Why do we need booster shots?

You’d think most vaccines would leave you protected from the disease for life, right? While some vaccines do have very long-lasting immunity to disease, certain vaccines need to be given more than once to make sure the body has that long-lasting protection. Vaccinations like these need to be given more than once to yield full protection from disease. These extra shots are called BOOSTERS.

The immune system needs to create memory cells that will recognize the pathogen should it enter the body. To do that the immune system needs to “see” the pathogen at least once and make antibodies necessary to fight it off. Once this happens, the immune system’s memory cells keep that pathogen in it’s memory banks, so to speak. How cool is that? The immune system is so darn amazing, isn’t it?

So the initial vaccination dose activates an immune response in the body so that memory cells are created. Sometimes this is all the body needs. But in some cases, additional doses of a vaccine might be needed periodically to “boost” the immune system’s memory of the disease. Continue reading

Can you vaccinate your child if he is sick?

Red Typewriter Magazine

You don’t need to go canceling your child’s vaccination appointment if he has the sniffles, cough, upset stomach, sore throat, ear infection, mild diarrhea, low-grade fever (less than 101*F), among whatever other mild symptoms may arise. He is still able to get his vaccinations, and here’s why:

Vaccines don’t make mild illnesses worse. In fact, your kiddo’s immune system battles millions of microbes and foreign antigens every day and vaccines offer only a teeny tiny fraction of those antigens for the immune system to process. For otherwise healthy children and babies, vaccines can not overload the immune system; in fact, that would be really hard to do. (For more about not being able to overload the immune system: http://www.thevaccinemom.com/2015/07/can-a-babys-immune-system-handle-more-than-one-vaccine-at-a-time/)

Vaccine also don’t make symptoms of mild illness worse. However, vaccines can SOMETIMES cause soreness and swelling at the injection site or mild fever. Continue reading

Lyme Disease season is HERE and it’s worse than ever

This is a great little informational video on this year’s tick season: HERE

It’s a little hard to understand because Dr. Goudarz has a thick accent, so I’ve dictated the important points below! Please read because if you live in the northeast (US), this year’s tick season is BAD.

Here we go…

It’s summertime and that means ticks and consequently, Lyme disease is on the rise. There has already been a higher rate of infection his year so far US northeast.

Why?

There have been exceptionally warm winters in the northeast, as well as reports and evidence of a higher number of white-footed mice (main reservoir for lyme and three other pathogens).

Ticks are being tested and researchers are finding more than 1/3 of ticks testing positive for lyme. And on top of that, an increasing number of ticks infected with another tick-associated disease. Continue reading

Chickenpox parties?? Natural immunity is NOT better.

Someone mentioned “Chickenpox parties” the other day, and while I had heard of that before, this time it really got me heated. Of course, I went ahead and started searching out some information, because that’s what I do, and found some pretty disturbing photos. (Spare yourself from seeing them.) They weren’t photos of just the chicken pox (that’s not the disturbing part), they were photos of really sick and spotty children playing with healthy, happy children–children oblivious to the fact that next week they’d be itchy, fevery, and potentially extremely ill. Guys, these kids could end up in the hospital, or worse…
 
It’s making me sick just thinking about it right now.

Continue reading

What’s the difference between Tdap and DTaP?

The DTaP vaccine is for children 0-7 years and the Tdap vaccine is the booster given at age 11 and to adults age 19-64.

Both are inactivated bacterial vaccines that protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis.

We consider Tdap to be a booster vaccine because of it’s reduced dose of diphtheria and pertussis. Getting this booster after having the DTaP vaccine is important because the immunity from DTaP wanes after the vaccine given at age 4-6.

Since immunity wanes over time, the current recommendation is that everyone needs a booster for tetanus and diphtheria every ten years. This booster given to adults is called Td. It is also recommended that one dose of Tdap should be substituted for a Td dose in adults between 11 and 64 years.  Continue reading