COVID-19: Where to Go from Here

Emily Oster

12 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

COVID-19: Where to Go from Here

Emily Oster

12 min Read

When I started this newsletter my vision was to write about pregnancy and parenting.

The COVID pandemic dramatically changed the focus of this work, and for most of the first two years, the majority of the posts here were about COVID-19. Over the past year, this has become less and less true. Looking through the archives, it has been months since I wrote about COVID.

One reason for this is that there haven’t been a lot of updates. But more importantly, people stopped asking. This newsletter aims to be responsive, and, frankly, I get more questions these days about lead in chocolate than COVID-19. But the other day someone emailed asking, more or less, “What is the general deal with COVID now? How do we think about it going forward?”

It seemed like an appropriate time to address this. The COVID situation has evolved, for now, to what seems like a steady state. COVID is not gone, and (more on this below) it is still a significant health concern. But with high vaccination rates, and a large share of the population having had the virus, it has receded as a threat. Barring unexpected changes, we have arrived at a place where we are likely to stay for a while.

This means that when I address questions — which I’ll do below — these are really long-term answers. There was a time when the COVID situation seemed to change minute by minute; that time is not now.

Questions below! (Here’s a list if you want to jump…)


How do I keep up with current COVID rates?

We do not know precisely. The U.S. has never been good at tracking COVID rates during the pandemic, and this has gotten essentially impossible over the past year. If people test at all, it’s with rapid tests at home, and these are generally not reported.

Some hospitals still do asymptomatic testing, but it is not common and not necessarily reported.

Your best bet for ongoing surveillance is wastewater, and the CDC has a nice wastewater tracking site. This doesn’t translate in a direct way to case rates, but it gives you a sense of how things are evolving over time. Most of these data showed a seasonal peak in December 2022 and now a decline.

I know there are still a lot of COVID deaths every day. Why is this?

There are still many COVID deaths every day, which is tragic. An extremely large share of these deaths are in older individuals. This has been true throughout the pandemic, and it has continued to be true.

Based on CDC COVID tracker data, the death rate from COVID in the 75+ group (in the most recent week with complete reporting) was five times higher than for those 65-75, 17 times higher than for those 50-64, 73 times higher than for those 40-49, 166 times higher than for those 30-39, and 664 times higher than for those 20-29. There were no deaths in people under 20 during this period, so we cannot do a calculation there.

What this means is that understanding why we are still seeing COVID deaths means understanding why we are still seeing them in older people. One reason is that this is, sadly, an age group with high mortality from many things. In the case of COVID, though, there are interventions that are likely to reduce death rates in this group. This includes booster vaccination and treatments like Paxlovid. Higher vaccine uptake and better treatment access isn’t going to completely eliminate these deaths, but it would reduce them.

I read a scary headline about COVID and child deaths — can you unpack this?

A study was recently published looking at causes of deaths in children ages 0-19 in the U.S. and arguing that COVID-19 was the eighth leading cause of death in this age group. The time period for the study was August 2021 through July 2022.

The methods in the study are straightforward and do not need much explanation. They look at pediatric deaths, and their causes, and rank them. What I think is probably useful to unpack is some context.

Every death of a child is an unspeakable tragedy. Full stop. Thankfully, child deaths in this age range are very rare. By far the most common cause, amounting to 25%, is preterm birth or other perinatal conditions. Accidents are the second (18% of deaths), followed by congenital conditions and chromosomal abnormalities, assault, suicide, cancer, and heart disease. COVID follows heart disease.

It is not clear why cause-of-death rankings are of inherent interest. Depending on how you group the causes, these rankings would change. What we should focus on is actual numbers. During this period, COVID accounted for 821 deaths of children in the U.S., the vast majority in children under 1 or 15-19. This makes it a very rare cause of death, but, again, that is not to dismiss it.

The perhaps more important context is where we have come to since this moment. At this point, post-Omicron, the vast, vast majority of children have had COVID-19. A good share, especially those over 5, are also vaccinated. Since September 2022, there have been a very small number of deaths in any child age group. The risks are therefore much lower even than they were before.

What is the long-term plan for COVID boosters?

