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Wintry weather is here and with that comes the extra threat of the flu. Dr. Sue helps you choose which vaccine is best for your little one.
Getting your kids vaccinated is a great way to fight the flu, but you can also keep their immune system strong with what they eat. Dr. Sue explains with the Kid's Doctor.
With school in full swing, I bet you checked off your to do list your child's immunizations. Vaccines keep kids healthy by preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
I have been receiving a lot of calls, emails and questions on twitter regarding Michael Douglas' admission that his oral cancer was caused by HPV.
If you're planning on adding another child to your family-or thinking about starting a family-you might want to consider getting the whooping cough vaccine before you get pregnant.
Why would you do that? According to a new study from Australia, babies who are born to women that are vaccinated with the whooping cough (also known as Pertussis) vaccine before they become pregnant have a 50% lower risk of developing the disease.
Whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system. It mainly affects infants younger than 6 months old before they are immunized, and kids 11 to 18 years old whose immunity has started to decrease. Pertussis is characterized by severe coughing spells that may produce a whooping sound when the child breathes in.
It is highly contagious and before the Pertussis vaccine was available it killed 5,000 to 10,000 people in the U.S. each year. Now that there is a vaccine, the annual number of deaths is less than 30. But in recent years, the number of cases has started to rise. By 2004, the number of whooping cough cases spiked past 25,000, the highest level it's been since the 1950s.
The researchers looked at 217 babies ages 4 months and younger who had whooping cough. They compared them with 585 healthy infants born at the same time in the same area.
They discovered that a similar percentage of mothers - in both groups - received the whooping cough vaccine. However, 41 percent of the moms of healthy babies had been vaccinated at least four weeks before their infant became sick. However, of the mothers whose babies had whooping cough, only 27 percent of mothers had been vaccinated at least four weeks earlier.
Also in the healthy baby group, 26 percent of the mothers said they had been vaccinated before their baby was born, while only 14 percent of mothers whose babies had whooping cough said they had been vaccinated before delivery.
In this program, "there was no vaccination durin
You can't smoke it, but you might want to inject tobacco to protect you against the flu.
While I am on the subject of vaccines it is important to remember that it is not only infants and young children who receive vaccines. Children (and even adults) continue to need vaccines and some vaccines are not given until a child is in the tween and teen years.
Why? For one reason, our bodies need booster doses of vaccines to remind our immune systems to keep us protected. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a good example of this. We are in the middle of an epidemic of whooping cough across this country, in part due to the fact that adults had not been re-immunized against whooping cough. Adults who get pertussis often just have a prolonged cough, they do not get as sick as infants and young children. But, they are contagious during their lengthy cough illness and a baby who is not yet protected can get seriously ill and even die from whooping cough. There have been deaths related to whooping cough.
Other vaccines are given during the tween/teen years to prevent a type of meningitis that clusters in adolescents and young adults. Meningococcal meningitis has two peaks, one in children under the age of 1 and again during the teens and early twenties. The first dose of this vaccine is given at age 11 and a booster dose is given at age 16, just prior to teens leaving for college and living in close quarters in dorms and apartments. Make sure your child gets that second dose!
The HPV vaccine is given to tweens to prevent cervical and penile cancers as well as genital warts. The vaccine is given prior to any exposure to the HPV virus as it provides protection, but does not treat HPV infections. Once again, you need a series of 3 vaccines to prevent 4 specific types of HPV, and scientists are hard at work to develop an even better vaccine that will cover more serotypes of HPV. This is really the first anti-cancer vaccine and our children w
April 20-27 is National Infant Immunization Week. Although there are infants and children in this country being immunized every day, this is the week to remind parents, caregivers and health care professionals of the importance of vaccines.
Infants are immunized against 14 vaccine preventable diseases. Vaccines are now given to prevent not only older diseases like diphtheria, tetanus and polio but for diseases like bacterial meningitis, chicken pox and a viral diarrheal disease. Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of the past century, and more vaccines are in the pipelines to continue to save lives.
Although some parents have been concerned and even misinformed that vaccines cause autism, study after study, including one published last month, have shown that there is NOT a link between vaccines and autism. What we do know is that vaccines save lives, lots of lives.
Before the meningitis vaccines for both pneumococcal and H. flu bacterial infections were available there were hundreds of children who died each year. I can remember taking care of some very sick children, and even doing spinal taps in my office to rule out meningitis. Some of the spinal taps were positive and a few of my young patients were fortunate to survive bacterial meningitis, but they are now adults with deafness. We had a few children in our practice during the 1980s who died from meningitis.
During my early years of practice bacterial infections of the blood were also more common and we hospitalized a lot more infants and children than we do now. I will also never forget a previously healthy 2 year old little boy who died from chickenpox and a bacterial infection of his blood stream. This occurred almost 20 years ago, before the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine was available. He would have been pro
A study that was published in an issue of Pediatrics caught my eye online. The title Cough Trick May Reduce Pain of Routine Immunizations seemed relevant to my practice so I decided to preview the study a little early.
The study was performed at The University of Nebraska and involved 68 children (small sample size) and they were all receiving vaccines at either the pre-kindergarten visit (age four to five years) or at the 11 to12-year-old visit when routine immunizations are again given.
