Why Should I Vaccinate My Child?

Vaccines

Why Should I Vaccinate My Child? ABC News Chief Health/Medical Editor Dr. Richard Bessner sought to answer that very question and better define the phenomenon of “vaccine hesitancy” during a TweetChat on #vaccinehestitancy hosted yesterday afternoon (April 15, 2014).

Numerous concerned parents, healthcare professionals, and immunization organizations used this chat to share information and resources about children’s health and about the importance of vaccination, per the CDC’s immunization schedule. Indeed, every parent feels a duty to research his or her child’s health, but it is crucial to do so using quality sources with research based in fact. Some of those reputable resources that were shared during the chat include:

Any parent wants to do everything possible to make sure his or her children stay as healthy as possible. For that reason, most parents choose immunization, as nothing has been scientifically proven to protect babies better from 14 serious childhood diseases. However, even with the mountain of evidence in support of vaccination, some parents still hesitate when it is time to vaccinate a child, be it due to concerns over preservatives, other components of vaccines, or worries about giving a child too many shots in one medical visit.

If you are a parent hesitating over vaccination, know the facts. Begin with the resources above and make an informed decision. After you do, we hope you will come to the same conclusion the CDC noted during the chat, “Delaying or skipping vaccines can leave a child vulnerable to disease that could have been prevented.”

Don’t Hesitate on Vaccines!

Vaccine Vials

What is vaccine hesitation?

This new term has been coined to describe parents who hesitate to give their children routine vaccinations on the recommended schedule, or they choose to not give their children vaccines at all.

Why the hesitation? Here are a few reasons parents choose to not vaccinate their children:

  • Vaccines have been incredibly successful. Due to high vaccination rates, many formerly debilitating, painful, infectious diseases have been largely eliminated in the developed world. Polio, measles, mumps, and rubella simply do not take the toll they once did, so parents may be lulled into a false sense of security.
  • The anti-vaccination movement has spread false assumption about vaccines. A shocking large number of parents refuse vaccines for their children during doctors’ visits under false assumptions that children should not receive multiple vaccines during a single visit or that the child’s immune system could become “overloaded,” an assertion that has no grounding whatsoever in scientific fact. Some parents even choose to arbitrarily space out vaccines longer than recommended by the vaccination schedule. Unfortunately, doing so puts children at risk and does not allow optimal immunity to develop.

What are the results of vaccine hesitation?

  • Unnecessary suffering. Measles causes high fever, cough, rash, and painful feelings in the eyes. Whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms and progresses into coughing fits that can last for weeks. All of this unpleasantness is completely preventable, however, via immunization.
  • Unnecessary risk to your community. There are medical conditions that may preclude vaccination for some members of your community. Young infants may not be old enough to be scheduled for vaccination, and people undergoing chemotherapy or with a compromised immune system may not be able to be vaccinated. All it takes is exposure to a single infectious child for the health of these vulnerable community members to be devastatingly compromised.

Don’t hesitate. Do your part to protect your child and you community. Make sure for family is fully up to date on all their recommended, routine vaccinations.

New Study Supports the Importance of the MMR Vaccine

Infant getting Vaccinated

The MMR Vaccine: Can it Prevent Other Infections?

New research has revealed that children who receive an on-schedule measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination are less likely to be infected with other illnesses. In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that the half a million Danish children they studied were less likely to be admitted to hospitals for respiratory infections or other general illnesses if they were vaccinated properly and received the regular scheduled vaccinations, including MMR. In addition to its protection against mumps, measles, and rubella, the study seems that the MMR vaccine may have a positive effect on a person’s immune system, enabling them to fight off these general infections, including those of the lower respiratory tract, which often require longer hospitalization periods.

However, there are still misconceptions about the effects of the MMR vaccine on children. This is due to a combination of misinformation and personal beliefs, even when studies such as these continue to highlight the importance of receiving the MMR vaccine on time.

What is the MMR Vaccine? Should I Get One?

The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella. The shot contains weakened, live versions of these viruses in order to promote immunity from them in the patient. Most children receive their first MMR vaccination between the ages of 12 and 15 months. A booster dose is administered between the ages of 4 to 6 years old. The child should ideally receive both doses before they start to attend school.

