If you’re a parent, it’s likely that you remember having the chickenpox, or, at the very least, you know someone who has had it. But since we’ve had children, a vaccine has been made for chickenpox. Licensed for use in the United States in 1995, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all children receive the vaccine.
For decades, children have been given immunizations to protect them from illnesses and diseases, some of which are potentially fatal or life-altering. And it is because of these immunizations that certain diseases and illnesses are now practically unheard of. Yet, despite the protection that immunizations provide, there have been concerns about their safety.
Whooping cough, caused by the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, is an infection of the respiratory system. This extremely contagious illness is characterized by severe coughing spells that sometimes resemble a “whooping” sound. It is recommended that children be vaccinated with five doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) prior to age six. A booster is then given at age 11.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious bacterial infection that starts in the lungs. With time, the disease can spread to other organs, and in many cases, it is lethal. Unfortunately, while children and adults can be immunized against TB, the vaccine, BCG, has provided very little in the way of protection against the disease.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has made some changes to the vaccination schedule for adults. The recommendation, formerly known as the Adult Vaccination Schedule, was published online Monday morning in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Vaccinations are designed to help provide children with protection from serious diseases that have been practically eradicated from the United States. But over the years, parents have voiced concerns about the safety of vaccinations, which has caused many to follow a delayed schedule or avoid the immunizations completely.
While considered a normal and vital part of protecting your children from potentially fatal illnesses, immunizations do have some potential side effects. Some can be downright petrifying, but most are minor; pain, swelling and redness at the injection site being the most common.
Rotavirus, a condition that can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, has potentially fatal effects, particularly in young children. A vaccination can be given to prevent the condition, but the vaccine does have one potentially fatal adverse effect – intussusception, a form of bowel obstruction.
Parents everywhere dread flu season because children everywhere catch the flu bug. But how many of us actually think about how dangerous this common bug can be? Probably not many. Yet, no matter how little we think about the possible dangers, they do exist.
Back in June 2011, the CDC recommended that all pregnant women receive a one-time Tdap vaccine if they had not previously received it. That recommendation has now been replaced in an effort to contain the widespread pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak; health officials now say women should receive the vaccine during each and every pregnancy, regardless of whether or not she’s received the vaccine before.
Pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease that closely mimics the common cold: runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, red and watery eyes, a mild fever, and a dry cough. And, much like the common cold, after a week or two, the symptoms get worse and thick mucus may build up in the airways, causing an uncontrollable cough.
In 2009, pregnant women were considered at high risk for the H1N1 virus. Contracting the H1N1 virus during pregnancy included risks of death, increased risk of illness, and poor pregnancy outcomes. Because of this, pregnant women were encouraged to receive the H1N1 vaccination. However, it was unclear as to whether or not there would be any potential side effects of the vaccination to the fetus.
The topic of immunizations is a heated one, to say the very least, but pediatricians and doctors recommend them for a good reason: they prevent a potentially fatal illness. And it is the current debate on whether or not immunizations are safe and ethical that may be responsible for the highest cases of measles in the United States since 1996.