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Claire McCarthy

Don’t Panic About Enterovirus D68

by Claire McCarthy on September 23, 2014

McCarthyClaire_201108_047With all the news about Enterovirus D68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it’s easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood—or, even worse, if your child starts coughing.

But please, don’t panic.

This virus has certainly caused trouble. Enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year—but usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we don’t fully understand, is stronger, and is worse for kids than for adults.

I can hear you saying: so why shouldn’t I panic? Here’s why. Full story »

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Teens: more stressed than their parents?

by Claire McCarthy on February 27, 2014

Adults are the ones who are supposed to be stressed, not kids. Childhood is supposed to be the stress-free part of life, right?

Well, maybe not. At least not for teens.

According to a recently released survey from the American Psychological Association, teens are actually more stressed than their parents.

Full story »

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In defense of mom messiness

by Claire McCarthy on February 20, 2014

The other day, I finally stole some time and vacuumed out my minivan. I was starting to live in fear of someone asking me for a ride.

Not only was there garbage, random hats, a broken umbrella and tracked-in leaves on the floor, there were bits of pretzels and popcorn and some unidentifiable foods stuck between the seat cushions of the middle and back seats. My kids weren’t complaining (which was good, since they were mostly responsible for the mess), but it was crossing the line from messy to unsanitary.

We just aren’t neat people. Full story »

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Should we have a Name Police?

by Claire McCarthy on February 13, 2014

There have been times in my career as a doctor when I wished we had a Name Police.

There have been countless children I’ve met who had, well, unfortunate names. Often it was inadvertent—parents honestly didn’t realize that there might be a problem. Sometimes non-English speakers made up names that had an, um, different meaning in English (like a private body part), or would have seriously benefited from a well-placed vowel or two. Sometimes English-speaking families chose unique names—but then spelled them wrong (like Preshes instead of Precious).

Other times it was on purpose: people picked names of celebrities or objects or places (for confidentiality reasons I can’t give examples, but you can use your imagination) that might have seemed like a good idea at the time—but were clearly going to make life difficult for Junior.

By the time I met the families, there wasn’t anything I could do but cross my fingers and hope for the best. But I’d think: I wish I could call the Name Police about this one. I imagined them knocking at the family’s door, armed with name-change papers. Full story »

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Why aren’t doctors always polite?

by Claire McCarthy on February 6, 2014

Here’s a question I’m almost afraid to ask: when you go to a doctor (not one you see all the time), does the doctor usually introduce himself (or herself) and explain what they are there to do?

And: Do they sit down?

I really hope that you are answering yes….but I know that the answer is often no. Full story »

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Six Tips For “The Talk”

by Claire McCarthy on January 30, 2014

When it comes to the parts of parenthood that people dread, well, there’s so much to choose from. There are poopy diapers. Vomit. Tantrums. Nasty teenagers. But all of that pales in comparison with…The Talk.

The talk about sex, that is. Full story »

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Parenting Lessons from Martin Luther King

by Claire McCarthy on January 23, 2014

This year, on Martin Luther King Day, I came across a slideshow of a few of his quotes.  As I read them, I thought: wow, are there some great parenting lessons here.

We think of Dr. King as an example of how to lead, and how to fight against injustice. But the lessons he taught us are really about being good people. And those are the lessons that parents need to teach; as the first and most important teachers of children, what we say to them and show them has everything to do with the people they grow up to be. Full story »

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I Was Completely Unsupervised As a Child—and I’m Grateful

by Claire McCarthy on January 16, 2014

For many of my out-of-school hours as a child, no adult had any idea what I was doing.

This has everything to do with who I am today, in some remarkably good ways. Full story »

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