The current plan for COVID-19 boosters is to recommend them once a year, similar to the flu, with a shot that is targeted to the expected strain. There is some debate about exactly when the CDC will choose the strain (this matters to vaccine manufacturers). As consumers, we should expect a recommendation to get a COVID-19 booster at around the same time we get a flu shot.

The value of the booster is an increase in protection for several months after vaccination. This includes good protection against serious illness and death, and likely some protection against symptomatic infection. The expectation is that COVID will have a seasonal pattern similar to other respiratory viruses, so the vaccination in the fall will provide protection during that key season.

Boosters are likely to be recommended for everyone, but they are most important for people who are at risk for serious illness and death — older people and the immunocompromised (more specifically on pregnancy below).

From the ParentData Archive: Should You Get the Bivalent Booster?

Vaccines for kids: Should they get boosters? Should I vaccinate at six months?

For healthy children who are already fully vaccinated or have had COVID, or both, the added value of a booster is fairly minimal. They are already extremely well-protected from severe illness, and the protection from symptomatic illness is relatively short-term and incomplete. If you would like to get your child a booster, the safety profile looks great, so there is no reason not to. But the protection value is small.

If your child has not been vaccinated and has not had COVID, an initial vaccine is the best way to give them some protection against serious illness. This category includes babies who reach six months without having had COVID. An initial vaccine series will provide good protection.

I’m pregnant. How much more careful should I be? Should I get a booster? What if I get COVID?

Pregnancy is a mild form of immunocompromise, so it is always a good idea to be a little more cautious about any disease exposure. And during the Delta wave of COVID (in fall 2021), there was evidence that unvaccinated women in particular faced higher risks of stillbirth and maternal morbidity as a result of COVID. A large review, based on global data from the early pandemic period, recently underscored this.

With vaccinations and with the Omicron variant, though, these excess risks appear much lowered. At this point, for healthy and vaccinated pregnant people, it makes sense to think of COVID like other respiratory illnesses — perhaps with a slightly higher threshold to avoid, but not a cause of panic. You will probably not be prescribed Paxlovid, given the lower risk and the digestive side effects. However, there are some circumstances in which it might be prescribed, and the limited data on safety are reassuring.

There is some value to getting a booster during pregnancy, if you do not get COVID while pregnant, for the same reason you get a Tdap booster: to provide immunity to the baby. Ramping up maternal antibodies at the right time (toward the end of the second trimester of pregnancy) increases the amount of active antibodies for your baby. This has been shown to protect infants against hospitalization in the first six months of life, before they can get their own vaccines.

From the ParentData Archive: Pregnancy COVID Updates

Are there any updates on long COVID?

Long COVID, the persistence of symptoms past acute infection, has remained somewhat elusive. We still have no clear agreement on what symptoms should appear in this definition and no comprehensive sense of how common it is. The most common long COVID symptom is persistent loss of taste and smell, but depending on the paper, you’ll see lots of other symptoms there.

We see figures like “20% of people develop long COVID,” but this seems extremely unlikely given what we observe in the world. What we do know is that persistent COVID symptoms are less likely with the Omicron variant, and even before Omicron, kids appeared to be unlikely to develop long COVID. New research out of Israel has shown that most long COVID symptoms resolve within a year.

Bottom line: This remains an evolving space, but the data we do have so far is becoming more reassuring.

From the ParentData Archive: Long-Term COVID Risks in Kids and Pandemic Baby Developmental Delays

I heard there was a study saying masking doesn’t work — true?

There is a recent Cochrane Review that discusses masking and also hand-washing. A Cochrane Review is intended to be a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In this case, when the researchers look at masking, they look at trials that covered both flu and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on trials of masks in community settings (i.e. where some people are encouraged to mask and some are not), they conclude that there is little overall evidence to suggest that encouraging masking works to reduce incidence. Basically, these community-based studies generally do not show lower flu or COVID-19 infection rates when masks are used.

Some people were very upset with this conclusion, although there is general agreement that Cochrane Reviews represent a high standard of quality. What I would say is that the findings are true but deserve context.

Mandating or encouraging masks in a community setting does not seem to have measurable impacts on COVID-19. A big part of this is likely about adherence. That’s not to dismiss this — the real world is the real world, so this is definitely the answer to the question What would happen if we mandated masks? (Answer: nothing.)

