If you need your child's old medical records from the Chestnut St office, you will need to stop by the Fairview Comm Health Center at 225 Natchez Trace and sign a release of records.

What is COVID-19?

There are virus “pandemics" (epidemics in multiple countries) almost every year. Usually it’s the flu, which affects millions of people and causes thousands of deaths. Last winter (2020), the flu hospitalized about 38 million in the USA, and about 22,000 of them died from it. 

There is a new strain of the old corona virus (COVID-19) which has rapidly spread from China to the rest of the world. Unlike flu which can kill young healthy people, most of the deaths from COVID-19 are in elderly people who were already in poor health. COVID-19 is more contagious than flu, but 80% only get a mild cold from it, while 20% have a bad flu-like syndrome with cough and fever. Even if you have symptoms, if you are generally healthy you have a 99% chance of surviving. You may have the virus and be contagious for 3-14 days before any symptoms show up. That being said, it is very important to take extra precautions to prevent spread of this virus, which could kill your loved ones who are elderly or in poor health. If you are sick, stay home as much as possible, don’t visit your elderly friends and relatives, and don’t go to the doctor (or ER or urgent care! ) unless you are really sick and probably need to be admitted to the hospital. There is no medicine the doctor can prescribe for routine COVID-19, so stay home and let the virus run its course. If you get short of breath or feel very sick, you may have the severe form of Covid-19, and you should then see a doctor to see if you need to be treated in the hospital with oxygen and supportive care, and possibly one of the new experimental anti-virus medications.

Even though 99% of young healthy people do well with COVID-19, there is a growing number of cases of severe illness in young children (called MIS-C, or Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children). There are also growing concerns of late inflamatory illness, such as myocarditis in the heart, brain or other organs, which could complicate even milder cases of COVID-19. In 2020, there were 38,000 children hospitalized with COVID-19, and over 250 of them died.

A mask should be worn by anyone who is sick with COVID-19 to prevent spread. Since there are a lot of people who catch the virus but have no symptoms, during the pandemic period we should ALL wear masks in public buildings and enclosed spaces to prevent possible spread. But wearing a mask will not prevent you from catching COVID-19 or flu or any other virus. BUT, you can do a lot towards prevention by wearing a mask, washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, and staying away from crowded places. In general, keep at least 6 feet (2 arms length) away from other people, and farther away from someone who is coughing or doing something that would expel virus particles more forcefully such as talking, singing or exercising hard. 

There are a few risk factors that greatly increase your chances of dying from COVID-19: diabetes, lung disease, obesity, and heart disease. You can acquire these conditions pretty easily by smoking and eating sugar, so I recommend that you quit now if you have those habits.

Being outdoors playing disc golf (and other healthy exercise) should pose no increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 or any other virus. Just wash your hands, don’t get in people’s faces (2 arms length), get your flu shot every year and have some fun! COVID-19 vaccines have recently been made available to anyone over 16 years old, so be sure to get one. The Johnson&Johnson requires just one dose, the other two types require a second shot 2-3 weeks later. Millions of people have been vaccinated so far and these vaccines have proven extremely safe. They are virtually 100% effective in keeping you from dying from COVID-19. Doctors are currently testing the vaccine on children, and we expect a shot for pediatric use to be available in 2022.

Feeding Children Honey After They Swallow A Small Battery Can Prevent Serious Injury, Study Suggests.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (6/11/2018) reports “a team of pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Nationwide Children’s Hospital has discovered that giving a child honey to eat after he or she has swallowed a small battery can prevent serious injury and possibly even death.” Study authors explained, “Our recommendation would be for parents and caregivers to give honey at regular intervals before a child is able to reach a hospital, while clinicians in a hospital can use sucralfate before removing the battery.” The findings, which “will be incorporated into the National Capital Poison Center’s guidelines for management of button battery ingestions,” were published in The Laryngoscope.

Your Family History Matters! Know it. Log it. Share it.

Many health problems are hereditary, so it's important to know what health problems your relatives have had. Many families are starting to keep a medical log, with all the medical problems listed, including the medical terms, so that this information will be more useful to your doctors. Make copies to bring to your doctor.


New Web Site for Parents

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has just launched a web site with information for parents about all stages of childhood. The information is generally very good, though a bit soft on nutrition, since it is "old school" on sugar (see Health-byte on fructose). The AAP web site is


Mended Little Hearts

Support Group for Children with Heart Surgery

A new chapter of MLH has just opened in Bowling Green, headed up by Lara Barnhouse.

        In 1951 the non-profit support group, Mended Hearts, formed. Since their formation they have been providing hope and support to heart patients and their families. In 2004 they wanted to do something for the “littlest heart patient of all”, so they formed Mended Little Hearts. There are now approximately 50 Mended Little Hearts chapters nation wide and we are continuously growing.

       Mended Little Hearts gives hope and support to children, families, and caregivers impacted by congenital heart defects in order to improve and extend quality of life. We hope to raise awareness and educate about CHD and the great need for research. We also want to be there for other people who are finding out that their child or relative has a heart problem and let them know they aren't alone as they go through this journey.

         If you or anyone you know has been affected or touched by someone with a congenital heart defect and you would like to learn more about our group please contact Lara Barnhouse – Group Coordinator at (270)392-4839 or email or Venica Pollard – Co-Coordinator at (270)303-0377 or email


HPV Vaccine Approved for Boys

New recommendations for HPV vaccine (summer 2010) now include the use for boys. This has the benefit of possibly preventing cervical cancer in a future spouse, and also prevents venereal warts which can be painful. The vaccine also greatly reduces the chance of getting cancer of the penis. Both boys and girls can get the vaccine anytime after age 9, but we usually start around the 6th grade check-up.


Center for Courageous Kids

Camp for Children with Chronic Diseases

We are very fortunate to have the Center for Courageous Kids in the neighboring town of Scottsville. They can accommodate 128 children each week for 5-day sessions, all year long. They accept children with many different conditions, including asthma, cancer, sickle cell, arthritis, cystic fibrosis, seizures, Crohn's disease, autism, heart disease, and many others. The best news: It's FREE!  Second best news: the whole family gets to go for free, too!

More info on their web page:


Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait!

New studies show that babies born before 37 weeks gestation are at risk for much more than low birth weight. They also have more risk of SIDS, behavior problems, learning disabilities, and much higher chance of neonatal death! Learn more at:


Food Allergies Present a Special Danger

Certain food allergies, such as peanuts and tree nuts, are far more likely to result in a fatal allergic reaction than other allergies. Special precautions should be taken whenever these children eat away from home, and they should always carry injectable epinephrine with them. We now know that peanut and other food allergies can be prevented by giving babies a taste of peanut butter, eggs and other “allergic” type foods during the first six months of life. This way the body “gets used to” these foods and does not form an allergic response to them later.


© Rick Voakes 2021