Monday, March 14, 2016

Is it a cold or the flu?

cold flu
fever rare usual; high (100F to 102F, occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3-4 days
headache rare common
fatigue, weakness sometimes usual; cam last up to 2-3 weeks
general aches and pains slight usual; often severe
exhaustion never usual; at the beginning of the illness
stuffy nose common sometimes
sneezing usual sometimes
sore throat common sometimes
chest discomfort, cough mild to moderate common; can become severe
treatment antihistamines, decongestants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines antiviral medicines- see your doctor
prevention wash your hands often with soap and water; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold annual vacciation; antiviral medication- see your doctor 

Monday, February 8, 2016

How to Talk to Your Child about Failing: 3 Questions Parents Should Ask

To continue on the topic of letting our children experience failure, here are some great tips from the same article I quoted last week (

"How to Talk to Your Child about Failing: 3 Questions Parents Should Ask
Whether dealing with feelings of discomfort or feelings of failure, there are three simple questions parents can ask their child.

1. “What part did you play in this?”
That’s what you want your child to learn, because that’s all he can change. The lesson stems from there. Your child might say, “I don’t know what part I played, Dad.” You can respond by saying, “Well, let’s think about it. Where did you get off track? Where did things go wrong for you?” If your child doesn’t know, you can say, “Well, it seems to me you got off track when you didn’t have your homework ready when your teacher called on you. The part you played was not being prepared. And the solution to that is getting prepared.” Your child may agree with you, or he may try to offer some defense. But any defense that’s offered is not going to be legitimate as long as you’re speaking in the context of “What part did you play?” You just need to point out, “Well, it seems to me like you’re making an excuse for not having your homework done.” Or “Seems to me you’re blaming me for not having your homework done.” Or “It looks to me like you’re blaming your teacher for not having your homework done.”—whatever the case may be.

2. “What are you going to do differently next time?”
So it’s, “What are you going to do differently the next time when you have to do your homework?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time so that if your teacher calls on you, you won’t get embarrassed?” Or “What are you going to do differently next time to pass the test?” This is a big question in this conversation with your child, because it gets him to see other, healthier ways of responding to the problem.

3. “What did you learn from this?”
“What did you learn from being embarrassed when your teacher called on you?” “What did you learn from not passing the test?” Put the responsibility back on your child. If you take his responsibility over, it’s just going to become a power struggle. With all the problems that exist in education today, the last thing you need is to be in a power struggle with your child’s teacher.
Now you may say, “Well you don’t understand, my child’s teacher is different.” I do understand that. There are effective teachers and ineffective teachers. But let me ask you this: when is your child going to learn to deal with ineffective teachers? Where do you think your child is going to learn to deal with injustice? Part of learning—for everyone—involves feeling uncomfortable at times. Part of loving your child responsibly means that you need to let him feel discomfort, and even fail, as long as he’s learning how to be accountable for his actions in the process."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Letting Kids Fail Sometimes

Are you shocked by the title? Do I have your attention?

Sometimes we need to let kids fail. How else will they learn skills to handle adversity? We are supposed to experience problems as we go through life and hopefully get better and better at dealing with them. Kids need practice solving the smaller stuff so they have confidence to solve the bigger stuff later.

Attached is a link to an article about this subject. I encourage you to read it if you have time.

Don't have time for the full article? Here are some of the main points:
  • Parents worry that if a kid fails at something school related, they'll have problems catching up later. Parents often fail to realize that the failure is also a growth opportunity for their child, so s/he can learn skills to better plan their future.
  • "It’s often stated that the Chinese symbol for “crisis” is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.” I think that parents see the danger part very clearly in a crisis, but often they don’t see the opportunity: your child has the opportunity to learn an important lesson."
  • Do you think asking teachers to change your student's grade is a good idea? No, what your child is going to learn is that they don’t have to take responsibility for their ineffective behavior—that somebody else is going to fight for them.
  • Your child got an F?  "It’s his/her responsibility to experience the natural consequences of his/her actions. And the biggest consequence is that your child has failed. To me, this is not the end of the world, it’s a lesson, just like anything else designed to help him/her see that s/he’s not making the grade. Receiving a failing grade is a gauge of how s/he’s doing, and if s/he’s failed something, s/he needs to solve the problem responsibly."
  • "Failure is an opportunity to get your child to look at himself. Part of parents’ sensitivity to this is that if their child fails, they feel like they’ve failed, too. You want to say, “What more can I do?” But the question really is, “What more can my child do?” It’s not “What am I not doing as a parent?” It’s “What is he not doing as a student?” That’s the right question to ask yourself."
  • "Somehow in our culture, protecting your child from discomfort—and the pain of disappointment—has become associated with effective parenting.  Personally, I think that’s a dangerous trap parents fall into. While I don’t think situations should be sought out where a child is uncomfortable, I do think if that child is uncomfortable because of some natural situation or consequence, you should not interfere."
  • "Look at it this way: when a child is feeling upset, frustrated, angry or sad, they’re in a position to develop some important coping skills. The first thing they learn is to avoid similar situations."
  • "Discomfort is such a part of our life, whether you’re squeezed into a subway car, waiting in line at the supermarket, or passed over for a promotion. It’s so important for your child to be able to learn how to manage those situations and to develop a tolerance for them. And make no mistake, if he doesn’t learn to tolerate discomfort, he’s going to be a very frustrated adolescent and adult."
  • "When you shield your child from discomfort, what he learns is that he should never have to feel anything unpleasant in life. He develops a false sense of entitlement. He learns that he doesn’t really have to be prepared in school, because his parents will complain to the teacher, who will stop calling on him or expecting his homework to be in on time. He learns that his parents will raise the tolerance for deviance. If his parents are successful, the teacher will tolerate less compliance from him because of his parents’ intervention. He learns to confront a problem with power rather than dealing with it through responsibility and acceptance."
It takes a village to raise happy, healthy adults from childhood. The road is bumpy for a reason. We need to build callouses to not let every small discomfort rock our world.

