Chicago Parent Staff

Beware of MSG

I read the article ("The unbelievable headache," November 2007) and noticed not a mention of headaches related to MSG. My daughter is 4 years old and she was having severe migraines, with so much pain that she would vomit and pass out for 10 to 15 hours. After going to an eye doctor and multiple tests at a local hospital that didn’t find a cause, my wife and I took it upon ourselves to find the cause by watching what she ate and when she would get a headache. To our surprise the only common ingredient was monosodium glutamate. Now we read the cans and boxes of all the food we buy to make sure there is no MSG and there have been no headaches for the past four months. I feel something should be done to let parents know of this "flying under the radar" condition before spending lots of money on doctors and tests.

Michael J. Fleming

Prayer to stop the killing

Father Michael Phleger of St. Sabina Church led yet another march on Chuck’s Gun Shop in sunny Riverdale recently. Why? To stop the killing, he prays. Unfortunately, Father Phleger is leading his flock down the wrong path.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Father Phleger all tout the goodness of more gun control, but all three of them shy away from the central issue. How can we take guns out of the hands of young men who join gangs, make their living selling drugs and rake in outrageous profits in the process?

By legalizing, controlling and regulating illicit drugs instead of prohibiting them we stop much of the killing and gunfire.

But none of these three leaders are up to it.

Mayor Daley recently cited the successful July 2007 church-supported gun buy-back program that yielded 6,705 guns in Chicago. Sounds promising unless you know that there are "about 200 million guns in civilian hands in America," according to Yale Law School Professor Steven B. Duke.

If we could step up the gun buy-back success from 6,705 guns to a million guns a year, it would take a century to get half the guns off American streets, assuming gun manufacturers would stop making new ones.

It’s about time our leaders started shooting straight with the people, many sick and tired of the endless gunfire and innocents caught in the crossfire. The truth is that nothing, absolutely nothing, offers any hope of restoring peace and quiet to many Chicago-area neighborhoods except an end to Al Capone-type prohibition. It will take some politicians and preachers with some real guts to lead us.

James E. Gierach
Speaker for L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), Oak Lawn


Doggie etiquette reminders

As a mom with a houseful of kids and companion animals, I know that kids naturally love dogs, but they also need to be taught how to interact with dogs safely and respectfully. I found some helpful advice about safely introducing kids to dogs in a new book called "Let’s Have a Dog Party!" Here are some of the book’s "dos and don’ts" for kids who encounter strange dogs:

Never run up to a dog you don’t know. The dog may think you’re attacking him. Let the dog approach you first. Hold out your hand for the dog to sniff rather than patting him on the head.

Don’t scream and yell—dogs may think you are hurting another child and need to be stopped. If you see a dog running toward you, stop making noise and stand still and look at the ground, not into the dog’s eyes.

Don’t make sudden movements near a dog.

There are lots of other helpful tips and advice for dog lovers in this book. It can be ordered online at www.PETACatalog.org.

Monica Ball

RSV needs to betaken seriously

I loved your article on "The ABCs of RSV" (December 2007). Our daughter was born a week before Christmas 2006, three weeks early, but a great Christmas present! We all had colds and tried to keep away from her as much as possible. My situation was a little different. I knew she was sick but no one would listen to me. She is our fourth child and I am not one to run to the doctor as soon as they are sick, but at about 2 weeks old she had a horrible cough so, knowing about RSV and the dangers I took her to the doctor. They assured me she was fine.

About four days later she still had a cough and seemed to be laboring when she breathed. I took her to the emergency room. They assured me she was fine. I took her home and the next day we were to see the doctor again. Before we could make the appointment she stopped breathing and we had to call 911. Luckily I remembered the very basics of CPR and after 18 days in intensive care and nine days of being on a ventilator she was doing much better. She is now receiving the injections to prevent getting the virus again and she seems to be doing well with little colds so far this season. She does have a heart issue because of the stress on her little body but they hope she will outgrow it. We couldn’t be more thankful that she is OK. Thank you so much for putting the word out about protecting our little ones against this virus. It is a dangerous thing and all new and seasoned parents with newborns need to be informed about it.

Patty Biafora
Glendale Heights


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