Tuesday, December 16, 2008
If so, you may join the majority of Americans who have at least one animal in the home. After all, there are many benefits of having pets, including providing companionship, encouraging physical activity and teaching responsibility to children. It’s important to remember, though, to consider this decision carefully--especially if you have young children (under age 5) or family members with weakened immune systems. Here’s what you need to know:
• Nearly 2/3 of households have a pet. Most of these are dogs or cats. The rest are fish, birds, horses, and exotic or “nontraditional” pets.
• There are 4.4 million animal bites to humans in the U.S. each year. Most of these are dog bites. Cat bites, although much less common, can cause injuries and infections as well.
• Exotic animals, such as reptiles and rodents, may transmit infections like Salmonella or plague that can cause serious illness in humans.
• Children (and adults) may be allergic to animals brought into the home.
• Young children lack the developmental maturity to be expected to act safely around unpredictable pets. Also, until about age 5 or 6, many children are not able to help care for animals.
• It may be better to wait until after the holidays to get a new pet. By then, many “holiday gift” animals may be put into shelters because they were not a good fit for their family and will be in need of a new home. Instead, get all the supplies you need in anticipation of the pet (such as food, bowls, toys, etc.) and then go choose an animal together after the hustle and bustle of the holidays settles down.
For more information about exotic pets, check out this video on CNN.com:
Thursday, December 11, 2008
See my Expert Q&A on CNNHealth.com here http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/livingwell/
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Pediatrician, Children's Medical Group
Welcome to Living Well!
The word "doctor" comes from the Latin word "docere" which means "to teach" -- something I do every day in my practice and through my work with the media, whether it's in the books and articles I write, the radio shows that I host, or the television interviews that I do. I love sharing what I know about medicine and healthy living with my patients. In fact, I find that I learn a lot from my patients as well. Now I have the chance to share my passion with the public through this Web site and hope to learn from your experiences too!
With life spans now being longer than ever, it's even more important that we try to live as well as possible. In this column, we'll discuss many aspects of healthy living and answer a wide variety of questions -- ranging from when it's safe to fly with an infant to whether it's normal for adults to get ear infections and how to make the most of your medical visits.
Remember that nothing can substitute for the advice you get from your own physician so be sure to partner with your doctor to create a personalized game plan for healthy living. For general information about health topics, please visit this new site and send in your questions or submit comments with your favorite tips for living well!