Tips to Prevent Getting an Infectious Disease While on Vacation

Dr. Brent W. Laartz thought he was in for the ride of his lifetime when he set out on a horseback riding excursion in Costa Rica.

Admittedly younger and more naïve than he is today, Laartz – an infectious disease specialist and author of the book How to Avoid Contagious Diseases…


When I took my daughter Hannah for her 4 month check-up in December of 2012 I noticed that her head was unusually flat and the sides were a bit rounded. I knew I’d been giving her tummy time and floor time daily so I was a bit worried, but I figured it was nothing. The doctor examined my baby and said I am going to give you a referral to see a cranial specialist. Ok press pause for a second. In my head I was saying “Cranial Specialist” what are you saying sir (giving him the side eye roll in my head) what is wrong with my baby? He casually said, “Oh it’s probably nothing”, I just want them to look at a few things since her head seems a bit flat on the back. As a mom, everyone always tells you to make sure your baby sleeps on their back. You try everything you can to make sure that your baby does just that. I found a small co sleeper bed that would allow her to sleep positioned on her back only. I read the reviews before making my purchase and it was given 4 out of 5 stars so I bought it. She slept like a doll and I didn’t have to worry about her being a stomach sleeper.

When I took Hannah to the Cranial Specialist in December 2012 my worse fear was confirmed, Hannah had the “P word” Plagiocephaly (a fancy way of saying flat head) and would need a helmet to correct this issue. I was crushed. I felt like it was all my fault although they clearly told me it wasn’t. I couldn’t help but feel guilty.  I purchased this co sleeper that did not allow her to have range of motion to turn her neck completely from side to side while she slept; maybe this caused her head to be flat. On Friday, January 18, 2013 I took Hannah back to the doctor and it was final we were getting a DOC band helmet. I had to cut Hannah’s hair and take her in for the final measurement for her helmet. I hated cutting her hair and I was worried because you could see her odd head shape with her hair almost gone. When I saw the actual helmet it looked so medical and clinical. I looked online at the option of painting it a different color and they said that was fine. HALLEAUJIAH! I felt that if we had to deal with Plagiocephaly then we would at least be cute doing it. I am sure we will get stares because of her helmet, but I have armed myself with enough information to talk about the subject knowledgeably. Quite frankly I really don’t care what people think about. I am not ashamed and will never be ashamed of my daughter having to wear a helmet. I can’t worry about other mama’s judging me because last time I checked there were no perfect mama’s out there. I look at this as a permanent fix for a temporary problem. If people are so small enough to stare and don’t have enough guts to politely ask me about her condition then that is their issue not mine or my daughters. We will get her helmet in about 10 days. She will have to wear it 23 hours out of the day. I think the hardest adjustment with be her sleeping in it and it getting sweaty, but we will see. The “P word” has taught me that tolerance and compassion are necessary and that we must teach it to our kids. I have a great opportunity to teach my kids about being accepting to those persons who are different, for whatever reason. As a parent I learned a valuable lesson, the show must go on! I will not keep my baby contained in our house or limit the places I go because of people staring or poking fun. If someone has an issue with her helmet, it is their issue not mine. I encourage you mama’s if you feel that something is off or just not right with your baby take them to the doctor. If there is a problem it is better to catch it early and if nothing is wrong at least you have the peace of mind in knowing all is well.

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