In the past, these diseases were responsible for a large number of infant, toddler and child deaths. For a good part of the 20th century, mumps, measles and rubella were under control thanks to dedicated vaccination efforts. Measles were even considered to be eradicated in the West. In recent years, misinformation about the MMR vaccine has made many parents decide against immunization for their children. These decisions have unfortunately resulted in a resurgence of diseases such as measles, pertussis, mumps and rubella.

If you were born after 1956 and you have not received an MMR immunization at any point in your life, then you should strongly consider visiting a health specialist for a consultation. He or she will talk to you about your medical history as well as the current state of your health. If you are traveling abroad in the near future, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment with a travel health specialist for a consultation and to receive a booster MMR vaccine. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant in the near future should not get the vaccine. People who are immuno-compromised are also discouraged from getting an MMR vaccination.

The MMR Vaccine: a Path to Lifelong Health

This exciting new research can be a great opportunity for specialists who want to help educate the public about the importance of vaccination. As the debate over vaccination continues, officials can hope that this study helps sway people toward getting themselves and their children immunized against these terrible diseases. Vaccination is one of the easiest ways to guarantee long-term health for children and adults alike.

Sources
Fox News Article on MMR Study
CDC Information Page on MMR Vaccine
Medline Plus Page on MMR Vaccine
USA Today Article on Rise in Measles Cases

Still No Link Found Between Vaccines & Autism

Vaccines do not cause Autism

We truly appreciate the countless hours leading scientists have put into understanding the root causes of Autism. April 2, 2014, was World Autism Awareness Day, a day when research, advocacy, and policy organizations promote awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder and autism, a complex group of disorders of brain development. Science is clear that there is no single cause of autism, just as there is not just one type of autism.

Indeed, most scientists concur that it is a variety of genetic and environmental factors that lead to the onset of this condition. As a result of the lack of clarity, many untruths have entered into the discussion about the causes of autism, and one of the chief untruths is that autism is caused by vaccines.

However, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, a scientist, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, and father of an autistic child, “there is no scenario where it is even remotely possible vaccines could cause autism.”

What is this assertion based on? A recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that the brains of children with autism have distinct disorganization in their cortical tissue. The organization of the cortex begins in the second trimester of pregnancy. Thus, the events that result in the malformation of this brain region must begin before or during the second trimester, well before the child even has the possibility of receiving a vaccine.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of parents decline to vaccinate their children due to misinformation and unwarranted fears about vaccine side effects. The result? Preventable illness — which takes a completely unnecessary physical and emotional toll on the sick child as well an equally unneeded economic toll on the healthcare system.

We honor the tremendous efforts of scientists to uncover the causes of this debilitating condition, and we honor the efforts of loving parents who care for these special needs children.

Traveling to Brazil for the World Cup? Follow These Top 6 Tips!

World Cup Brazil

 

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is an exciting month-long event and the trip of a lifetime for soccer fans. If you’re itching to get to the festivities and see your favorite players, you’ll want to ensure that you’ll be healthy during and after your trip. These top six tips will prepare you for optimal health, so you can fully enjoy yourself during your visit to Brazil.

The World Cup

Every four years, the FIFA World Cup is held in a major international city. Teams from around the world compete for the winning title. The 2014 FIFA World Cup will take place over 12 cities throughout Brazil and will certainly draw millions of fans from around the world.

Protect Yourself Before Your Trip

Before departing on your trip, taking steps to protect yourself can prevent you from experiencing a wide variety of illnesses. Learn how to say a few phrases in Portuguese that are health-related, such as “I feel sick,” or “I need a doctor.” When packing for your trip, be sure to bring a personal travel health kit stocked with first aid supplies, anti-diarrheal medicine, sunscreen and mosquito repellent. Bring the contact information for your travel health clinic and physician. You should also:
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Passport Health Attends the Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference

Passport Health Attends the Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference
Kara and David of Passport Health at the Conference in Long Beach, California.

