Health officials urging adolescents, adults to get whooping cough booster shot

Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
The Chicago Tribune reports that "whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection marked by violent coughing, has made a comeback in Chicago and in other parts of the country. Health officials are urging adolescents and adults -- especially those who interact with newborns -- to get a whooping cough booster shot." The Tribune points out that the Chicago Department of Public Health "has used federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to purchase 14,070 doses of Tdap vaccine and distributed them to 13 birthing hospitals to immunize postpartum women before they are discharged." So, if you or your adolescent child have NOT had your diptheria, whooping cough (pertussis), and tetanus immunization (dTap), even if you have had a diptheria and tetanus immunization (dT) anytime in the last ten years,…
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Timely Reminder: Adults urged to get vaccinated against flu and pertussis

Children's Health, Men's Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
USA Today serves up a timely reminder for us adults:  "Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu shots for everyone over six months old, only a third of Americans in this age group received one in 2009," and "even fewer adults are vaccinated against whooping cough." But, in light of California's current battle against "its largest whooping cough outbreak in more than 60 years, health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated as a way protect babies and other vulnerable patients." Indeed, "while whooping cough may be nothing more than a nuisance for an adult, it is a 'tragedy' for babies, who have no natural immunity against it and whose tiny airways make them especially vulnerable to respiratory bugs." Make an appointment today with your family physician…
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Seniors should get whooping cough vaccine

Children's Health, Parenting
An across the street neighbor was complaining the other day that her daughter and son-in-law in southern California were not going to let them visit their new grandbaby until they both had their influenza and pertussis vaccines. My comment, "Good for them!" Our neighbor seemed surprised. I said, "The kids are building a cocoon of protection for their baby. Since a baby cannot get the influenza vaccine until after six months of age, and since a child younger than six months of age is at risk for pertussis, or whooping cough, and several babies have died of it this year, they are making a wise decision for their family." The neighbor seemed perturbed by my response ... but, my bet is she and her husband will be immunized. And, they…
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Whooping Cough Epidemic Hits California: Six Babies Die

Children's Health, Parenting
In several of my past blogs, including two earlier this week (Low immunization rates linked to epidemic spread of whooping cough and Parents who refuse vaccines put other people’s children in harm’s way), I've warned of the potential dangers, including death, that can occur among unvaccinated children. Now, we're learning that children are beginning to die in California's whooping cough (pertussis) epidemic. Unfortunately, there may be more in future days. My recommendation? (1) Be sure your children are up to date on all of their vaccines. If you're concerned about the vaccine "scare stories" or "myths," take a look at my blog series on "vaccine myths." (2) Be sure that all adolescents and adults in your family get the Dtap (diptheria, tetanus, and acellular [purified] pertussis [whooping cough]) vaccine (even if…
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Low immunization rates linked to epidemic spread of whooping cough

Children's Health, Parenting
Barb, my wife, reported to me that friends who are expecting a baby very soon, have informed those who may be visiting or caring for the baby, including grandparents, be immunized against whooping cough (pertussis). Barb asked me, "Is that reasonable?" "Absolutely," I replied. I believe it is the parents' responsibility to provide a bubble of protection around their newborn. The hospital requires nurses and doctors who care for babies to have a variety of immunizations. And, it's past time for parents to do the same (for themselves and care providers). We doctors certainly do the same thing each flu season. Since babies cannot get the flu shot until they are 6 months old, the only protection they have is for their care givers to be immunized. The same with…
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Researchers say non-vaccinated children face dramatically increased whooping cough risk

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A new study reports, "Children who aren't vaccinated against whooping cough are 23 times more likely to develop the disease than children who get all of their shots on time." The study, "of 751 children enrolled in Kaiser Permanente of Colorado," revealed that "one in 20 children who skipped the vaccine developed whooping cough, compared with one in 500 vaccinated children.” More information: (more…)
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More on the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
A past blog, that has been very popular, was on the topic of the Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children (Friday, 6 February 2009). In response to that blog, Kelly wrote, "Hello, I was just wondering if you could answer a question for me. I run a day care out of my home. I was recently inquired about watching a girl who is 2 and has never been vaccinated or seen a doctor. I was wondering if this was any risk to myself or the other children in my day care? Thank you for your time." I thought you might be interested in my response to her. More Information: (more…)
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Doctors and Families Asked to “Just Say no to New Aborted Fetal Vaccine!”

Bioethics, Children's Health, Health Headlines, Parenting
LifeSiteNews.com is reporting that a pro-life group, Children of God for Life, is calling on the Medical Profession to "just say no" to the newly US licensed aborted fetal vaccine, Pentacel, made by Sanofi Pasteur. On June 26th the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the vaccine be added to the immunization schedule for children, despite the fact that moral alternatives have been used in the US for years. My Take? (more…)
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New Children’s Vaccine Means Fewer Shots

Children's Health, Health Headlines, Medical Economics, Parenting
WebMD is reporting the FDA approval of a new five-in-one vaccine. This is great news as it will mean fewer shots are needed to protect babies and toddlers from potentially dangerous or fatal infections. The vaccine is named Pentacel and it’s the first combination vaccine to protect children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) infections. Hib infections include meningitis and pneumonia. My Take? (more…)
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Dr. Walt’s Take on the Health Headlines – June 6, 2008

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Children's Health, General Health, Health Headlines, Medical Economics, Men's Health, Nutritional Health, Parenting, Woman's Health
Here are my takes on some of today's health headlines, including one that is, in my opinion, being blown way out of perspective: Mercury teeth fillings may harm some: FDA Silver-colored metal dental fillings contain mercury that may cause health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses, the Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday after settling a related lawsuit. (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #7: Vaccines Weaken the Immune System

Children's Health, Parenting
Natural infection with certain viruses can weaken the immune system. So when children are infected with one virus, they can’t fight off other viruses or bacteria as easily. This happens most notably during natural infection with chicken pox or measles. Children infected with chicken pox are susceptible to certain bacterial infections (MRSA or flesh-eating bacteria, for example). Children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections (resulting in sepsis) of the bloodstream. But vaccines are different. (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #4: Vaccines Are Unsafe

Children's Health, Parenting
Despite what is often falsely reported in the media and at many scaremongering web sites, all recommended vaccines are extraordinarily safe. When you consider that the 3.5 to 4 million children born every year in the United States receive more than twenty different vaccines to protect them from at least eleven different preventable diseases by the time they are six years old, and that some of these vaccines have existed for more than fifty years, I think you’ll agree that the record of vaccine safety in this country is remarkable. (more…)
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