It’s not necessarily the answer to the question of whether you could lower your own illness risk by constantly wearing a well-fitting N95 mask at all times when around other people. Based on our understanding of the physical impact of masks, probably you could. This may have some downsides (for you personally), and it’s worth weighing those against your personal risk of illness.

I heard the COVID state of emergency is ending. What does that mean?

This has implications for the powers of the executive branch. Most of this isn’t likely to be super-visible to people on the ground, at least not in the short term. One change that does matter broadly is the link between the Medicaid continuous enrollment program and the end of the COVID emergency. More detail on this is here.

Bottom line: should I still be taking COVID precautions, and which ones?

One concrete answer: boosters for older people, vaccinations (or boosters) for pregnant people, and vaccination for babies at six months if they haven’t had COVID yet.

I also want to acknowledge:

  • For some people, their school or child care center still has COVID-specific policies that make getting COVID very disruptive. Despite CDC guidelines generally updating away from these, it is a challenge for working parents when it is still part of the protocol.
  • For people whose children are immunocompromised or under six months (and can’t be vaccinated yet), the need for precautions may remain. This is as much about other illnesses at this point as it is about COVID, but it is a reality that remains more front-of-mind than it has been in the past.

Going forward, different people are going to make different choices about risks. In case it is useful, I have two thoughts to frame your thinking.

First: for the vast majority of people, COVID-19 illness at this point will present like a standard respiratory virus. That doesn’t mean you want to court it! No one likes to be sick. But treating it very differently than you treat colds or the flu isn’t well backed-up by the evidence.

Second: whatever precautions you plan to take now should be ones you are comfortable with indefinitely, since you should not expect the situation to change.

One legacy of the past three years is continued fear of COVID, especially for people who have been extremely cautious. It may be difficult to break out of this and to put COVID in a broader context, but it may be time to do so.

Covid-19 rapid antigen tests arranged in a pattern on a yellow background.

Feb 20 2023

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Covid-19 rapid antigen tests arranged in a pattern on a yellow background.

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Updated CDC Guidelines for School and Child Care

NO QUARANTINES!!!

Emily Oster

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We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy. 

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙

We are better writers than influencers, I promise. Thanks to our kids for filming our unboxing videos. People make this look way too easy.

Only two weeks until our book “The Unexpected” is here! Preorder at the link in my bio. 💙
...

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster

Exciting news! We have new, high-quality data that says it’s safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy and there is no link between Tylenol exposure and neurodevelopmental issues in kids. Comment “Link” for a DM to an article exploring this groundbreaking study.

While doctors have long said Tylenol was safe, confusing studies, panic headlines, and even a lawsuit have continually stoked fears in parents. As a result, many pregnant women have chosen not to take it, even if it would help them.

This is why good data is so important! When we can trust the data, we can trust our choices. And this study shows there is no blame to be placed on pregnant women here. So if you have a migraine or fever, please take your Tylenol.

#tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancyhealth #pregnancytips #parentdata #emilyoster
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How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months. 

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages. 

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords

How many words should kids say — and when? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about language development!

For this graph, researchers used a standardized measure of vocabulary size. Parents were given a survey and checked off all the words and sentences they have heard their child say.

They found that the average child—the 50th percentile line—at 24 months has about 300 words. A child at the 10th percentile—near the bottom of the distribution—has only about 50 words. On the other end, a child at the 90th percentile has close to 600 words. One main takeaway from these graphs is the explosion of language after fourteen or sixteen months.

What’s valuable about this data is it can give us something beyond a general guideline about when to consider early intervention, and also provide reassurance that there is a significant range in this distribution at all young ages.

#cribsheet #emilyoster #parentdata #languagedevelopment #firstwords
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I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit.

I saw this and literally laughed out loud 😂 Thank you @adamgrant for sharing this gem! Someone let me know who originally created this masterpiece so I can give them the proper credit. ...

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata

Perimenopause comes with a whole host of symptoms, like brain fog, low sex drive, poor energy, and loss of muscle mass. These symptoms can be extremely bothersome and hard to treat. Could testosterone help? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about the data on testosterone treatment for women in perimenopause.

