Alternative Medicine and Children – Part 6 – Vaccination and Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, Infectious Disease, Parenting
The anti-vaccination movement has no better friends than in the alternative medicine world. In the Massachusetts study mentioned in my last blog, less than one-third of the homeopaths recommended immunization, and almost 10 percent actively opposed immunization. In England, the most common reason given for not having children immunized is the recommendation parents receive from a homeopath. (more…)
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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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New Practice Guideline Takes Aim at Pain of Childhood Immunizations

Children's Health, Parenting
Pain surrounding childhood immunizations can have long-term consequences, including preprocedural anxiety and needle fears in both the child and parent. Worse yet, these consequences can lead to avoiding immunizations altogether. As a result, Dr. Anna Taddio, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the "Help Eliminate Pain in Kids" panel (the HELPinKIDS panel), an interdisciplinary panel of experts from Canada, have developed an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for reducing pain associated with childhood immunizations. The panel believes that minimizing pain during childhood vaccination is important to help prevent these issues and there's a need for clear guidance to address this "important public health issue." So, they have published a summary of their guidelines in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Here are the details from Reuters Health: The HELPinKIDS…
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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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Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of Illness

Children's Health, Parenting
Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism Misinformation About Vaccine Safety Puts Kids at Risk of IllnessAbout one-third of U.S. parents surveyed had delayed or refused early childhood immunizations. As I've told you in previous blogs, this is a decision that can potentially harm your child and his or her friends. Here's a report from HealthFinder that confirms my beliefs: Physicians report that children who don't receive recommended vaccine doses by the time they're 2 years old are at risk of developing a variety of diseases. But some anti-vaccine activists contend that the shots can cause side effects, including autism, although health officials say repeated studies have failed to uncover such a link. For this study, researchers analyzed the results of a 2008 national survey of parents and health-care providers and…
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Survey Shows Parents Still Worry Unnecessarily About Vaccines

Children's Health, Parenting
Most parents believe vaccination is a good way to protect their children from potentially deadly diseases, but a study shows more than half still worry about the possibility of vaccine side effects. The study concludes: Although parents overwhelmingly share the belief that vaccines are a good way to protect their children from disease, these same parents express concerns regarding the potential adverse effects and especially seem to question the safety of newer vaccines. Although information is available to address many vaccine safety concerns, such information is not reaching many parents in an effective or convincing manner. Here's an article on the survey from WebMD: The study shows 88% of parents follow the child immunization schedule recommended by their doctor, but 54% are concerned about serious vaccine side effects. Researcher Gary…
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Vaccine Myth #2: Vaccines Don’t Work

Children's Health
This is the second entry in a series from my book God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Child. Probably the best recent example of the positive impact of vaccines is the Hib vaccine, which prevents meningitis, ear infections, and other serious infections caused by the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). When the current Hib vaccine was introduced to this country in 1990, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis. For decades, Hib had caused approximately 15,000 cases of meningitis and 400 to 500 deaths every year. After the current Hib vaccine was introduced, the incidence of Hib meningitis declined to fewer than fifty cases per year—typical of all widely used vaccines. (more…)
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The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 1 – Primary Care

General Health, Men's Health, Woman's Health
The Ten Commandments of Preventive Medicine – Part 1 – Primary Care In my newest book, 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People, I teach people how to utilize these ten essentials that are necessary to live a happy and highly healthy life. Under The Essential of Self-Care, I’ve developed a list of what I call “The 10 Commandments of Preventive Medicine." Here’s the first of what will be a ten-part series. (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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News Flash: Experimental Ebola Vaccine Used On Human – this actual headline is part of the story line for Dr. Walt’s first novel

Bioethics, International Health
It was a nightmare scenario: A scientist accidentally pricked her finger with a needle used to inject the deadly Ebola virus into lab mice. Within hours, members of a tightly bound, yet Atlantic telephone conference trying to map out a way to save her life. Less than 24 hours later, an experimental vaccine – never before tried on humans -- was on its way to Germany from a lab in Canada. And within 48 hours of the March 12 accident, the at-risk scientist, a 45-year-old woman whose identity has not been revealed, was injected with the vaccine.  More Information: (more…)
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ABCs of Childhood Vaccine Safety

Alternative Medicine, Bioethics, Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
My blog, “Radio Listeners ‘Angry as Hornets’ About Dr. Walt’s Comments on Childhood Vaccination”  raised howls of protest from blog constituents. Many of those who wrote comments simply do not understand how safe and effective vaccines are. They don't seem to understand how vaccines are tested and then how throughly they are followed once licensed. If you're interested in the truth about vaccine safety, and not the spin, read on. With this information you'll not only share my (and virtually the entire medical world's) about the safety of vaccines, but you'll be able to help others who have been, unfortunately, indoctrinated (and, in some cases, brainwashed) by the fringe and fanatical antivaccine crazies. Read More: (more…)
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Risks of Not Vaccinating Your Children

Alternative Medicine, Children's Health, General Health, Parenting
From 1958 to 1962, over a half a million cases of measles are reported each year. 432 measles-related deaths occur on average each year. But in 1963, the measles vaccine was licensed. By 2000, only 81 cases of measles are reported in all of the U.S.! And, most of those in the children of parents who chose not to immunize their kids. In fact, it has just been announced that measles cases in England and Wales have risen by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children. More Information: (more…)
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Vaccines: Separating fact from fiction

Children's Health, Parenting
When it comes to the arguments about the safety of vaccines, what's a worried mom to do? Between the scary claims about shots themselves and the scary news about what can happen without them, you might feel like you need a Ph.D. in immunology, toxicology, and biostatistics to make sense of it all. Never fear, Dr. Walt is here. The bottom line: No medical intervention is 100 percent risk-free, and no one but you can choose what's right for your child. My job is to help that decision come a little easier, so here goes: More Information: (more…)
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Vaccine Myth #8: A Preservative Contained in Many Vaccines Harms Children

Children's Health, Parenting
In 1999, a study revealed that the preservative thimerosal, a mercury-containing compound present in many vaccines, caused several infants to have levels of mercury in their blood that exceeded guidelines recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Preservatives are used in vaccines to reduce the risk of contamination by bacteria once the vial is opened. Exposure to high levels of mercury, especially in the developing child before birth, is associated with neurological disturbances. Therefore, parents began to fear that thimerosal may cause neurological difficulties, like autism. When this study was first described, physicians, scientists, and public health officials quickly assessed the situation and found that: (more…)
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Should Parents Refuse Abortion-Based Vaccines?

Bioethics, Children's Health, Parenting
There’s a news story out this week about a Coast Guard officer who was told that he must take a vaccine that was derived based on tissue from an unborn child that had been aborted.  The officer refused the vaccine based upon his religious beliefs that abortion is wrong. After a lawsuit was filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, the Coast Guard decided to allow a religious exemption. "Members of our military should never have to choose between honoring their country and honoring their faith," argued ADF attorneys in the case of Coast Guard officer Joseph Healy. I agree with my friend, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, who said, "We applaud the military for recognizing that Healy is deserving of the same freedoms that he has spent…
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Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism

Children's Health
Tuesday, in my weekly interview with Mark Elfstrand on WMBI in Chicago, a woman called to inquire about the risk of autism from vaccinations. It reminded me of a chapter from my book, God's Design for the Highly Healthy Child, in which I discuss a number of myths about vaccinations. This week, I'll start a multipart series on a dozen or more of these common myths and misperceptions. (more…)
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