Vaccination usually starts in early September and continues throughout the flu season.

What’s in the 2012/2013 Vaccine?

Each year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chooses three viruses to include in the seasonal flu vaccine, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO looks at the viruses circulating in the southern hemisphere. For 2012/2013, the strains included in the vaccine are:

  • H1N1, which circulated throughout 2011/2012
  • A (H3N2)
  • B strains

 

What’s New?

  • Since 2010, the CDC has recommended influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months and older.
  • Experts continue to stress the importance of influenza vaccination for pregnant women, to protect both the woman and the fetus.
  • All influenza vaccine given at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) will be preservative-free and latex-free.
  • Most PAMF locations will offer a mixture of large weekend flu clinics, and weekday drop-in flu clinics
  • We continue to expand our outreach to all patients with both weekend and weekday flu clinics.

Visit pamf.org/flu to learn more about the flu, including:

  • Who is considered “high risk” from the flu
  • Children and Flu Vaccine
  • Pregnancy and the Flu
  • High-Dose Flu Vaccine for Seniors
  • FAQ’s about Seasonal Flu Vaccine
  • When you should call your doctor If You Have a Cold or Flu
  • How Flu Is Spread
  • Whether You Have A Cold or the Flu
  • Good Habits to Keep You Healthy
  • How to Care for Yourself or Others with the Flu

Dr. Charles Weiss, an urgent care physician and public health expert at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Palo Alto Center, contributed to this blog post.