Do you need help with your parenting skills? Come on in to room 201 and we can talk about options.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Have you had your flu shot?

Please get a flu shot if you haven't yet. Flu shots are available from your doctor and from the following locations:

VIP TrailerOngoing Clinic
3177 Ocean View Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92113

Flu vaccine is available on a walk-in basis, Monday through Friday, from 8-11am and 1-3pm. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at:

Please note that currently, due to shipping delays, the Center has a limited selection of flu vaccines. Please call 619-229-5400 before going to verify availability.

South Region Public Health CenterOngoing Clinic
690 Oxford St., Suite H
Chula Vista, CA. 91911

Flu vaccine is available on a walk-in (first come, first served) basis Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8 a.m-4 p.m., and Thursday from 8 a.m.-Noon, or until clinic capacity is reached. Closed weekends and holidays. No appointment is needed, but if desired, appointments can be made online at:

Please note that currently, due to shipping delays, the Center has a limited selection of flu vaccines. Please call the Center at (619) 409-3110 before going to verify availability.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stomach Aches

Stomach Aches

One of the most frequent complaints of students in the health office is a stomach ache. There are many reasons for a stomach ache, including excessive gas, indigestion, anxiety, and stress.

If you come to see me for a stomach ache I will likely ask the following questions:
  • how long have you had the stomach ache?
  • did you eat today? what did you eat?
  • any nausea or vomiting?
  • diarrhea?
I will take your temperature and check a few other things to make sure the pain is not due to something serious such as appendicitis or intussusception (telescoping of part of the gut).

99.9% of the time (in my unscientific research), stomach aches are nothing to be concerned about, they will go away with time. There is no medicine that I can give students at school for this. I can offer use of the bathroom and rest. Most likely, I will not send you home.

Often the cause is not eating (hunger), or eating junk food instead of nutritious food.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Do you need help? Dial 2-1-1

A wealth of resources is at your finger tips. Dial 211. English or Spanish available all of the time. Other languages possible, too.

Serving the entire population of our region, 2-1-1 San Diego connects people with community, health and disaster services through a free, 24/7 stigma-free phone service and searchable online database. Using the power of technology and innovation, we connect people to the help they need.                            

Need help getting MediCal or other insurance? Dial 211.

Need help reuniting with your family after a natural disaster? Dial 211.

Need help finding mental health services? Dial 211.

Need help finding a place to live? Dial 211.

Need help finding a job? Dial 211.

Also available online at

Monday, October 12, 2015

Flu Vaccine Myths Debunked

Image result for flu shot

MYTHS ABOUT FLU AND FLU VACCINE Don't let these myths fool you into skipping the flu vaccine:
MYTH: The flu shot gives you the flu.
No, it can't. The influenza viruses in the shot are inactive and not infectious.

MYTH: It’s better to get the flu than the flu vaccine. No, having the flu is worse. Flu is a potentially dangerous infection. It can make you very sick and cause you to miss work, school and other activities. For high-risk groups such as children, seniors, and people with chronic health conditions like heart disease or diabetes, the flu can lead to severe complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia, resulting in hospitalization and even death.

Most people get the flu shot without any problems. Minor side effects can be get soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given; fever (low grade); and aches. Serious reactions to the flu shot are rare.

MYTH: You don’t need to get the flu shot if you got one last year. No, you need flu vaccine every year. You need to get it every year because vaccine protection wanes over time. Also, even if any of the viruses in this season’s vaccines are the same as last year’s, you can still get sick this season, because the immunity you developed from last year’s vaccine may have declined since then.

In addition to getting flu vaccine, there's a step you can take to reduce your chances of getting and spreading the flu: handwashing! In fact, washing your hands often is a good way to protect your health all year long, not just during flu season. Many everyday objects and surfaces we touch have lots of germs on them, and if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after touching them, you can expose yourself to all sorts of germs.

When you wash your hands, use plenty of soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds (about the time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice).