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Tips for Avoiding Back-to-School Germs, Illnesses

Posted 23 Sep 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2016 – Kids and germs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. But, there are ways that parents can help protect their kids from the usual barrage of back-to-school illnesses, a health expert says. Make sure children get plenty of sleep and eat a well balanced diet, advises Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar. She's a registered nurse and an assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing. Most kids need at least nine hours of sleep each night, Stout-Aguilar said. It's also a good idea to make sure children get enough vitamin C to boost their immune system, she added. Parents should also teach their children how to contain germs and keep their hands clean. Show kids how to cover their coughs and sneezes with the inside of their elbow or a tissue, Stout-Aguilar said. She said kids must also be taught how to wash their hands properly. "It is important to wash your ... 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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Despite Pockets of Resistance, Most U.S. Kids Getting Vaccinated

Posted 27 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Aug. 27, 2015 – More than nine out of 10 U.S. children entered kindergarten last school year protected with the proper immunizations, federal health officials reported Thursday. But, vaccination rates continue to lag in a number of states – a worrisome finding, especially in light of the recent measles outbreak, officials said. Average vaccination coverage for new kindergarteners was 94 percent for the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine. It also was 94 percent for the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis vaccine in the 49 reporting states and the District of Columbia for the 2014-15 school year, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found. About 94 percent of kindergarteners also received the two-dose vaccine for chickenpox in the 39 states where it is required, the findings showed. "Overall, the news is gratifying. Though they may not always get the ... Read more

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Start of School Year Calls for Vaccine Check

Posted 21 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 21, 2015 – With the start of a new school year, many parents are searching for vaccination records and hoping they're current, but what does "up-to-date" look like these days? That depends on whether it's what the school requires or what pediatric experts recommend. "Not all vaccines that we recommend on the schedule are required by schools," said Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital. "But schools help us keep up-to-date and have an annual assessment" of vaccine status. Swanson explained that during childhood, three key school transitions coincide with vaccine schedules. The first, she said, is when a child enters kindergarten. Then, "typically, at sixth grade, we refresh again. And there are updates that we provide kids at the end of high school as get they ready to go to college," she added. Each of these turning points usually means exposure ... Read more

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To Sway Anti-Vaccine Beliefs, Focus on Consequences: Study

Posted 3 Aug 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 3, 2015 – Highlighting what might happen if children aren't vaccinated can change the thinking of some people who oppose vaccines, a new study suggests. Many people with anti-vaccine views focus on the perceived risks of vaccines, the researchers noted. "Perhaps we need to direct people's attention to the other aspect of the decision. You may be focused on the risk of getting the shot. But there's also the risk of not getting the shot. You or your child could get measles," University of Illinois graduate student Zachary Horne said in a university news release. He and his colleagues asked 315 people their views about vaccines and their willingness to vaccinate their children. Then they randomly divided them into three groups. One group received material challenging the anti-vaccination point of view, and another group got reading material and photographs about the risks ... Read more

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Anti-Vaccine Parents Cluster in Rich, White Areas

Posted 3 Jun 2015 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 – Parents who cite "personal beliefs" to get their children exempted from routine vaccinations are typically white and well-to-do – at least in California, a new study finds. The results, published June 1 in Pediatrics, confirm what other studies have suggested: Anti-vaccine sentiment in the United States appears strongest among wealthier white families. But the study also found another pattern that surprised experts: California schools with high rates of personal-belief exemptions often had high rates of exemptions for medical reasons, too. "There's no clear explanation for why that would be," said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, who was not involved in the study. But the concern, he added, is that some children exempted for medical reasons could be put at risk if their classmates are not vaccinated against ... Read more

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Banning Vaccine Preservative Would Hurt Kids in Poor Nations: Experts

Posted 17 Dec 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 17 – A United Nations proposal to ban the vaccine preservative thimerosal – which contains a form of mercury – should not go through, says a leading group of U.S. pediatricians. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joins the World Health Organization (WHO) in urging the U.N. to drop the proposal from an international treaty seeking to cut down on mercury exposures in a variety of ways. Both the WHO and AAP say a thimerosal ban could keep children in poor nations from getting needed vaccines. The AAP, which announced its stance to members in June, reiterates its position and provides three commentaries on the issue in the January print edition of Pediatrics, published online Dec. 17. Thimerosal contains a form of mercury called ethyl mercury. For years it was used in certain vaccines, but U.S. health officials decided in 1999 that thimerosal should be removed from ... Read more

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Some U.S. Parents Ignoring Vaccination Guidelines

Posted 3 Oct 2011 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 3 – More than one in 10 parents don't follow recommended vaccination guidelines for their children, opting instead for an "alternative" schedule that could involve skipping doses or delaying shots. And parents who do follow official recommendations show some inclination to move toward an alternative schedule, according to new research. The findings alarm the authors of the study, published in the November issue of Pediatrics. "This really highlights to me that there's probably going to be a continuing increase in the number of parents who choose to follow alternative schedules," said study author Dr. Amanda Dempsey. "We really need to start allocating government and educational resources to stem the growing tide of discontent about vaccines among parents." This isn't the first time investigators have noticed the shift. "There's been a trend over the past couple of decades ... Read more

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Vaccinations Aren't Just for Kids

Posted 16 Sep 2011 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Sept. 16 – Public health experts often focus immunization awareness efforts toward protecting children, and with good reason: Facing a potentially bewildering schedule of vaccinations for their young ones, parents usually need all the help they can get. But vaccinations aren't just kid stuff. Medical science is creating an increasing number of immunizations targeted at adults, to help them avoid life-threatening diseases in middle-age and opportunistic infections when they're older. "Immunization is a life-long issue that we need to pay a lot of attention to," said Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. Some adult vaccinations are very well-known, like the annual shot that aims to prevent the spread of influenza. "You need an influenza shot every year," Benjamin said. "Part of that is because the virus changes every year, ... Read more

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Men, Women May Respond Differently to Vaccines

Posted 17 May 2010 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 17 – Gender can trigger different immune responses and different side effects to particular vaccines, a new analysis suggests. The finding, reported in the May issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, stems from a review of prior research concerning vaccines that target a range of diseases including yellow fever, influenza, measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis and herpes simplex. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy were also tracked during the review for their possible effect on vaccines. "Sex can affect the frequency and severity of adverse effects of vaccination, including fever, pain and inflammation," lead author Sabra Klein, an assistant professor in the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at John Hopkins in Baltimore, said in a news release. "This is likely due to the fact that women typically mount stronger immune responses to vaccinations ... Read more

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Parents Still Worried About Vaccine Safety

Posted 1 Mar 2010 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 1 – Although most American parents vaccinate their children, many are concerned about the safety of vaccines and some choose not to have their children protected from potentially deadly diseases, a new study found. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that while 90 percent of parents say vaccines are a good way to protect their kids, and 88 percent follow their doctor's vaccination recommendations, 54 percent are worried about serious side effects. "Parents' hesitation about vaccines has, in some cases, led them to postpone vaccinations for their children," said lead researcher Dr. Gary L. Freed, director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Health System. "The study found that 12 percent of parents have refused at least one vaccine that their children's doctor recommended." "When parents refuse vaccines, they place ... Read more

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Too Few Adults Get Recommended Vaccinations

Posted 4 Feb 2010 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 4 – Most parents make sure their children get all their vaccinations, but when it comes to adults these protective shots often fall by the wayside, a new report shows. In fact, 40,000 to 50,000 American adults die each year from diseases that vaccines could have prevented, according to the report, Adult Immunization: Shots to Save Lives. The report was released jointly Thursday by the Trust for America's Health, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "This country does not have an effective strategy for immunizing adults against infectious diseases," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, said during a morning teleconference. "Thousands of lives could be saved each year if we could increase the number of adults who receive routine and recommended vaccinations. We need a national strategy to make ... Read more

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