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Life & Health. News and information to advance your health and well-being.
September 2016
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Parents Need to Know is a newsletter written by Craig Collison, MD, pediatrician with Mount Nittany Physician Group.
Your best shot at staying flu-free

With the flu season beginning as early as October and running as late as May, now is the time to take steps to protect your heath and the health of your friends and family. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot.

In previous years, the FluMist nasal spray has been a popular choice for parents. During last year’s flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that FluMist reduced incidence of the flu by only three percent, compared to unvaccinated people. Those who received a traditional flu shot reduced their flu risk by 65 percent. Because of this, only flu injections are recommended this season and a very limited supply of the spray this year in the U.S. – with none expected to be available in most areas, including ours.

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Ask the pediatrician: Are cotton swabs safe to clean kids’ ears?

Hi Dr. Collison,

Is it safe to use cotton swabs to clean earwax from my four-year-old’s ears?

Did you know the type and amount of earwax produced in your little one’s ears is inherited? The body produces ear wax to protect the eardrum and ear canal, keep dirt and debris from irritating the ear, and fight off infection. While it may be tempting to clean out unsightly earwax using a cotton swab, doing so may cause more harm than good.

The biggest concern with using a cotton swab to clean earwax out of your child’s ears is that it can push earwax deep in the ear, which blocks the eardrum and can be difficult to remove.

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Steroid use in teen athletes

While some people may think that performance-enhancing drugs are only used by professional athletes, it may be surprising to know that around 1 in 20 teenagers reports using some type of performance-enhancing drug to increase their athletic skill or build muscle.

Athletes typically use performance-enhancing drugs to be more competitive, deal with body insecurities, or because they want to fit in better with their team. One common performance-enhancing drug is androgenic steroids. These steroids act like testosterone to help build and strengthen muscle and reduce body fat.

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Recent product recalls

Here are recent product recalls announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). For the most up-to-date recall information, please visit and click on the Recalls tab from the home page.


Name of product: Safety 1st Step and Go Travel Systems

Hazard: The stroller tray folding mechanism can partially disengage on one side when used with an infant car seat attached to the stroller, posing a fall hazard.

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Mount Nittany Pediatrics
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