 

From March 16th-19th, 2014, Passport Health joined over 900 other attendees from all corners of the globe at the Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Long Beach, California. This truly international audience included Oil and Gas industry representatives from Norway, Brazil, Thailand, the UK, and France, among many other countries with whom Passport Health was pleased to have had the opportunity to share our travel medicine expertise. Other exhibitors included United Healthcare International, Remote Medical, IBM, Schlumberger, and Halliburton.

Passport Health Attends the Society of Petroleum Engineers Conference

Passport Health found the conference to be extremely useful in that not only were we able to educate many people on the importance of travel medicine, but we were also able to discuss our ever growing list of services. Indeed, Passport Health does not only provide travel vaccines and destination advice via our nationwide network of travel clinics, but we also have the ability to provide Oil and Gas Industry-specific (OGUK) physical examinations, in select markets. We were happy to share this expertise and connect with representatives from industry leading companies such as Shell and Schlumberger.

Passport Health looks forward to attending this biennial event again in the future and continuing to make new contacts and shore up existing relationships in the Oil and Gas Industry.

Passport Health Expands into Canada

Passport Health Expands Services into Canada
Toronto’s Skyline

 

First Travel Medicine Clinic Opens in Toronto

Passport Health has long been recognized as the largest and leading provider of travel medicine and vaccination services in the United States with an ever growing footprint in the specialty examinations and wellness space. Our 230+ domestic clinics see over 95,000 individual travelers and corporate clients each month, and our highly trained clinical staff thoroughly educates each and every person who passes through our clinic doors. Passport Health is now pleased to take our vaccination expertise international, with the opening of our company’s first travel medicine clinic outside of the USA in Toronto, Canada.

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Nature Based Tourism: A Beneficial Component of Health Programs

Nature Based Tourism

What is Nature-Based Tourism?

Many people prefer to spend their vacations in foreign resorts, but others may choose to go a bit wild on their holidays. Nature-based tourism involves physical activity in a natural setting. These travelers may engage in hiking, boating or kayaking, fishing, birdwatching and more. They might explore jungles, savannahs or the open seas. The enjoyment of natural spaces can help us relax, unwind and forget about the pressures of everyday modern life. In addition, meeting physical and mental challenges in a new environment can be a great workout for both the mind and the body. Not only is nature-based tourism quite fun, it may be extremely beneficial for the health of older travelers.

What are the Benefits of Nature-Based Tourism?

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How Can Injection Anxiety Impact Travelers?

Happy Travelers

Injection Anxiety: Does it Affect Recall Abilities in Travelers?

Many of us remember being frightened of needles and injections when we were young. Although most people outgrow this fear or learn to live with the slight anxiety that may be triggered, others develop a very real phobia of needles. They may shake, sweat or even pass out. People with a fear of injections may try to avoid them whenever possible, even when doing so is detrimental to their health.

A new study published in the Journal of Travel Medicine has suggested that injection anxiety and/or needle phobia can actually have a negative impact on the recipient’s ability to recall important health information that is verbally communicated to them at the time of the vaccination. This study used the responses of 105 participants in order to test their ability to remember what was told to them during a vaccination at a travel health clinic. Participants completed a questionnaire before and after the procedure and the information was compiled and analyzed.

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World TB Day is March 24

World Tuberculosis Day

What is World TB Day?

Today, March 24th, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National TB Controllers Association, Stop TB USA and the Stop TB Partnership commemorate World TB Day. The day is a chance to reflect on the progress made in fighting tuberculosis worldwide as well as the challenges that public health officials still face today.

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is airborne and spread through the breathing, coughing, speaking and sneezing of infected persons. It can affect the lungs, kidneys and spine. It’s caused by several strains of bacteria, but the most common is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Active TB infections are characterized by coughing up blood, sweating at night, fever and weight loss. Left untreated, the disease can quickly progress and lead to death. In 2010, 1.1 million people died of tuberculosis, and another 8.8 million cases were reported. TB also negatively affects people who are immuno-compromised due to conditions like HIV/AIDS.

Antibiotics like rifampicin and isoniazid are often used in the treatment of tuberculosis, but they take considerable time to clear the infection from a patient’s body. In addition, antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis is on the rise, which is a source of great worry for public health officials.

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