Category Archives: Pediatrics

Kids and the Flu: Symptoms, When to Seek Care

Posted on: January 29, 2015

Flu Season’s in High Gear: How to Protect and Care for Your Kids

By Dr. Pete Richel

We are now in the middle of Influenza season (“the Flu”), which is typically October ID-100228285_Boy And Vaccine Syringe by Sura Nualpradidthrough March. Locally we did not see much of this in October and November, but it commenced last month and is going strong.

Most of the positive cultures are revealing Influenza type A, and even though the Influenza vaccine was not a great match this year, we still encourage all to receive it, since it may be protective against some strains, and we find no significant down side.

All children 6 months and older should be vaccinated against the flu.
-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s not too late to receive this at your doctor’s office. The vaccine is approved for those 6 months of age and older. When someone gets “the Flu” at any age, the classic symptoms are:

  • temperature instability (fever) as the body’s immune system fights for us,
  • generalized achiness,
  • and a rather hacking cough.

“…frequent hand washing for patients and their caretakers
will help to prevent contagion.”

When any of these symptoms occur, bring your child to see your pediatrician. We can evaluate them with a physical exam, of course, and we can do a rapid Flu test and make the diagnosis in minutes. If the test is positive, then we can prescribe Tamiflu, a medication which may lessen the severity of symptoms, and may shorten the usual week long course of the illness.

In addition, it is always prudent to keep up with plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and the need for hospitalization. And we all know that good frequent hand washing for patients and their caretakers will help to prevent contagion. This is something that you don’t want to share!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “some children are at especially high risk.” Children at greatest risk of serious flu-related complications include the following:
1. Children younger than 6 months old -These children are too young to be vaccinated. The best way to protect them is to make sure people around them are vaccinated
2. Children aged 6 months up to their 5th birthday.
3. American Indian and Alaskan Native children.
4. Children with chronic health problems, such as: Asthma, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, Chronic lung disease, Heart disease, Diabetes or a weakended immune system.

Editor’s Note:
Peter Richel, MD, FAAP is Chief of Pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital. He is a member of Westchester Health Associates and has practiced on Smith Avenue in Mt. Kisco since 1990. Dr. Pete has authored “Happy and Healthy,” a book on wellness in the first year of life, and produced a CD of children’s songs called “Welcome to Dr. Pete’s Office.” Both of these are intended to educate and entertain children and their families.

Dr. Pete, as he’s fondly known, has received numerous recognitions including: Castle Connolly Top Doctor, Top Pediatrician by the Consumer’s Research Council of America and honored with Patients’ Choice Awards and Compassionate Doctor Awards.

Photo Credit: Sura Nualpradid /


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Plant-based Diet Considered Healthiest by Dietitian

Posted on: January 28, 2015

Healthful Eating: The Plant-based Diet

By Jill Ashbey-Pejoves

As a dietitian I am often asked what I consider to be the healthiest diet. This is an easy question to answer because the research is fairly clear that a plant-based diet is best for farmers market 2overall health. You may be wondering exactly what a plant-based diet is. Well the definition ranges from one in which no animal products are consumed, a vegan diet, to one in which some animal products are consumed and not others, a vegetarian diet, to one in which all foods are consumed, but plant foods comprise the majority, a flexitarian or Mediterranean diet. A well balanced plant-based diet provides all the essential amino acids necessary for adequate protein and is high in fiber.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of a plant-based diet:
• Improved weight control – most plant-based foods are high in nutrients and low in calories by volume.
• Improved blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar control.
• Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and numerous cancers.
• It is cost effective. Vegetables, grains and legumes are less expensive than meat and dairy products.
• It’s good for the planet. It takes less environmental resources to sustain a plant-based diet than a meat-based one. Plants produce oxygen, not CO2.

“Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”  
– Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food

Ways to incorporate more fruits, vegetable, beans, legumes and whole grains into your diet?
• Replace 1-2 meals per week with a vegetarian option. Think meatless Monday!
• Replace refined grains with whole grains such as brown rice, millet, bulgur, wheat berries.
• Get sneaky; add beans to soups, salads, and stews.
• Drink your greens, blend spinach or kale into your fruit smoothie.
• Aim for 3-5 servings of non-starchy vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruits every day.
• For convenience, keep canned beans on-hand; just remember to rinse them to remove the excess salt.
• Join a co-op or CSA (community supported agriculture) to always have a variety of seasonal, local or organic vegetable and fruits available.

If you, or someone you love, are interested in changing your diet to improve a chronic health condition, a Registered Dietitian can help.

For more information on plant-based diets, visit and

To learn more about co-ops, CSAs and to find one in your area, visit


Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos
Courtesy of Moosewood Restaurant & Recipes

6 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (about 21⁄2 pounds)
2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 fresh hot pepper, minced (for a milder “hot,” seeded first)
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained (3 cups)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
6 10-inch flour tortillas

1. In a covered saucepan, bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in salted water to cover
2. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Drain and mash. Set aside.
4. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, in a covered saucepan on low heat, cook the on-ions, garlic, hot peppers, and salt in the oil until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
5. When the onions have softened, stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute or two.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil a large baking pan or sheet.
7. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes, the onion-spice mixture, and the black beans.
8. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro; add salt to taste.
9. Place about a 1 cup of filling on the bottom half of each tortilla and roll up.
10. Lightly brush the tops of the burritos with oil and cover with foil.
11. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot.
Try these Variations: Add a diced bell pepper to the onions as they cook. Replace the fresh hot pepper with 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne or 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. For a smoky flavor, use a minced canned chipotle pepper with a spoonful of adobo sauce. Stir a cup of corn kernels into the filling. Use corn tortillas instead of flour for a gluten-free alternative.
Per Serving:
312 Calories;  1.9g Fat;  0.0mg Cholesterol;  423mg Sodium;   62g Carbohydrates;  12g Fiber;  12g Protein

Recipe by Moosewood Restaurant & Recipes | Ithaca, NY at burritos/

Spiced Chickpea “Nuts”
Courtesy of

When roasted in a hot oven, chickpeas become super crunchy. They’re a great low-fat substitute for nuts when salty cravings hit.

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt

1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°F.
2. Blot chickpeas dry and toss in a bowl with oil, cumin, marjoram, allspice and salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until browned and crunchy, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.

Per serving :
103 Calories; 5 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 14 g Carbohydrates; 4 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 303 mg Sodium; 2 mg Potassium

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Adjusting to the end of Daylight Saving Time

Posted on: October 29, 2014

Fall Back with Ease

by Dr. Praveen Rudraraju
fall leavesAdjusting to the end of Daylight Saving Time in the fall is a bit easier than handling the time change in the spring.

The main reason is because we gain an hour of sleep for the fall time change.

Try to go to bed at your usual time, most people are sleep deprived – it’s a good time to take advantage of the extra hour.

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Flu Shot Facts for Pregnant women

Posted on: October 16, 2014

Pregnancy, Your Immune System and the Flu Vaccine

By Maureen Varcasio, RN

NWHmaternalchild.orgPregnant women can protect themselves and their babies by getting the flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that all pregnant women get vaccinated with the Influenza (Flu) vaccine.

During pregnancy changes in the immune system, heart and lungs put women at an increased risk for severe illness, hospitalization or even death from the flu.

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Sports Medicine Expert on Concussion Symptoms and Dangers

Posted on: October 14, 2014

Concussion Management. Assessing the Symptoms.

By Dr. Eric Small

While a headache is among the best-known and first symptoms of a concussion, there are often delayed symptoms that indicate ongoing mild brain damage and require treatment. Ten percent of symptoms don’t present for a week or more.

For this reason, it is essential that parents and teachers as well as emergency room physicians and pediatricians recognize the need to monitor a young injured athlete for the full spectrum of possible symptoms. In my experience, when the athlete gets over the initial headache, or perhaps never experiences this symptom, parents and youngster often push for a quick return to all activities. But that can put a young person at serious risk.

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