August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) in the United States. This is the time of year when children and teenagers are heading back to school, toddlers are entering preschools or daycare programs, and many adults are heading into college or continuing their careers. Regardless of the situation, it is important to be aware of the need for getting vaccinated year round.

Vaccines are a vital part of healthcare at all stages of life and offers the best protection available against many potentially devastating illnesses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to follow an immunization schedule for babies and young children, protecting them from 14 life-affecting diseases. Pre-teens and teenagers should begin to innoculate against meningococcal diseases (meningitis or septicemia) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer). Adults should continue to protect themselves with a yearly flu shot, tetanus updates, and later in life the shingles vaccine.

An important element of immunization awareness is to protect our populations through “

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August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) in the United States. This is the time of year when children and teenagers are heading back to school, toddlers are entering preschools or daycare programs, and many adults are heading into college or continuing their careers in the workforce. Regardless of the situation, the need for getting vaccinated is important to be aware of year round.

Vaccines are a vital part to healthcare at all stages of life and offers the best protection available against many potentially devastating illnesses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to follow an immunization schedule for babies and young children, protecting them from 14 life-affecting diseases. Pre-teens and teenagers should begin to innoculate against meningococcal diseases (meningitis or septicemia) and HPV (Human Papillomavirus, which can lead to cancer). Adults should continue to protect themselves with a yearly flu shot.

An important element of immunization awareness is to protect our populations through “

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The last week of April was World Immunization Week, but August is National Immunization Awareness Month for the US. This is the time of year when children and teenagers are heading back to school, infants are entering preschools or day care programs, and many adults are heading into college or continuing their careers in the work force. Regardless of the situation, the need for getting vaccinated is important to be aware of year round.

According to Marvin M. Lipman, MD, Consumer Reports’ chief medical advisor, “Each year, at least 30,000 people die from complications related to vaccine-preventable diseases.” The onset of immunity and its duration varies from vaccine to vaccine. There are vaccines that are good for ten years, five years, and even vaccines that need to be renewed yearly. Dr. Lipman states, “Getting the right shots doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it will significantly improve your odds.”

Even if a person is vaccinated as a child the ability to fend off vaccine-preventable diseases may begin to lessen. Vaccines boosters are used to build immunity against illnesses and

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Measles was declared eliminated from the United States in 2000. However, measles can still infect people when brought in from foreign visitors or unvaccinated Americans while traveling abroad. The recent outbreak at a popular vacation spot in southern California can have far-reaching effects, though these effects are easily countered with the proper medical precautions.

Measles is a virus that presents with high fever, cough, runny nose, and red/watery eyes. Two to three days after initial symptoms, tiny white spots may appear inside the mouth followed by a rash covering the face, neck, body, arms, legs, and feet appearing one to three days later.  When the rash develops, a person’s fever may spike to more than 104°F. The fever and rash subside after a few days.

On top of the typical presentations, there are a number of complications that can arise. Ear infections can occur in children with measles and can result in permanent hearing loss. Children are also susceptible to pneumonia and, in rare occasions, encephalitis—a

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The development of vaccines to protect against potentially killer diseases likes polio, measles and pertussis (whooping cough) has been widely hailed as one of the crowning achievements of medicine in the 20th century.  As the table below shows, the incidence of these, and other diseases, decreased by between 95-100% once vaccines were given. Many of us can likely remember hearing stories of family members who died from these diseases, or who were otherwise seriously and permanently affected from having suffered from these diseases. But are we taking this standard of care for granted?

According to a recent study reported by Reuters, “Nearly half of babies and toddlers in the United States aren’t getting recommended vaccines on time – and if enough skip vaccines, whole schools or communities could be vulnerable to diseases such as whooping cough and measles.”

We are seeing the effects of “under-vaccination” already as outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) are becoming increasingly

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