Vaccination prevents disease- part 1

 

Prevention is a focus in healthcare now  and immunization has  been one of the most effective ways to prevent disease ever developed.

The list of diseases that are “vaccine preventable” is long and continues to grow.

Vaccine recommendations may be based on a person’s

  •  age,
  • gender,
  • ethnicity and
  • concurrent conditions, especially diabetes mellitus, chronic lung diseases, heart disease and  immune suppressing disorders.

Vaccine administration may vary by

  • the number of doses recommended,
  • how far apart the doses should be given, and
  • which vaccines can be administered at the same time.

 

Immunization protocols have  become so complex that even physicians have difficulty keeping it straight without the use of paper or digital checklists. This is one area where the Internet and EMRs (electronic medical records) can be useful.

Create an immunization schedule for your child from birth to 6 years of age

2016 recommended immunizations for children

2016 recommended immunizations for children (the 2017 schedule is available on the CDC website)

 

Vaccines for infections caused by bacteria

I use the name of the disease and/or the bacteria, rather than the vaccine name, since there are different brand names for the vaccines depending on the manufacturer.

So successful have these vaccines been that most young doctors have never seen a patient with these diseases (unless perhaps they specialize in infectious disease, immunology, emergency medicine or critical care). And even I, who graduated medical school in 1978, have only seen a few, and none in recent years.

Diphtheria-primarily a respiratory tract illness in young persons

Pertussis, better know as whooping cough, also a respiratory illness, which has made a comeback in recent years, apparently due to a waning of immunity

Tetanus, also called “lockjaw”– due to a toxin which may contaminate a dirty wound

Menigococcal disease, which is one of many causes of meningitis (inflammation of the brain lining), but one of the most deadly, even with treatment

Streptococcal pneumoniae disease; the vaccine is often referred to as the “pneumonia vaccine”, but the bacteria can also cause ear infections, sinusitis, meningitis and sepsis (bloodstream infection)

Haemophilus disease is similar to pneumococcal, but more of a concern in infants and children

 

Six Things YOU Need to Know about Vaccines

 

 

 Pneumococcal Vaccination from JAMA

infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae

 

 

 Pandemic- a book review

Infection is still a major health issue worldwide

and epidemics are still a threat. This book explains why.                 Pandemic by Sonia Shah

Vaccination prevents disease, part 2

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Should your family receive vaccinations?

 

Vaccine safety concerns

From parents to politicians everyone seems to have an opinion, much of which is not backed up by science.

Measles outbreaks in the United States highlight the ongoing controversy over to immunize or not to immunize. As a physician I do recommend immunization when indicated; as a person, I received vaccinations for many diseases for which I am at risk, and permitted my children to be vaccinated.

Remember that vaccination or immunization (which are in general terms synonymous) is a medical procedure and vaccines are drugs;  their use should be subject to the same scrutiny as any other drug or procedure.

Until recent years, immunization has been almost universal in the United States, so we forget that its use should be individualized. that is,

What contagious diseases is a person likely to be exposed to?

What are the risks versus benefits of any particular vaccine for that person?

What are the risks versus benefits to other people?

Until the recent decades most people were at risk for most infectious diseases, so we recommended vaccination for everyone, unless contraindicated (this means a medical reason not to do it)

 

Infectious disease control methods

The  developed countries  have eliminated or controlled many of the environmental sources of contagious disease by manipulating our environment.

  • indoor plumbing
  • water treatment facilities
  • screens on windows
  • air purification
  • wear gloves to prepare food
  • inspect restaurants
  • signs in many public restrooms reminding us to wash our hands.

Hand hygiene saves lives.

 

 

 

 

However, we have not eliminated another source of infectious disease- and that is other humans.

It is rare that we isolate or quarantine people with infections. Most of us will admit that we have gone to work, school or social events with symptoms suggestive of infection- a cough, runny nose, upset stomach- and by doing so put our friends and colleagues at risk.

 

Please review these excellent resources on vaccine use

A basic review of  Childhood vaccines  and Adult vaccines from UpToDate, a researched, non- commercial medical publication for doctors and patients

The Science Behind Vaccination from The New York Times

 7 things about vaccines from The Washington Post

Reconsidering vaccination a blog post review of the book The Vaccine Friendly Plan

Voices for Vaccines – a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.

 

Thanks for reading and sharing this important information about the HEART of health. Please explore more information on this blog.

Dr.  Aletha