Measles Memo: VACCINES WORK!

By now you have probably heard about the MEASLES outbreak that originated in Disneyland last month. At this point, over 100 cases (that span at least 14 states) have been documented since the first of this year…and we have only entered February. If you are my age or older (40-something), odds are good you remember HAVING the measles. In my case, I missed the coveted LAST DAY OF SCHOOL in 7th grade…miserably feverish, coughing, aching and covered in itchy red spots, so that particular event is etched in my middle school memories. I lay in bed sobbing in my self-pity … Read more

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‘Tis the FLU SEASON

It’s that special time of year again…so please give yourself (and your family) the GIFT of a flu vaccine NOW so you are not struck down with this illness at the busiest time of year! Flu shots have been available for a few weeks and seem to be available everywhere.  Clinics, schools, grocery stores, pharmacies and many employers are all offering flu shots these days. Add a flu shot to your grocery list- I’ll bet the pharmacy there is stocked and you won’t even have to add an extra stop on your weekly errands.

Who should get the flu vaccine?Read more

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Gardasil: What’s Up Down Under?

The HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine, Gardasil, was FDA approved in the United States for use in young women in June, 2006, then extended for males in October, 2009. In October of 2011, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP- the group that creates our national guidelines that you see posted on your doctor’s office walls) extended their official recommendations to include ROUTINE VACCINATION of both boys and girls at age 11-12 years, with “catch up” immunizations for those youth  ages 13-21 who had missed getting this vaccine series.

Why are we vaccinating?
We vaccinate primarily for CANCER PREVENTION. Each … Read more

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Flu Season 2012 – Ready or Not!

While we are rushing around in December, take a moment to think about whether or not your family has received the flu vaccine this year. The CDC reports show that unfortunately, we are jumping into the season early this year, especially in TEXAS, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In fact, this is the earliest in the flu season to reach this level in almost a decade (since 2003-2004). The good news is that the viruses identified with testing DO largely match the strains that are included in this year’s vaccine. More good news is that they are susceptible to our … Read more

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Gardasil: What’s IN it?

Continuing the discussion about the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine Gardasil...I’d like to step back and talk about exactly what is IN this vaccine. Much of the fear about immunizations surrounds concerns about the makeup of the vaccine, and what peripheral damage could potentially be caused from the content.

First of all, can you “catch” HPV from the vaccine? NO. Absolutely NOT. There are vaccines (like chicken pox or measles) that contain essentially watered-down versions of live virus, and as such, can in the course of an appropriate response cause a mild version of the disease as the body reacts … Read more

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Gardasil and Increased Promiscuity? NOT an Issue

The Gardasil vaccine is back in the news. Gardasil is the vaccine recommended for both boys and girls to protect them against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes genital warts and cervical cancer) Yesterday, an article published in Pediatrics confirmed that girls who had received this vaccine did not, in fact, have any increased sexual promiscuity compared with their peers who did not receive the vaccine. Why was this study done? One reason for lower vaccination rates with this recommended vaccine (compared to other vaccines recommended in this age group) was parental concern that giving their preteen and teenage daughters … Read more

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