Vital questions you should ask about immunization

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing and other hygiene measures as we wait for a safe, effective vaccine and treatments.

The sickness and deaths COVID-19 has caused makes immunization more important than ever. While social distancing, hand hygiene, and a clean environment are vital, a safe and effective vaccine will bolster those measures. Around the world, scientists are working on a vaccine for this novel coronavirus.

Fewer and fewer people have had experience with serious infectious diseases like measles, rubella, polio, and diphtheria, so maybe that explains why in recent years immunization rates for many diseases have plummeted. Also due to misinformation about the value and risk of immunization, some people lost confidence in vaccines to protect us against disease without causing significant side effects or adverse events.

As a result, we still have outbreaks of measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and seasonal influenza disease and deaths. The threat of a new virulent disease due to a novel coronavirus highlights the value of immunization.

immunizations by age

On the first two charts, vaccines are listed on the far left column. On the top row, find your age, then scroll down to find the vaccines appropriate for you.

RECOMMENDED ADULT IMMUNIZATIONS 2020
RECOMMENDED CHILD AND ADOLESCENT IMMUNIZATIONS 2020

questions to ask about vaccines and the immunization process include.

  • What contagious diseases am I likely to be exposed to or at risk for?
  • What are the risks of those diseases?
  • What are the risks of a particular vaccine for me?
  • What are the risks versus benefits of immunization?
  • What else can we do to prevent an infection?

vaccines by medical condition

On these charts vaccines are also listed on the far left column. Across the top row are various medial conditions that should be considered along with age in recommending a particular vaccine. It’s just as important to know what vaccines you should not receive as those that you should.

2020 vaccination recommendations from the CDC

Please visit the CDC website for complete details about the various vaccines and discuss your need for immunizations with your and your children’s physicians.

“Am I contagious?”

Most of us have gone to work, school or social events with symptoms suggestive of infection- a cough, runny nose, upset stomach- putting our friends and colleagues at risk. Isolation of sick people and quarantine of their contacts slows the spread of infectious disease and is helping to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even before COVID-19, patients visit me with new onset symptoms, or symptoms that have been present several days, and ask “am I contagious?” Most of the time I can’t tell them definitely whether they are or not. When in doubt, it’s best to not expose other people unnecessarily, especially those who are most susceptible.

This coronavirus pandemic is serious. We don’t yet have a vaccine or effective treatments. To protect ourselves, our familes, and our entire communities we should all be practicing social distancing and other hygiene measures as we wait for a safe, effective vaccine and treatments.

RESOURCES FOR understanding COVID-19

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

Tips from your Family Doctor

CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019

exploring and sharing the HEART of health

Thanks for reading and sharing this important information about protecting the HEART of health.

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dr.  Aletha 

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What doctors want you to know about COVID-19

it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

In this post I’m sharing some of what I’ve been reading about the COVID-19 epidemic. These experienced, knowledgeable, compassionate physicians share insights to help colleagues as well as patients. I thank them for taking the time to share in the midst of this crisis.

a perspective from China

Since 2016, Laura Jordhen, M.D. has been practicing in Shanghai’s United Family Xincheng Hospital and was chair of infection control for the hospital before becoming chief of its family medicine department in December. In an interview for the AAFP she said,

“(In China now) Things are slowly getting back to normal. Our ear, nose and throat clinic is reopening. Dental is reopening. The number of new confirmed cases is low.

People in Wuhan are still basically isolated in their homes, but throughout the rest of China schools are starting to open up. With still a few cases reported every several days in Shanghai, schools have still not reopened. It’s still very strict social isolation.

Massage, hair cut — any kind of business that involved physical contact or having people close together — was shut down around Chinese New Year, which started Jan 25.”

Read more of Dr. Jordhen’s insights on China’s handling of COVID-19 at

U.S. FP Shares COVID-19 Insights From Practice in China

an electron microscope image of the coronavirus
used with permission, CDC.GOV

from the National Institutes of Health

On the NIH Director’s blog, Dr. Francis Collins explains social distancing.

“What exactly does social distancing mean?

Well, for starters, it is recommended that people stay at home as much as possible, going out only for critical needs like groceries and medicines, or to exercise and enjoy the outdoors in wide open spaces.

Other recommendations include avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, no handshakes, regular handwashing, and, when encountering someone outside of your immediate household, trying to remain at least 6 feet apart.

These may sound like extreme measures. But the new study by NIH-funded researchers, published in the journal Science, documents why social distancing may be our best hope to slow the spread of COVID-19. ” Read more at

To Beat COVID-19, Social Distancing is a Must

Practice Social Distancing.
provided as a service from the University of Oklahoma Medical Center

In A nine-step plan to deal with COVID-19 stress, psychiatrist Dr. Gerard Clancy offers this advice.

“7. Can-do list. Under the current guidelines there are many things we can’t do. With activities out in the community curtailed, this can leave down time. This has allowed us to create a list of what we can do.

This has included reading books, reorganizing the house and watching classic and new movies. It has also included my own version of Master Chef, where I need to cook dinner with what we have left in the pantry. It has been a challenge but also fun.”

Family of 4 sitting at a dining table.
I’ve heard some families say this is allowing them to eat dinner together more than usual.

Why Doctors and Nurses are Anxious and Angry

“Every single day for the past six months, I have recommended the flu shot for my patients, and every day a good chunk decline. When I ask why, most can’t articulate an answer. They offer only an inchoate distaste for vaccines, fomented by the oddly contagious anti-vaccine movement.

I remind them that their grandparents would have given their eyeteeth for the vaccines they blithely shrug off. I point out the entirely unnecessary resurgence of measles resulting from a falloff in vaccination rates.”

Dr. Danielle Ofri, a doctor at Bellevue Hospital and a clinical professor of medicine at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, is the author of “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” and the forthcoming “When We Do Harm: A Doctor Confronts Medical Error.

Review your family’s vaccination status at this previous post about vaccine preventable diseases.

exploring the HEART of COVID-19

I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences dealing with the challenges this disease outbreak brings into your life. What have you found helps you to survive and thrive though this? How will this change your life, good or bad? Share here or find me on social media.

I would love for you to start following Watercress Words : use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

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CDC-Coronavirus Disease 2019