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Anti-Vaxxers More Likely To Vent On Twitter

Posted 9 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 9, 2017 – American parents who oppose childhood vaccines often take to Twitter to vent, share and seek reinforcement for the widely disproven notion that these shots can trigger autism, new research shows. But the phenomenon is unevenly spread, the researchers noted, with states such as California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania leading the pack when it comes to the highest prevalence of Twitter-based vaccine-bashing. The findings stem from the sifting of roughly 550,000 tweets posted between 2009 and 2015. All of the tweets contained at least one reference to both autism and vaccines, and about half were found to express anti-vaccine sentiments. "Unfortunately, these results were not terribly unexpected," said study author Theodore Tomeny. Why? Tomeny suggested "that sites primarily based on user-generated information, like Twitter, may be popular ... Read more

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Hundreds Hospitalized in San Diego as Hepatitis A Outbreak Spreads

Posted 6 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 6, 2017 – An outbreak of hepatitis A among drug users and the homeless in San Diego continues to spread, public health experts report. To date, 481 cases have been reported, 337 people have been hospitalized and 17 have died, according to Dr. Eric McDonald. He is from the epidemiology and immunization services branch of the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Cases of the viral liver disease are also now being reported in Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties, where 70 and 12 people have been diagnosed, respectively, the Los Angeles Times reported. The first signs of the outbreak surfaced almost a year ago. "From November 2016 to February 2017, between seven and nine cases would have been expected, yet 19 cases were reported," McDonald said during a media briefing Thursday. What triggered this outbreak remains unknown and will most likely never be identified, ... Read more

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Harvey's Floodwaters Harbor Many Health Hazards

Posted 30 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2017 – Texans trapped in the unprecedented flooding wrought by Hurricane Harvey now face untold health hazards, officials say. The filthy water that has inundated the city of Houston poses the most immediate danger, said Cleveland Clinic infectious disease expert Dr. Frank Esper. "Those floodwaters are being contaminated with sewage, because the sewers themselves are completely flooded and are backing up through the drains into the standing bodies of water that are around and in people's homes," Esper said. "Every time a person is wading across the street to get from one place to another, or down the road to get to higher ground, they are encountering much, much higher loads of bacteria." But beyond that short-term threat, other hazards and medical problems will crop up due to the lack of modern amenities in Harvey's aftermath, experts said. Dr. Bruce Farber is ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Family Members, Friends Spur Many Moms to Delay Baby's Shots

Posted 18 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 18, 2017 – If a pregnant woman hears anti-vaccine messages from family or friends about childhood immunizations, she's much more likely to delay her baby's shots, new research shows. And that's true even if she hears positive messages after the discouraging ones, the New Zealand investigators found. "Pregnancy is an important time for educating about infant immunization," said study co-author Dr. Cameron Grant, head of the department of pediatrics, child and youth health at the University of Auckland. "This very important aspect of medical education should not be left until after the child is born. Health professionals caring for pregnant women have a very important role to play in determining the immunization intentions of these future parents, and in promoting infant immunization," he said. The study included information from more than 6,000 pregnant women in New ... Read more

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Don't Skip Veggies in Winter

Posted 21 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 20, 2017 – Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't eat fresh, healthy foods. There are five types of foods you should try to consume during the winter months, according to health experts at the Cleveland Clinic who offer these suggestions: While it can be hard to find local produce during the winter, root vegetables such as beets, carrots and turnips can withstand the cold and are available. Roast carrots to get a dose of beta-carotene, or boil turnips for vitamins A and C. Oatmeal provides nutrients that are essential during winter. It's high in zinc (important for your immune system) and soluble fiber, which is associated with heart health. Instant oatmeal is more convenient but also more expensive. If you're on a budget, choose old-fashioned oats. Soup is another good food choice in winter, but hold the cream, salt and beef. Try soup recipes that call for ... Read more

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8 Ways to Help Kids Dodge Germs

Posted 9 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8, 2017 – There are a number of ways parents can help give a boost to their child's immune system, a family doctor suggests. "The immune system helps us fight infections," said Dr. Palak Shroff, a family medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "Immunity develops over time, so the more someone gets exposed, the more the immune system develops," Shroff explained in a center news release. "Kids' whole environment is new, but over time, their immunity will develop and get better," she added. Shroff suggested eight keys to helping children minimize their risk of catching every cold and virus that comes their way: Breast-feeding is the first step. It is an important way to help your child develop a strong immune system. "During breast-feeding, the mother's immunity transfers to the child," Shroff said. Vaccination is another crucial factor. ... Read more

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Genital Herpes Vaccine Shows Promise in Animal Trials

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – A new vaccine for genital herpes could be nearing human clinical trials, researchers say. The vaccine has proven effective in animals against herpes simplex virus 2, the sexually transmitted virus that causes genital herpes, according to a new report. The new "trivalent" vaccine targets three different parts of the virus, shutting down its ability to enter cells and to evade detection by the immune system, said senior researcher Dr. Harvey Friedman. He's a professor with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's Institute for Immunology. In lab studies, the vaccine proved 98 percent effective in protecting guinea pigs against genital herpes infection, Friedman and his colleagues reported. The vaccine also promoted an immune response in monkeys, increasing the levels of antibodies targeting the virus, the study authors said. The vaccine's developers ... Read more

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Medical Experts Alarmed at Trump's Reported Support of Vaccine Skeptic

