Vaccinate your children against the flu
It’s still winter in the southern hemisphere, and Australia is experiencing one of the worst flu seasons it’s ever had.
Which is an early warning to us in the northern hemisphere: the 2017-18 flu season may be long and rough. Experts are suggesting we get our flu shots early this year, especially children as they head back to school.
One of the reasons Australia is having such a severe outbreak is that only about 10% of children have been vaccinated.
As one doctor puts it, “Children are the great distributors (of) the influenza virus. … Continue reading
Need more info? Check out these vaccination resources
In 1998, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine was FALSELY reported to be associated with autism.
The doctor who published that report has since been disgraced and the report itself debunked. In fact, research has shown again and again that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
However, the fear persists. Worse, the fear extends to ALL vaccines, not just the MMR.
What happens when a significant number of children aren’t vaccinated? We get disease outbreaks, such as the recent outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and … Continue reading
Younger is better, but…
The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of viruses that not only cause cervical cancer, but mouth and throat cancers, as well.
It’s most effective when given before a child becomes sexually active.
But what about all the 20-somethings out there who didn’t have access to this vaccine? After all, it’s only been available since 2006, and before 2011 it was only offered to girls.
Is there any benefit, especially for young men, to getting vaccinated in your twenties?
I found an interesting article written by a journalist who asked the same question—because … Continue reading
Kids need flu shots!
Pediatricians recommend all children over the age of 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
In previous years, a nasal spray version of the flu vaccine, FluMist, has been available to parents who wanted to avoid subjecting their children to another needle jab.
But for the last 3 years FluMist has not been nearly as effective as the standard flu shot. So for the 2016-2017 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) are recommending against FluMist for flu prevention.
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the Advisory Committee on
… Continue reading
Kids and vaccines
It’s that time of year when the days shorten, stores advertise trendy back-to-school clothes, and parents scramble to make appointments with their kids’ pediatricians for sport physicals and immunizations.
At least, I hope they do.
I am a fervent believer in vaccinations, even though I live in the state (Washington) with–sadly–the highest “opt out” rate in the country.
In 1998 a medical journal published a paper by (now debunked and disgraced) scientist Andrew Wakefield. He implied a link between the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine and autism. Since then, many parents have feared vaccinating their … Continue reading
Prevnar 13: As seen on TV
I was watching TV the other evening and, as usual, was forced to sit through multiple back-to-back prescription drug commercials.
One that caught my attention was for Prevnar 13, which is one of the pneumonia vaccines. (13 because it protects against 13 strains of streptococcus pneumonia.)
The commercial stated Prevnar 13 was for adults aged 50 and older.
That statement’s true, but needs some clarification.
Yes, Pfizer did get FDA approval a few years ago to market Prevnar 13 to adults over the age of 50. Previously, the vaccine was only used for … Continue reading
This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report that shows since the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine was introduced in 2006, HPV infections
have dropped by 64% among females aged 14 to 19 years and by 34% among those aged 20 to 24 years.
That’s great news. HPV is responsible for most forms of cervical cancer, as well as an increasing number of rectal and oral cancers.
Related post: HPV and cancer
But we can do better.
The American Cancer Society reports that only about 40% of girls and 21% of boys have received the recommended 3 doses … Continue reading
The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have just released an updated vaccination schedule for adults.
I’ve included the schedule and accompanying information from the CDC’s website at the end of this post.
You can also print it out to take to your primary care provider.
Related post: Adults need vaccinations, too!
It’s color coded to make it easier to follow the recommendations, and I think it’s an improvement over last year’s chart.
A yellow row/column means the vaccine is recommended for everybody in that age group; purple indicates the vaccine is for … Continue reading
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Following the recommended guidelines for Pap smears is a good way to find and treat cervical cancer early, when it’s basically curable.
A Pap smear is one of the few screening tests for which there is good evidence that it’s effective, plus it’s relatively cheap and painless.
The American Cancer Society, The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all recommend the following:
- No screening before age 21.
- Screening every 3 years between ages 21-29 with Pap smear only, no HPV testing. (The rate of
… Continue reading
In the dreary days of winter many people choose to travel overseas, especially to sunnier and warmer locations, such as Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
If you’re planning such a trip, take a moment to learn more about what health risks you might face in a particular country and if any vaccinations are recommended before you go. Some vaccines take several weeks to be most effective, so plan ahead.
Related story from Live Science: Many Americans don’t get recommended vaccines before travel
The most useful vaccine for everyone, I think, for is the Hepatitis A vaccine. … Continue reading