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The Birthday Curse

My son, Stevie, is turning three in about ten days and here it is again, the birthday curse.

On his first birthday he contracted a nasty case of hand-foot-and-mouth that left him with open sores, finger and toe nails falling off, and a cancelled birthday party. And on his second birthday we were all throwing up from a stomach virus. So he’s turning three in a few days and it’s only appropriate that he come down with another case of hand-foot-and mouth.

What’s going on?! I’m convinced it’s the birthday curse. Or maybe it’s just the curse of the preschooler–they’re germy little buggers.

Hand-foot-and-mouth is a disease caused by multiple viruses and virus strains. There are at least seven strains of the coxsackievirus and at least one enterovirus that can cause the disease. So therefore, your little ones CAN get it again. Continue reading

Vaccines and pregnancy

The CDC recommends the pertussis (whooping cough) and flu vaccines during every pregnancy.

The pertussis vaccine is particularly important during pregnancy. Pertussis can be life-threatening to your newborn.

The pertussis vaccine (most commonly given in the Tdap vaccine–includes tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) should given between 27-32 weeks gestation. The earlier the better. It will take at least two weeks for your body to make antibodies and pass them to your unborn child. Getting the vaccine around 27 weeks allows enough time for antibodies to form just in case you go into labor early.

These antibodies will normally protect the newborn until he is able to get his DTaP vaccine at 2 months (in the US).

Make sure you get this vaccine during EVERY pregnancy. The vaccine is mainly given to protect the child. You must get it every pregnancy to protect each child from pertussis. And it is safe for you to do so.

Next up…the flu shot. It is safe and recommended by the CDC to get the flu shot during pregnancy. Continue reading

I got the flu vaccine but still got sick…

You could still get sick with the flu even if you get the flu shot, or it could be something else. Here are some reasons why you may have flu-like/flu symptoms even after you got the shot:

  1. You may be sick from some other respiratory virus like the common cold, which has some similar symptoms to those of influenza. This can be confusing because these colds circulate during the same time as the flu does. The flu vaccine does not protect you from the common cold viruses.
  2. You may have gotten sick during the two week time period between which you got the shot and you develop antibodies to the flu strains in the shot. Often times this is when people say they got sick from the flu shot. However, you are unable to get sick from the flu shot.
  3. You may have been exposed to a strain of the flu that is very different from those in the flu vaccine. The strains in the vaccine are able to offer some coverage of other similar strains not in the vaccine. But there many strains of the flu and they can easily mutate to form new strains. Therefore, it can be somewhat hard to predict which strains of the flu will circulate during the season. However, the shot will more likely than not offer some coverage and that’s better than nothing.
  4. Different bodies respond differently to different vaccines. If your body doesn’t respond or make ample antibodies you may still get sick from the flu. There’s nothing around that.

You can’t get sick from the flu shot, but you may still end up sick. Nothing is certain but some protection is better than no protection. The flu can be and is deadly so please consider getting the shot for yourself and your children, not only to protect your family but to offer some herd immunity to those unable to protect themselves this season!

Be the herd!

When a large portion of a community gets vaccinated they create a herd of immune people around those who are unable to be vaccinated, such as people with compromised immune systems, infants, and pregnant women.
 
By having a high number of vaccinated people in the community, these people who aren’t able to get their vaccines are more likely to be protected from disease.
 
You may think that if your child is left unvaccinated they will be protected by the herd. Well…how many other parents have thought the same thing?

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Summer 2017 — Zika

Dr. Timothy Brei, left, examines Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios during her check up on on May 5, 2017. (Photo: Heidi de Marco, Kasier Health News)

We aren’t hearing about the Zika virus as much as we did last summer, but it’s still around and still pretty scary, especially for expectant mothers.

In the summer of 2016 you may have heard zika mentioned on the news at least several times, if not more. Health officials were urging everyone, especially pregnant women, to wear bug spray with DEET when venturing outside. Being infected with the mosquito-borne virus while pregnant lead to babies born with birth defects and other health problems. Last year the US had over 5,000 reported cases (many other cases without symptoms unreported) in thousands of American cities.

The summer of 2017? As far is mid June there have already been 650 reported cases of zika in the US. However, most people don’t have symptoms and don’t even know they have the virus. Most cases go unreported.

The CDC has reported that the types of mosquito that carry Zika, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, are appearing in more counties in the southern U.S. where they haven’t been before.

It’s not going away. But officials expect reported cases to lower over time.

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