Get your vaccinations before summer travel
After a very rough winter and a rainy spring, summer is finally here! In a few weeks, my husband, my baby girl and I (with Lola in tow) will be traveling and heading to the beach for a couple of weeks. My baby girl just had her well baby visit this week, so she’s up to date on all of her vaccines and is ready to travel.
Summer is a great time to make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date, especially this year. There’s been a recent outbreak of measles (an infection caused by a virus) in this country – the largest measles outbreak in 15 years. Most people who recently caught the measles weren’t vaccinated. They caught the measles in Europe (which is the middle of a major epidemic) and brought the disease back to the U.S.
Measles is easily spread and causes rash, cough and fever. In some cases, it can lead to diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, brain damage or even death. Measles can cause serious health problems in young children. It can also be especially harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage.
Talk to your provider to find out if your and your family’s vaccines are up to date, especially when it comes to the measles. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, wait 1 month before trying to get pregnant after getting the measles vaccine (MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella). If you’re already pregnant, you’ll need to wait until after giving birth to get the vaccine.
If you’re traveling out of the country with your baby and she’s 6-11 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that she get her first shot of the MMR vaccine before traveling. If your baby is 12-15 months, then she should get two shots (separated by 28 days) before traveling.
Tags: baby health, measles, MMR, outbreak, pregnancy health, summer safety, vaccinations
DESPITE overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly one in five Americans believes that vaccines cause autism — a disturbing fact that will probably hold true even after the publication this month, in a British medical journal, of a report thoroughly debunking the 1998 paper that began the vaccine-autism scare.
That’s because the public’s underlying fear of vaccines goes much deeper than a single paper. Until officials realize that, and learn how to counter such deep-seated concerns, the paranoia — and the public-health risk it poses — will remain.
Vaccines have always carried with them an underlying fear…what if you get the disease from the vaccine is a question I hear very often when the flu shot is offered every fall. ” Oh, the only time I got the flu is right after a flu shot…so I don’t want to get it again.”
For those of us in medicine and who work in hospitals the flu shot has become mandatory in recent years otherwise you cannot work. Only those with an allergy to eggs or who have had a reaction to the flu shot in the past are exempt from getting the vaccine. With so many adults fearful of a flu shot, why is it that we are surprised when parents do not want their children vaccinated?
I am not quite sure.
As for my own history with vaccines…I can remember when the polio vaccine trials came out in the 1950’s. It was being offered in public schools in New York. Many parents allowed their children to receive the vaccine at school.
My mother however, did not go along with mass inoculation trials at school. I personally remember the chatter among family in our living room. Most of it centered around whether or not the vaccine was safe. “What if you could actually get polio from the vaccine?” Polio could be deadly or severely crippling. My mother wanted to wait and see for herself.
“The report”, wrote the New York Times, “was a medical classic.” Dr. Francis reported that the vaccinations had been 80 to 90 percent effective on the basis of results in eleven states. Overall, the vaccine was administered to over 440,000 children in forty-four states, three Canadian provinces and in Helsinki, Finland, and the final report required the evaluation of 144,000,000 separate items of information. After the announcement, when asked whether the effectiveness of the vaccine could be improved, Salk said, “Theoretically, the new 1955 vaccines and vaccination procedures may lead to 100 percent protection from paralysis of all those vaccinated.”
When it seemed that all was safe…I received the polio vaccine at my pediatrician’s office.
So with a history of fear surrounding vaccines there is no wonder that parents are nervous when it comes to the relationship of autism and vaccines. This fear will not easily be put to rest…but parents must be judicious and not expose their children to other deadly diseases if there is not a valid connection between vaccines and autism.
With the new findings concerning the study of MMR vaccine and autism it seems that this fear should be put to rest…however it may be very difficult for that to happen since the public has been duped once by medical researchers in this case and now they may be fearful for another reason, unethical behavior on the part of researchers.
So who are parents supposed to believe?
It is my feeling that because there has been a long time with out an outbreak of some of these very serious and deadly illnesses parents have become somewhat cavalier about the actual need for all children to receive immunizations. Healthcare professionals need to do their homework and talk to parents about childhood immunizations before we do succumb to another epidemic of one of these horrible diseases.
More information on this very important topic…if you have been plagued by questions of whether or not to vaccinate your children being informed may help you make this very important decision regarding the health of your child.
As you undoubtedly have seen in the news lately, the controversy around vaccines, particularly the MMR vaccine, and a possible link toautism is yet again a hot topic. We reported last February that The Lancet, the journal that originally printed Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 original study that implicated vaccines as a cause of autism, had issued a complete retraction after finding several elements of the research were flawed. This week, the British Medical Journal and investigator Brian Deer uncovered “clear evidence of falsification” of Wakefield’s data, which studied only 12 children.
Dr. Wakefield’s research has been questioned for years, and the ethics violations that have come to light are further sad indications that vaccines do not cause autism. As reported previously, the courts and several large-scale studies since have found no evidence of any link.
There are many children suffering from autism and other health disorders. More research must be done to find the cause and cure of this and other health conditions affecting children. One might say that sadly, well over a decade of time, energy, funding and other resources has been spent embroiled in the vaccine controversy. Others, however, feel that Dr. Wakefield’s publication created intense focus on one possible cause of the complex problem of autism, a condition that greatly needs scientific research. Hopefully, future efforts will be more productive.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 1:40 pm and is filed under Baby, Hot Topics. You can follow any responses to this entry through theRSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.