Seattle Mama Doc

5 Days of Guided Imagery: Day 1 – Send Love, Feel Better

Today marks day one of our 5 Days of Mindfulness with Dr. Hilary Mead, a child clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s. Throughout the week we will be sharing seven guided meditations and imagery via the Seattle Mama Doc podcast. We invite you to include your children and your entire family for each of these episodes as they’re great for all ages!

In the first of seven podcasts, Dr. Mead leads a meditation via guided imagery that helps create a greater sense of connection, well-being and love for others and yourself. This meditation practice has data to support its effectiveness in increasing the daily experiences of positive emotion.

For this meditation, you will begin by focusing on sending loving-kindness to someone else as it can be difficult to give it to yourself first. It is such a lovely thing…

Learn more about mindfulness from Dr. Mead here:

Stay tuned for more podcasts and blog posts this week as we continue our 5 Days of Mindfulness series.

5 Tips for Teaching Mindfulness to Children and Teens

As promised, Dr. Hilary Mead, a child clinical psychologist in Outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Seattle Children’s, is back to share her tips on using and teaching mindfulness to our kids. If you missed her first podcast on mindfulness, listen to get a better understanding of what it means to be mindful. And how easy it may be to build it into your everyday life.

Mindfulness is about being in the moment you’re in, aware, accepting what’s unfolding and being non-judgmental of yourself and your relationships. Using mindfulness with children and teens can help them cope with pain-related conditions or emotional, behavioral or mental conditions. This includes depression, panic disorders or trauma. Children can use mindfulness to boost mood, improve coping and gain a sense of control over their experiences with mental challenges.

With that said, here are Dr. Mead’s tips for teaching and incorporating mindfulness into your entire family’s life: Read full post »

Be Sun Smart – Improving Childhood Sun Exposure

It may not always be the sunniest here in Washington, but that doesn’t mean we’re safe from sun exposure and skin cancer risks. In fact, Washington had the 10th highest rate of skin cancer in 2013 (we beat out sunny states including Florida, California and Arizona). Part of that has to do with the population that lives here (non-Hispanic Caucasians have higher rates of skin cancer) but in general it’s a reminder that sun exposure and UV radiation can happen in even this horrific, rainy climate!

Childhood can be a time of potent sun exposure. The majority of sun exposure and sunburns occur during childhood and teen years. Because UV sun exposure and UV light is the #1 preventable cause of skin cancer, as you reduce the amount of exposure for your children you reduce the risk of them being diagnosed with skin cancer later in life.

When it comes to sun exposure and UV light, there are two types you need to know about:

  • UVA radiation causes Aging, deeper skin damage and wrinkles skin. It is constant throughout the entire year, regardless of the season or heat index. That’s why sunscreen while out in the snow in the winter makes sense!
  • UVB radiation causes Burning and is what SPF helps protect you from when using sunscreen. It is most intense in the summer in North America as the earth’s rotation and angle increases sunlight intensity.

In the quick podcast below, you can get smarter about the sun and how you consume it.

Read full post »

Quick Video Q & A on Vaccinations

BBC invited me to discuss vaccinations and help answer some popular questions parents have about them. View this short Q&A video on BBC where I share the following answers to these common questions:

  • Can vaccines cause autism? We don’t know what causes all of autism spectrum disorders but we do know that vaccinations do not lead to the development of autism. More info worth reading here on Autism and Vaccinations from Autism Science Foundation — a non-profit working to support families with autism spectrum disorders and the research that helps guide and empower improved prevention and treatment.
  • Is it safer to space out vaccines? It isn’t safer to space out vaccines. Not a single study that finds a delayed schedule is safer than one spaced out. No data, for example, that an MMR shot is safer at age 3 than at age 1. Why wait while measles outbreaks do continue? Waiting only increases overall risk.
  • Should I be worried about the chemicals in vaccines? We know more about the safety of vaccines than we do about some of the foods we eat. The ingredients and rigor around the science of vaccines is tight. See recent post with info about ingredients or this info and Q&A on ingredients in vaccinations.
  • Isn’t it my personal choice? When you get your child vaccinated on schedule you’re not only protecting your child’s health, you’re protecting your community’s health. And your own family’s.

You can also view a BBC story on vaccination hesitancy or listen to a recording of its radio story where they discuss areas with higher levels of families delaying or opting out. As a reminder, in the US about 9 in 10 families do follow recommendations to get their children vaccinated on-time, keeping us all safer. Magic in medicine…

Vaccination Hesitancy: 4 Myths Explained

Vaccination hesitancy or concern about getting your child their shots isn’t new. But it has recently been gaining attention in the media. In February, Robert Kennedy Jr. offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who could turn up a study showing that it is safe to administer vaccines to children and pregnant women. Let me start by saying that there are countless studies and data in support of vaccination safety. So the offer and claim should be given/received over and over and over again.

I mean, COME ON.

However, with politicians using their platform to blast these fallacies and doubts about vaccination, I worry there is a new sense of unease growing among parents. This unease is causing pediatricians to worry about what’s to come in the coming years for families and their safety.

The below chart from the American Journal of Health Behavior and shared by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) depicting the various types of parents and their responses to vaccinations helps frame up who we are. Even with all of the hoopla in the media, studies have found only 16% of parents are fence-sitters or worriers about immunizations. That means there’s a lot of distortion in the voices that are being heard in these conversations, which is causing “health advocates” and others to question if they should continue moving forward with vaccinating their children.

It’s my job as a pediatrician to make sure you hear the other 84%. The following are four of the most common myths that cause parents to worry about vaccinations, and most importantly, why they shouldn’t worry as much with real data to back it up. Read full post »