Best Headphones for Kids

Now that so many kids are doing Zoom school for at least part of the week, a few people have been asking me about the best (and safest) headphones for children. Of course, any recommendations about technology are usually out of date by the time they are published. However, I happened to have been interviewed earlier this year about the topic by a reporter from New York Magazine, whose article included a number of specific product reviews. Before getting to those, let me give you my general thoughts on the subject.

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Thoughts on School Reopening

Hello, friends and families…!

In this blog entry I will NOT tell you if it is OK for your child to return to school for remote, in-person, or hybrid learning. Any article that gives you specific advice about this may be well intentioned, but will rarely apply to your individual situation, and will be based on information that is going to be out of date by the time you read it.

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Loss of Smell and Taste with COVID-19

Dear Families and Friends,

There has been a lot in the news lately about a loss of the sense of smell during and after cases of COVID-19, especially in younger patients. I was recently featured on a television news segment about this problem, and I have seen kids with this in my practice. Since I got a lot of good feedback on my previous emails about COVID-19 testing and the serious inflammatory condition in children linked to the pandemic, I thought that I would update you all about how this happens, and what can be done.

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Testing for COVID-19

Dear families and friends,

I have been getting a lot of questions from my patients' parents about testing for COVID-19. I know that many of you don’t have the time for this whole thing, so here’s the TLDR version:

  • None of the tests have formal approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, but many have been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) pending approval.
  • There are two types of tests, diagnostic tests that tell you if you currently have COVID-19, and antibody tests which tell you if have had it in the past.
  • In my practice, I mainly use diagnostic testing for patients having surgery (all facilities currently require this within 72 hours of the operation).
  • Patients being tested because they are sick and COVID-19 is suspected are better referred to open facilities with lots of protective equipment, rather than in individual doctors offices.
  • There really is no urgent medical need to do antibody testing in the office right now, although many people request it out of curiosity. At this time, it is mainly indicated for large studies monitoring exposure rates in a population or for people who have recovered and want to donate plasma to treat others.
  • A positive antibody test does NOT necessarily mean that you are immune, or that you can’t transmit the disease even if you are. This is a new disease, and we are still learning about it. Everyone should continue to follow local recommendations about hand washing, mask use and social distancing.
  • Things are changing rapidly, and this email may not age well. So keep up to date on this topic as it develops.
  • PLEASE make sure that your kids’ regular vaccines are up to date - this can be done safely in your pediatrician’s office. This pandemic should make it clear just how dangerous viral infections can be.
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A Serious Pediatric Complication of COVID-19

Dear families and friends,

Some of you have been asking about a newly discovered complication of COVID-19 in children. Since this is a brand new disease, the medical community is learning more and more about it every day. We had been working under the assumption that while children are certainly able to spread the virus, those with no significant underlying health issues were unlikely to develop the severe infections and sickness seen in adults.

While that is STILL TRUE, a pediatric condition has recently been identified, which can be much more serious, and in VERY rare cases, even lethal. It seems to be something like other inflammatory conditions that affect the body, such as Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome. This condition is called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), although it was recently referred to as Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS).

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