It’s August, which means the kids are headed back to school here in the US. It also means it’s time to dig into your savings for pens, paper, clothing, tablets, headphones, computers…3D printers…centrifuge…microscope… I kid, but it does seem like they need a whole lot as years progress. The days of pencils, notebooks, and protractors are done.
I’m sure you’re making dents in your school lists, but did you remember to get those current physical and vaccine records? You all know I don’t care about pens; I’m The Vaccine Mom so I’m reminding you that it’s important to stay up-to-date on your children’s vaccines. And how perfect because August not only marks the beginning of the new school year in the US but it’s also National Immunization Awareness Month!
If you’ve had your kids in school before (or just out in the world), you know how easily they spread and contract germs. I like to call my children “my little Petri dishes,” and I think that’s very fitting. There are lots of coughs, sore throats, and colds coming this year, and that’s just life, but there are some things you can prevent. I’m talking the vaccine-preventable stuff–the nasty stuff. Continue reading
Believe it or not, I once had a fear of needles. Many years ago when I was a child I instinctively swatted the nurse giving me an injection causing the needle to scrape all the way down my arm. That’s something that stuck with me all the way into my young adult years.
I think a lot of us have an innate fear of needles. If you didn’t know better would you hold out our arm and let someone pierce it with a sharp object? I don’t think so. So if the thought of doing so makes you weak in the knees then know that you most definitely aren’t alone.
How did I get past my fear? First off, I desensitized myself by giving injections. Second, I learned everything I could about vaccine-preventable diseases, which helped to remind myself that injections are important. And third, I had babies and that meant injections, blood draws, and IVs galore on top of everything else.
Injections are still unpleasant but definitely not unbearable. I’m not going to ever say that you’re going to be happy about getting stuck with a needle, but I think I can help you to tolerate the experience with minimal freakout.
Here are some ways to help you cope: Continue reading
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The Vaccine Mom
We have a new shingles vaccine, and health and federal officials are recommending it over the older vaccine. Not only is it much more effective, you can also get it at a younger age (50+ years) than the older vaccine–Zostavax (60+ years).
Our new vaccine, Shingrix, is 96.6% effective in adults 50-59 years, while our older vaccine, Zostavax, is only 70% effective in adults 60-69 years.
And WOW… the effectiveness of Shingrix at age 70+ is 91.3% vs 38% for Zostavax (which is given at an older age, also). This research shows that Shingrix offers much longer lasting protection than Zoatavax, whose protection is shown to wane after the first year.
If given the choice choose Shingrix.
And if you’ve already had the Zostavax vaccine the CDC recommends you go get the Shingrix vaccine to make sure you are as fully covered as can be.
Protect yourself from shingles!
You can find all this and more here:
Dooling KL, Guo A, Patel M, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:103–108. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6703a5
Many disease-causing bacteria are now resistant to antibiotics that once aided in removing them from our bodies, meaning they are learning to defend themselves against these drugs. Once they have learned how to do so, they are able to survive and take over, then pass that information on to other germs. We have been calling these germs antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria or superbugs.
You may have heard of MRSA, or Methicillin–resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an AR that attacks the skin and soft tissue. This nasty germ has become so hard to treat due to the fact that we are no longer able to use certain types of antibiotics to treat it.
MRSA is just one of many superbugs. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria kill more than 23,000 Americans each year.
But what if the bacteria become resistant to ALL or nearly all of the antibiotics known to treat it?
That would be a nightmare. Continue reading