Friday, October 30, 2009

Effects of Albuterol in Toddlers

Last winter, my son (then nine months) developed bronchiolitis, a lung infection common in children, brought on by a virus. See https://health.google.com/health/ref/Bronchiolitis

He underwent several courses of treatment. Initially an antibiotic (due to the virus which no doubt brought on the bronchiolitis), rounds of Ventolin HFA (aka Albuterol Sulfate HFA), and finally Xopenex (both inhaled drugs). The infection lasted several months and was a very difficult time for us. Because our son was colicky anyway, at the time, we may not have realized he was exhibiting side effects of the drugs.

For the past few weeks, our son has been undergoing treatment for persistent sinusitis and possibly restricted airway disease (time will reveal whether or not this is what he has). He gets terribly congested, occassionally wheezes, has a runny nose and a heavy cough. Because of the change in weather, which meant his symptoms could simply be allergies, and the fact that he is also teething, his pediatrician was reluctant to prescribe anything other than Benadryl. His cough is recurring however, so she suggested we resume breathing treatments nightly and start him on Singulair.

We had lots of Ventolin and Xopenex left over from the previous year, and started him in Ventolin first. Immediately, our son's behavior changed. At any time, he would become hyper-active and extremely destructive. Nothing would calm him down. He would get in a rage which normally lasted at least a half hour. This went on for several days, and finally, we decided to stop the nightly breathing treatments. As suddenly as they began, the fits stopped.

We spoke with our pediatrician about this and learnt that Albuterol can have this effect in children. (http://www.drugs.com/sfx/albuterol-side-effects.html) She then recommended we try Xopenex. Several days later, no complaints. His coughing, wheezing and congestion seems better, and his disposition remains unchanged. Now, my husband and I wonder if my son's colic last winter was actually him reacting to the Ventolin we were administering.

It's a scary thing giving such small children serious drugs without being able to fully understand how their tiny bodies are reacting to them. Don't ignore the information sheets from the pharmacy. Pay attention to the potential side effects and watch your kids closely. And if something doesn't seem right, contact your doctor right away. Better an annoyed pediatrician than an ill baby.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cosignment Sales

Let's talk about consignment sales for children. Huge bonus for buyers...sucks for sellers. Maybe.

There is a semi-annual kids consignment sale in my town which I've patronized the last few years. I've always gotten great deals on toys, furniture and clothing. So much so that this year, I decided to become a consignee to make some extra bucks as well as receive a pass to the early bird sale.

At the early bird sale, I totally scored on a solid pine dresser and a few pieces of clothing, some of which still had tags attached. On collection day however, I'm grateful I didn't open my envelope until I got in the car.

Going in, the terms were pretty fair. Consignees paid an $8 fee to the handlers and received 65% per item. However, fair didn't seem to translate on paper. Most of my items didn't sell, even though I thought they were priced to move. My total sales (most of which happened on the last day in which items are discounted 50%) totalled $8.78. (No, that's not a typo. It reads eight dollars and seventy-cents.) Less the handling fee, my whopping take home bonus was 78c.

This bothered me for a while, until I thought about the trade-off. For the cost of a few maternity outfits plus a baby positioning thingy, I got first access to a roomy solid wood dresser which I love, but still have to refinish, as well as several outfits for each of my kids, all for $45.

What's the lesson here? Unless you have a truckload of baby stuff priced dirt cheap (think yard sale cheap), eBay or Craig's List are probably better options for recouping a fraction of the origial sales price, after handler fees. However, if your sole motivation for participating in consignment sales are for early bird passes, enter a few things you wouldn't mind losing in return. It's actually a fair deal in the end.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Swine Flu Myths

I thought my compelling post about swine flu would have convinced the masses that the wisest course of action was to get vaccinated. However, the news report last night indicated that less than 60% of parents plan to do so. WHAT!?!

While my husband, son and I plan to get vaccinated, my eight-week old daughter cannot. And I know she receives my antibodies when she breastfeeds, but I don't plan to do that forever. (Come on!) Therefore, the 40+% of 'ostriches with their heads in the sand' are putting themselves, their children and my daughter at risk.

Ergo, my second attempt to convince you to get vaccinated involves sending you to link exposing the biggest myths about swine flu:

However, should this fail, please remember to practice good hygiene (i.e. washing hands WITH SOAP or sanitizing them) and better manners (i.e. coughing into your sleeves). Finally, please, PLEASE keep in mind, just because you see someone out with a baby, that is not an invitation to rush over and touch baby's cuteness (especially the face and hands).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coal Ash Ramifications

Coal Ash: 130 Million Tons of Waste. That's the title of a headline on CBS' 60 minutes last Sunday. Why is this relevant to my blog? Apparently, it's really toxic stuff and it's being transferred from Tennessee to Alabama, where my family and I live.

According to the report, about half of US electricity is generated by coal but we don't [want to] realize our electricity usage generates enormous waste. This waste, or coal ash, is being dumped in neighborhoods without regard for its toxicity.

There are recycling options labeled 'beneficial use', although these are questionable since a number of problems can occur. E.g. water contamination and health complications from inhalation and physical contact.