In this study the children were all instructed to COUGH while getting their vaccines and then the children as well as their parents and nurses were surveyed to see how painful the procedure seemed. For the kids they used visual scales (pictures of painful faces) to demonstrate degree of pain.
There have been numerous studies done in previous years looking at methods to reduce pain during simple office visits for immunizations. Strategies from the use of topical anesthetics (EMLA cream), to sucking on sucrose dipped nipples for babies, to blowing bubbles to distract patients have all been used.
In many of these cases the cost or time involved in these strategies was prohibitive for routine use in a busy office or clinic setting But, in this study, the time and cost was NONE as the children were taught to give one BIG cough prior to the injection and then coughed again at the time of injection. What a wonderful discovery! Easy, efficient and no training necessary for staff. In this study it wasn't clear that it helped all children, and interestingly it seemed to be more effective in certain racial groups than others?
In the meantime, while the academic and research docs are at work, I am going to try thi
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There has been plenty of chatter among parents surrounding by the current recommendations by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) who recently voted to recommend the routine use of the human papillomavirus quadrivalent vaccine (HPV 4) in boys aged 11 to 12 years. This is important news for our children.
This committee had previously discussed the use of HPV 4 in males. In 2009, the ACIP provided guidance stating the vaccine could be used in males 9 to 26 years of age, but did not state it should be routinely recommended.
The waters are no longer muddy: vaccinate both boys and girls.
HPV is the number one sexually transmitted disease in the United States and data shows that up to 50% of sexually active people will acquire HPV at some point in their lives.
Not everyone who gets HPV (a virus) can clear the infection and some individuals will go on to develop precancerous and cancerous lesions.
I've had many parents ask why should I vaccinate my child when they are only 11 years old? Of course YOUR child is not having sex at this age, some may not have even had THE TALK yet!
Unfortunately, there are kids having sex before they are ready and this includes children as young as 11 years (or even younger). In order for the vaccine to be most effective it must be given before your child is exposed to the virus. Therefore the recommendation is to give it at 11-12 years, although it is also approved to be used in children as young as 9 years if warranted. The vaccine does not treat disease, and it only prevents disease if you are vaccinated.
HPV is sexually transmitted and by immunizing both girls and boys the back and forth of this virus may be prevented. Until the vaccination rates are higher for both sexes there will not be a significant change in the rates of cervical cancer or genital warts.
With this latest recommendation one can hop
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Over the last several months I have had a lot of patients (especially those that are old enough to talk) ask me about the new needless jet injectors for vaccinations. Of course anything that says no needle and painless has a lot of appeal for both doctor and patients, especially in pediatrics. Our practice has not decided whether to try out the new jet injectors and we are still giving the standard shots, not always with smiling patients. How do jet injectors actually work? By using a thin high pressure of liquid to penetrate the skin with the vaccine. Well, now that it is flu vaccine season, there has been a lot of advertising about needless injections for flu vaccine. Many drug stores and/or grocery stores had advertised that you could get your flu vaccine, pain free. Sounds great, right? Not so fast, the FDA recently announced that all vaccines including flu vaccine be administered in accordance with their labeling. This means that flu vaccine has not been studied when given by the new jet injectors. The FDA also stated that there was no data to show the safety or efficacy of flu vaccine or other vaccines given by injectors. The only vaccine that has currently been approved to be given by the jet injectors is the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The flu vaccine may be given by the traditional method with a needle, or as a nasal mist (for use in children 2 years of age and older). Most of our patients opt for flu mist if they can talk and sniff. It is amazing that there are several children who really do prefer a shot, and they tell me that they would never sniff something up their nose. Different strokes for different children. But in the meantime, I am not jumping on the jet injector bandwagon. The FDA is now stating that each vaccine needs to be evaluated for both safety and efficacy when given by a jet injector. I am sure that those studies will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, RUN to get your flu vaccine, it is time to get vaccinated as s
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I am often reminded of the adage, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you before beginning infant vaccinations. I can remember my own parents saying that to me before a spanking (the preferred discipline of my childhood) and that statement never made any sense to me until I too became a parent.
As I discuss infant vaccinations with new parents, I somehow know that they are wishing they could take the needles for their own child. I really do believe that those first vaccines at 2 months of age hurt the new parent, more than the infant. It is an early parenting hurdle to get through those first immunizations and realize that your baby handled the vaccines without much ado and somehow the next set of vaccines at 4 and 6 months are a bit easier. Pain is not anything that a parent wants their child to endure, and if there is any way to mitigate the pain associated with immunizations I am all for it.
Many parents come to my office prepared with sucrose to let their baby suck on during the immunizations. I recently read an article in Pediatrics that showed the 5 S's - swaddling, side/stomach positioning, shushing, swinging and sucking on a pacifier significantly reduced the pain associated with vaccines in 2 and 4 month old infants. In fact the 5 S's worked substantially better to reduce post vaccination pain than sucrose alone.
So, if you are concerned about the pain associated with your infant's vaccines, come ready to swaddle, shush, swing and let your baby have a pacifier as well. A little tummy time after the immunizations might be good medicine too.
But more importantly, remember that by vaccinating your baby you are protecting them from disease for their entire childhood and into adolescence (when I am not sure the immunizations are any easier).
The 5 S's seem like an easy solution for parent and baby, and a lollipop or ice cream cone goes a long way for pain relief in the 4-11 year o
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