Posted 11 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 – The U.S. medical community is responding with reactions ranging from apprehension to dismay at reports that President-elect Donald Trump reportedly asked a renowned vaccine skeptic to head a new commission on vaccine safety. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has written articles and books claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism, said Tuesday that Trump had offered him the post during a meeting earlier that day. A Trump spokeswoman threw some doubt on Kennedy's assertion, however, stating hours later that while the president-elect is interested in a commission on autism, no final decision has been made. Nonetheless, a host of medical societies, autism advocacy groups and individual physicians immediately denounced the potential development, which they said would shake the public's faith in a practice that regularly protects millions of people from ... Read more

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Health Tip: Getting Your Child Vaccinated

Posted 22 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

-- Vaccinations are a necessary part of keeping your child healthy, but the pain and fear may be difficult to endure. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests: Talk to the pediatrician about ways to manage your child's pain. Distract a young child during the shot by singing a song, blowing bubbles or playing a game. Act the doctor about using a numbing spray or cream. Breast-feed or offer a pacifier to babies during vaccination. Stay calm and reassure your child that everything is OK. Read more

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Drones Could Deliver Vaccines in Developing Countries

Posted 25 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24, 2016 – Right now, people often associate the use of drones with warfare. But in the future they could serve humanitarian purposes, such as delivering aid to people in developing countries. For example, the pilotless flying machines might offer a cheaper and better way to deliver vaccines. And that could potentially boost vaccination rates in areas that can be difficult to reach now, a new study suggests. Using a computer model, researchers concluded that sending drones to deliver vaccines in low- and middle-income countries would be cheaper and quicker than by land-based vehicles. Cars and trucks are limited by road conditions and have high fuel and maintenance costs, the researchers said. "Many low- and middle-income countries are struggling to get lifesaving vaccines to people to keep them from getting sick or dying from preventable diseases," said senior study ... Read more

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Childhood Vaccinations Rarely Spur Seizures, Study Finds

Posted 6 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 6, 2016 – Certain vaccines can trigger fever-related seizures in young children, but the risk is so low that pediatricians might see one case every five to 10 years, a new study estimates. It has long been known that some vaccines carry a small seizure risk. But the researchers said the new report offers some hard numbers. And it suggests that even when babies and toddlers get three vaccines at once, they only develop fever-related seizures at a rate of 30 per 100,000 – at most. The findings should be "reassuring" to parents, said lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Duffy, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Looking at the big picture, the benefits of vaccination are much greater than the risk of febrile [fever-related] seizures," Duffy said. Up to 5 percent of young children will have a fever-related seizure at some point, according to the CDC. It usually ... Read more

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Most First-Time Moms Plan to Follow Vaccine Schedule

Posted 20 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Nov. 20, 2015 – Three-quarters of first-time expectant mothers plan to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children, a new study finds. But the survey of 200 American women pregnant with their first child also found that 10.5 percent planned to spread out the recommended vaccination schedule, 4 percent planned to have their child receive some but not all of the recommended vaccines, and 10.5 percent were still undecided in their second trimester of pregnancy. First-time mothers who weren't planning on following the recommended vaccination schedule said they got most of their information about childhood vaccines from online sources or family and friends. This shows the need to find ways to provide these women with information from pediatricians and family doctors, according to study co-author Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication ... Read more

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California Vaccine Refusers Cluster in Rich, White Areas

Posted 12 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 12, 2015 – California's anti-vaccine sentiment tends to concentrate in wealthier, largely white areas of the state – a pattern that has left certain communities with childhood vaccination rates as low as 50 percent, a new study finds. The study, published online Nov. 12 in the American Journal of Public Health, is the latest to delve into the issue of personal belief exemptions for vaccines. Right now, 20 U.S. states permit the exemptions, which allow parents to opt out of routine childhood vaccinations based on philosophical objections. California is technically still one of those states, but a law passed earlier this year will end personal belief exemptions in that state in July 2016, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The new law came largely in response to this year's measles outbreak, which sickened 189 people in 24 U.S. states and ... Read more

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Vaccines Rarely Cause Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions: CDC

Posted 15 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Oct. 15, 2015 – A U.S. government study has reassuring news for concerned parents – vaccines rarely trigger serious and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Just 33 people had a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction – also known as anaphylaxis – out of 25 million vaccines given, according to research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's 1.3 people in every million who gets a vaccine. "Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect infants, children and teens from 16 potentially harmful diseases. This is a good time to remind parents that vaccines are safe and effective – the odds of having an anaphylaxis-related reaction following the administration of a vaccine are very slim," said study author Dr. Michael McNeil, of the CDC. For the study, the researchers reviewed records from more than 17 million visits and more ... Read more

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Many Americans Traveling Abroad Lack Key Vaccinations: Study

Posted 9 Oct 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Oct. 9, 2015 – Many Americans traveling overseas are not immunized against highly contagious diseases, new research shows. Outbreaks of certain infections – such as measles and hepatitis A – could be prevented if more U.S. travelers got the recommended vaccinations, the study authors said. "Americans planning international travel should see their health care providers or visit a travel clinic four to six weeks before the trip, to learn what vaccines are recommended before heading to their destinations," said study author Dr. Emily Hyle. She is an instructor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "Many travelers don't realize their risk of exposure to infections, and that many can be avoided with vaccination," Hyle explained in a news release from Infectious Diseases Week, the annual meeting of specialists in infectious illness. The study ... Read more

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