According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 5 children are missing routine immunizations. With nearly 20% of the world’s population at risk for diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and other preventable diseases, there are close to 1.5 million deaths annually that could be averted. As part of World Immunization Week, we at NeedyMeds want to spread awareness on the importance of vaccinations and the resources available for those in need.   In a previous blog post, we shared a graph that compared the morbidity of illnesses from the years before the vaccine was developed to the year 2000. All the applicable diseases—smallpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough, polio, rubella, tetanus, and influenza type b—decreased in morbidity in the United

States by 95-100%.   More recently, we wrote about this year’s measles outbreak that had schools barring unvaccinated students to cut down on infection rates. Though measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000, 147 people from seven states were reported to have the virus, all linked to an amusement park in California. The same strain of measles was traced to a large outbreak in the Philippines in 2014, and has been identified in 14 other countries in the past six months. With no treatment, the vaccine is the main line of defense against the virus.   It is worth noting that hardly any medicine can be considered 100% effective; for example, the measles vaccine is 93-97% effective with one or two doses, respectively. This means…

In recognition of National Autism Awareness Month, we at NeedyMeds want to share the information and resources available for those in need and spread acceptance of those on the autism spectrum. In a previous blog post, we outlined what is known and the information available for those with a family member who has autism. With approximately 1% of the world’s population falling somewhere on the autism spectrum, it is not only important to be aware of the resources and to know the information, we must know how to be accepting and understanding of those with special needs.   NeedyMeds has information on several resources available to children with autism and their families designed togive them access to the same activities and opportunities as other people.  There are

camps and retreats for those with autism  and Asperger syndrome that encourage acceptance and compassion. With trained professionals and low camper-to-counselor ratios, these retreats give those on the autism spectrum the chance to experience community and fun in a safe environment. There are also scholarships available so people on the spectrum can continue their education free of limitations.   For families facing an autism diagnosis together, there are various types of financial assistance available in the Diagnosis-Based Assistance area of our website. Having special needs or the responsibility of caring for one who does isn’t something anyone would ever ask for, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. Widespread awareness and consideration are as important as any form of assistance, and can…

Last summer, we wrote about the Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association. This year, a young Bruins fan’s viral video has launched a new awareness campaign. Liam Fitzgerald, 8 years old, was seen fist-bumping Boston Bruins players during their warm-up last November, and captured the hearts of hockey fans around the nation. In 2011, Liam “kicked cancer’s butt,” and is now working on raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with his own “Fist Bump Challenge.” Less bracing than a bucket of ice water, Liam’s campaign asks people to post pictures or videos of themselves fist bumping each other on social media and donating $5—$1 for each finger and thumb—and then nominating five more people to participate in the challenge.   Leukemia is a

cancer that affects blood and bone marrow and develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control. It’s estimated that over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with leukemia every year and 24,000 die from the disease annually. Lymphoma is the name for a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. Nearly 80,000 new cases of lymphoma are diagnosed in the US every year.   While donating to research into these cancers can help find an effective treatment or cure, NeedyMeds offers information on several programs that may be able to help those currently suffering and requiring assistance.  We have discussed resources for leukemia and lymphoma in a previous blog post. To refresh, NeedyMeds has Disease Information…

The National Institute of Cancer says that colorectal cancer is cancer that forms in the colon or rectum in both men and women. It is the third most common non-skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. To help raise awareness of this deadly but highly preventable disease, March has been designated Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Screening is the most effective way to reduce one’s risk of colorectal cancer; it is preventable and, if caught early, treatable. Risk increases with age, so people over 50 years old are encouraged to get screened. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a variety of tests, from a stool test once a year to a sigmoidoscopy every three

to five years and/or colonoscopy every 10 years. Despite the risks, 1 in 3 adults ages 50-75 are still not getting screened as recommended. Healthy lifestyle choices, such as being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not drinking alcohol to excess and being smoke-free can also lower your risk for colorectal cancer.   With 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, it’s important to know the warning signs.  More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people over 50 years old and may not always be symptomatic, which is why screening is so important. Symptoms may include blood in the stool, stomach cramps or pains that do not go away, and inexplicable weight loss. Other factors may increase one’s risk, such as a family history…

February is American Heart Month. With over 67 million Americans with high blood pressure, one’s awareness can save lives.  High blood pressure can present with no symptoms, making it important to check regularly and to set a goal with their doctor if they find their BP is too high. People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Americans.   In a previous blog post we discussed heart health in young men, but it is equally important for women. High blood pressure, smoking, and high LDL cholesterol are key factors of heart disease, but other conditions such as diabetes or obesity

also put people at a higher risk. To decrease your risk, don't smoke, make healthy food choices, limit alcohol intake, lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress. If prescribed, be sure to take blood pressure medicine as directed.   NeedyMeds’ Disease Information Page for Heart Disease has information on the assistance available for those in need, including Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs) that offer medications for low or no cost as well as Diagnosis-Based Assistance.  Assistance can also be found in our State Sponsored Programs, including the CDC’s WISEWOMAN program to provide low-income, under-insured/uninsured women with chronic risk blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Use our website to find assistance or call our toll-free helpline at 1-800-503-6897.