Right now, EPA regulation and protection is 'too expensive'. It's up to individual states to ensure 'proper disposal'. Since the Federal government can't protect us, residents in Alabama can only do what those in Tennessee did...lobby hard to get rid of the stuff by passing it on to another [poorer] state.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Yogurt Update

When I'm wrong, I can admit it. When I'm only partially wrong, I can admit that too.

Wal*Mart's store brand yogurts, as well as a few other brands, only seem to carry yogurts sweetned with aspertame. However, I was wrong about Yoplait.

In addition to their Chocolate Mousse Style Whipped Yogurt, Yoplait's Original 99% fat free low fat flavors are sweetened the old fashioned way. With sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It's low fat however, beacuse they use low fat milk instead of whole milk. Who knew?

So Yoplait, please accept my apology. And while your Original yogurt costs nearly twice as much as the store brands, rest assured, you have my loyalty (and my money).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Baby Accessories Not Worth The Price

Now that our happy home is filled with the sounds of a screaming infant once again, I've pulled out the hand-me down accessories meant to soothe and quiet. Unfortunately, and it's all coming back to me now, not all of them work.

Case in point - the motorized swing. With several speed and recline settings, sounds like a good buy. But infants don't seem to dig it. (My 18-month old is now fascinated with it, more specifically falling out of it, but I digress.) After a very informal survey of my friends, I discovered that motorized swings didn't work for their kids either. Wish I knew that before. Could have saved 80 bucks!

Instead, and this was serendipitious, I found that my daughter is soothed best when I sit and lay her in the groove of my thighs and GENTLY bump her up and down. Similar to a motorized bouncer, but I'm not ready to invest in one of those yet. Plus, we don't have any more free floor space.

H1N1 (Swine Flu) Vaccine Safe

A few weeks ago, my son received his regular flu vaccine. Yesterday morning, my husband and I received ours. As the clinic was not crowded (and what was up with that...don't people know they should get vaccinated?!?!?), I decided to take the opportunity to talk to the nurse about the safety of the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine and the unknown side effects, which are freaking out so many health care workers for whom the vaccine is mandatory.

According to the nurse who attended a conference about this in August, had the H1N1 pandemic occured just a few weeks earlier, the regular flu vaccine would have included elements from H1N1. How so? The flu vaccine consists of elements from the top three worst flu strains from the previous season. As the flu virus mutates, the vaccine has to be updated.

In spite of all the hooplah in the media about possible side effects of the H1N1 vaccine, there are three major points to put things into perspective:

1. It is just a flu vaccine. We've been getting these for years. (And I bet you didn't even know how the vaccine was composed.)
2. It will probably be part of next year's vaccine anyway.
3. Dealing with the possible side effects of a vaccine (and it's a numbers game) is easier than dealing with teh disease the vaccine is intended to prevent.

I hope this little update puts your mind at ease and you and your family will get vaccinated. To quote an adage, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

P.S. Seasonal flu vaccines are available at CVS, Walgreens and your local health department for a nominal fee.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What is up with Aspertame?!?

Ever since the birth of our daughter, my Wal*Mart trips have been reduced from leisurely two-hour strolls (while my son is at daycare...naturally...do you think I'm crazy?!?) to 25-minute mad dashes. I've become skilled at tossing the regular items in the cart and racing to the self-checkout. THEN Wal*Mart's store labels Great Value and Equate changed their packaging to this really plain vanilla, hard to differentiate, Greek flag knockoff scheme. All of a sudden, my 25-minute dashes became 40-minute hair pulling, trying to maintain my cool (all the while desperately needing to rush home to pump) escapades. A side effect of this change is reading the new labels more closely. Check out the nutrition fiction mumbo jumbo "they" try to sell us.

I'm particular what I feed my 18-month old, and would prefer his snacks not to be sweetened with aspertame. (You know, possible cancer link and all, even though the latest studies now suggest otherwise.) Well, last Saturday, I discovered that Wal*Mart only carries yogurt sweetened with aspertame. Even the kiddie gogurt stuff. Seriously! For 20 minutes, I stood in the dairy section reading every single ingredient on every single brand and type of yogurt and was disappointed each time. Absolutely the only thing I found with good old fashioned sugar and high fructose corn syrup is Yoplait Whips Chocolate Mousse Style...which is barely even yogurt. The only saving grace, it's as sweet as it sounds, so of course my kid loves it.

Now, one of my goals is to scope out the other chains in my town to see if their yogurt selection is more satisfactory. I'll let you know what I find.

A Little About Me

I'm a 31-year old stay-at-home mom, living in SE Alabama. Funny thing is 10 years ago, if you told me this is what I'd be doing, I would have laughed myself into a fit. Even more funny...I actually enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those 'perfect' moms who has everything under control and actually looks good doing it. What I mean is, I love my husband and kids and am happy with my life.

My DH teaches at the local university and is a total tech geek. We have an 18-month old son and a 6-week old daughter. Before you ask, yes, this was planned. My husband and I are thinking that having them so close together may foster a strong relationship between them. Also, once we're done with diapers and late-night feedings...we're done! (That's the plan for now anyway. lol!)

I actually started this blog last year to discuss miscellaneous issues, but learned that my husband was my only follower. And I couldn't even get him to leave comments. (How lame is that?) Anyway, after complaing about some baby-related issues recently, he encouraged me to blog about them. Maybe this time, people will read my posts. (One can only hope.)

So, here's my second chance to make a first impression.