#perimenopause #perimenopausehealth #womenshealth #hormoneimbalance #emilyoster #parentdata
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What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata

What age is best to start swim lessons? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article about water safety for children 💦

Summer is quickly approaching! You might be wondering if it’s the right time to have your kid start swim lessons. The AAP recommends starting between 1 and 4 years old. This is largely based on a randomized trial where young children were put into 8 or 12 weeks of swim lessons. They found that swimming ability and water safety reactions improve in both groups, and more so in the 12 weeks group.

Below this age range though, they are too young to actually learn how to swim. It’s fine to bring your baby into the pool (if you’re holding them) and they might like the water. But starting formal safety-oriented swim lessons before this age isn’t likely to be very helpful.

Most importantly, no matter how old your kid is or how good of a swimmer they are, adult supervision is always necessary!

#swimlessons #watersafety #kidsswimminglessons #poolsafety #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

 #emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids

Can babies have salt? 🧂 While babies don’t need extra salt beyond what’s in breast milk or formula, the risks of salt toxicity from normal foods are minimal. There are concerns about higher blood pressure in the long term due to a higher salt diet in the first year, but the data on these is not super compelling and the differences are small.

Like with most things, moderation is key! Avoid very salty chips or olives or saltines with your infant. But if you’re doing baby-led weaning, it’s okay for them to share your lightly salted meals. Your baby does not need their own, unsalted, chicken if you’re making yourself a roast. Just skip the super salty stuff.

#emilyoster #parentdata #childnutrition #babynutrition #foodforkids
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Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata

Is sleep training bad? Comment “Link” for a DM to an article breaking down the data on sleep training 😴

Among parenting topics, sleep training is one of the most divisive. Ultimately, it’s important to know that studies looking at the short- and long-term effects of sleep training show no evidence of harm. The data actually shows it can improve infant sleep and lower parental depression.

Even so, while sleep training can be a great option, it will not be for everyone. Just as people can feel judged for sleep training, they can feel judged for not doing it. Engaging in any parenting behavior because it’s what’s expected of you is not a good idea. You have to do what works best for your family! If that’s sleep training, make a plan and implement it. If not, that’s okay too.

What’s your experience with sleep training? Did you feel judged for your decision to do (or not do) it?

#sleeptraining #newparents #babysleep #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes

Does your kid love to stall right before bedtime? 💤 Tell me more about their tactics in the comments below!

#funnytweets #bedtime #nightimeroutine #parentinghumor #parentingmemes
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Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices. 

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata

Got a big decision to make? 🤔 Comment “Link” for a DM to read about my easy mantra for making hard choices.

When we face a complicated problem in pregnancy or parenting, and don’t like either option A or B, we often wait around for a secret third option to reveal itself. This magical thinking, as appealing as it is, gets in the way. We need a way to remind ourselves that we need to make an active choice, even if it is hard. The mantra I use for this: “There is no secret option C.”

Having this realization, accepting it, reminding ourselves of it, can help us make the hard decisions and accurately weigh the risks and benefits of our choices.

#parentingquotes #decisionmaking #nosecretoptionc #parentingadvice #emilyoster #parentdata
...

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster

Excuse the language, but I have such strong feelings about this subject! Sometimes, it feels like there’s no winning as a mother. People pressure you to breastfeed and, in the same breath, shame you for doing it in public. Which is it?!

So yes, they’re being completely unreasonable. You should be able to feed your baby in peace. What are some responses you can give to someone who tells you to cover up? Share in the comments below ⬇️

#breastfeeding #breastfeedinginpublic #breastfeedingmom #motherhood #emilyoster
...

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there! 

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife

Potty training can feel like a Mount Everest-size challenge, and sadly, our evidence-based guidance is poor. So, I created a survey to collate advice and feedback on success from about 6,000 participants.

How long does potty training take? We found that there is a strong basic pattern here: the later you wait to start, the shorter time it takes to potty train. On average, people who start at under 18 months report it takes them about 12 weeks for their child to be fully trained (using the toilet consistently for both peeing and pooping). For those who start between 3 and 3.5, it’s more like nine days. Keep in mind that for all of these age groups, there is a range of length of time from a few days to over a year. Sometimes parents are told that if you do it right, it only takes a few days. While that is true for some people, it is definitely not the norm.

If you’re in the throes of potty training, hang in there!

#emilyoster #parentdata #pottytraining #pottytrainingtips #toddlerlife
...

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens. 

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children. 

