February 7, 2006

Rotavirus & A "Mouther's" Love

rotavirus.jpgFirst, I'm surprised there's no plush version of the Rotavirus. It's so cute, it seems like a no-brainer for the Giant Microbes folks. But I'm sure they get tired of people telling them how to do their jobs.

As I was looking for it, I found this Willie Wonka-colored PowerPoint presentation to day care providers on how to stay healthy and keep illnesses from spreading within the children's population. Besides an alarming datapoint on the average number of days/yr a kid is at least some kind of sick [96 !?], there were big shoutouts for handwashing and Lysol, and then this: "No soft or plush toys if 'mouthers' are present."

Which, after I stopped laughing, made me wonder: is "mouthers" an industry term or a scientific one? If it's an industry term, I think we need to see a list of other childcare, pediatrician, and baby-related insider lingo, PDQ.

But back to "mouthers": Here's an excerpt from an EPA panel's 1999 report on setting acceptable exposure levels for pesticides:

The surface area noted for fingers would be appropriate for toddlers. The surface area of three fingers for a 15-kg child is not appropriate for all children. Additional information is needed about the portion and surface area of hand that the younger children put in the mouth. Very young infants can put a larger portion of the hand in the mouth than toddlers, but of course the hand is smaller. Whether 20 cm sq is appropriate for the younger children needs to be determined. One can not do a linear back calculation from the toddler data. Infants also suck toes and arms. To some extent it appears that children can be classified as mouthers or non-mouthers. This is not to say that there are young children who dont put fingers in the mouth, only that there are differences in the frequency and duration of these activities across children. Over the short term (1-6 days), it is believed that the 20 events per hour is an appropriate measure...
I'm sure that since 2000, pesticide lobbyists have gotten a "mouther liability exemption" included in the regs.

1 Comment

A former girlfirend, a pediatric nurse, once mentioned that she saw the notation "FLK" for 'funny looking kid' on patients charts. 'FLK' was used for kids who suffered from no identifiable malady but were clearly not all well.

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