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata

For children or adults with severe food allergies, they can be incredibly scary and restrictive. We may imagine that it’s easy to deal with a peanut allergy by, say, not eating peanut butter sandwiches. But for someone with a severe version of this allergy, they may never be able to go to a restaurant, for fear of a severe reaction to something in the air. Right now, there’s only one approved treatment for severe allergies like this and it’s limited to peanuts.

This is why the new medication Xolair is very exciting. It promises a second possible treatment avenue and one that works for other allergens. A new trail analyzed data from 177 children with severe food allergies. Two-thirds of the treatment group were able to tolerate the specified endpoint, versus just 7% of the placebo group. This is a very large treatment effect, and the authors found similarly large impacts on other allergens.

There are some caveats: This treatment won’t work for everyone. (One-third of participants did not respond to it.) Additionally, this treatment is an injection given every two to four weeks, indefinitely. This may make it less palatable to children.

Overall, even with caveats, this is life-changing news for many families!

#xolair #foodallergies #allergies #peanutallergy #emilyoster #parentdata
...

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips

If you have a fever during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol, both because it will make you feel better and because of concerns about fever in pregnancy (although these are also overstated).

The evidence that suggests risks to Tylenol focuses largely on more extensive exposure — say, taking it for more than 28 days during pregnancy. There is no credible evidence, even correlational, to suggest that taking it occasionally for a fever or headache would be an issue.

People take Tylenol for a reason. For many people, the choice may be between debilitating weekly migraines and regular Tylenol usage. The impacts studies suggest are very small. In making this decision, we should weigh the real, known benefit against the suggestion of this possible risk. Perhaps not everyone will come out at the same place on this, but it is crucial we give people the tools to make the choice for themselves.

#emilyoster #parentdata #tylenol #pregnancy #pregnancytips
...

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks

Parenting trends are like Cabbage Patch Kids: they’re usually only popular because a bunch of people are using them! Most of the time, these trends are not based on new scientific research, and even if they are, that new research doesn’t reflect all of what we’ve studied before.

In the future, before hopping onto the latest trend, check the data first. Unlike Cabbage Patch Kids, parenting trends can add a lot of unnecessary stress and challenges to your plate. What’s a recent trend that you’ve been wondering about?

#parentdata #emilyoster #parentingtips #parentingadvice #parentinghacks
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As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData! 

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity

As of this week, 1 million copies of my books have been sold. This feels humbling and, frankly, unbelievable. I’m so thankful to those of you who’ve read and passed along your recommendations of the books.

When I wrote Expecting Better, I had no plan for all of this — I wrote that book because I felt compelled to write it, because it was the book I wanted to read. As I’ve come out with more books, and now ParentData, I am closer to seeing what I hope we can all create. That is: a world where everyone has access to reliable data, based on causal evidence, to make informed, confident decisions that work for their families.

I’m so grateful you’re all here as a part of this, and I want to thank you! If you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sign up for full access to ParentData, this is it. ⭐️ Comment “Link” for a DM with a discount code for 20% off of a new monthly or annual subscription to ParentData!

Thank you again for being the best community of readers and internet-friends on the planet. I am so lucky to have you all here.

#parentdata #emilyoster #expectingbetter #cribsheet #familyfirm #parentingcommunity
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Just eat your Cheerios and move on.

Just eat your Cheerios and move on. ...

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide

The AAP’s guidelines recommend sleeping in the same room as your baby “ideally for the first six months.” However, the risk of SIDS is dramatically lower after four months, and the evidence in favor of the protective effect of room sharing is quite weak (both overall and even more so after four months). There is also growing evidence that infants who sleep in their own room by four months sleep better at four months, better at nine months, and even better at 30 months.

With this in mind, it’s worth asking why this recommendation continues at all — or at least why the AAP doesn’t push it back to four months. They say decreased arousals from sleep are linked to SIDS, which could mean that babies sleeping in their own room is risky. But this link is extremely indirect, and they do not show direct evidence to support it.

According to the data we have, parents should sleep in the same room as a baby for as long as it works for them! Sharing a room with a child may have negative impacts on both child and adult sleep. We should give families more help in navigating these trade-offs and making the decisions that work best for them.

#emilyoster #parentdata #roomsharing #sids #parentingguide
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