There is a growing number of parents that are choosing to go along with their own vaccination schedule for various reasons. The CDC has very good Q/A that addresses the main concern parents have regarding this issue. Below is a summary of the CDC's Q/A.
How many vaccines does CDC recommend for children?
Currently, CDC recommends vaccination against 16 vaccine preventable diseases for children.
Why does CDC recommend that children receive so many vaccinations?
Vaccines are our best defense against many diseases, which often result in serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis (swelling of the lining of the brain), liver cancer, bloodstream infections, and even death.
CDC recommends vaccinations to protect children against 16 infectious diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), and pneumococcal disease.
Why are these vaccines given at such a young age? Wouldn't it be safer to wait?
Children are given vaccines at a young age because this is when they are most vulnerable to certain diseases. If a child is not vaccinated and is exposed to a disease, the child's body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. An infant’s immune system is more than ready to respond to the very small number of weakened and killed infectious agents (antigens) in vaccines.
From the time they are born, babies are exposed to thousands of germs and other antigens in the environment and their immune systems are readily able to respond to these large numbers of antigenic stimuli.
I’ve heard people talk about “combination” vaccines. What does this mean? Why are vaccines administered this way?
A combination vaccine consists of two or more different vaccines that have been combined into a single shot. Combination vaccines have been in use in the United States since the mid-1940's. Examples of combination vaccines in current use are: DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), trivalent IPV (three strains of inactivated polio vaccine), MMR (measles-mumps-rubella), DTaP-Hib, and Hib-Hep B (hepatitis B).
Is simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccinations safe? Wouldn't it be safer to separate vaccines and spread them out, vaccinating against just one disease at a time?
The available scientific data show that simultaneous vaccination with multiple vaccines has no adverse effect on the normal childhood immune system. A number of studies have been conducted to examine the effects of giving various combinations of vaccines simultaneously. These studies have shown that the recommended vaccines are as effective in combination as they are individually, and that such combinations carry no greater risk for adverse side effects.
Consequently, both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend simultaneous administration of all routine childhood vaccines when appropriate.
Can so many vaccines, given so early in life, overwhelm a child's immune system, suppressing it so it does not function correctly?
No evidence suggests that the recommended childhood vaccines can “overload” the immune system. In contrast, from the moment babies are born, they are exposed to numerous bacteria and viruses on a daily basis. Eating food introduces new bacteria into the body; numerous bacteria live in the mouth and nose; and an infant places his or her hands or other objects in his or her mouth hundreds of times every hour, exposing the immune system to still more antigens.
When a child has a cold they are exposed to at least 4 to 10 antigens and exposure to “strep throat” is about 25 to 50 antigens.
To read the complete article and find more resources regarding this an other topics, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/multiplevaccines.html
Although vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu, practicing healthy habits can also lend a hand in prevention. For example, washing your children’s hands and asking them to cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing is a good way to avoid spreading germs. Of course it always best to stay away from people who are sick.
Flu vs. Colds
Flu symptoms can vary from child to child – and they can change as the illness progresses. The flu has symptoms that make a child worse than symptoms associated with a common cold. However, it is not that easy to tell the difference between the two. To help decide whether your child is fighting the flu or a cold, ask yourself these questions about your child’s symptoms.
What to do if my child has the flu?
Unlike other infections, the flu does not always require treatment. But it is always best to make an appointment with one of our providers since the illness can become complicated if your child is running a fever and/or dehydrated.
Providers may prescribe an antiviral medicine, but in reality, these medicine usually only shorten the course of the infection by just 1 or 2 days-provided your child’s illness is reported at an early stage.
Here are a few helpful tips one can do to help your child feel better should he or she come down with the flu.
- Offer plenty of fluids. Try ice pops, icy drinks and soft fruits should your child get tired of drinking water.
- Encourage bed rest.
- Acetaminophens (such as Tylenol) and ibuprofens (such as Advil or Motrin) tend to relieve aches and pains. Do not give aspirin.
- It is important to continue encouraging healthy habits by washing you and your family’s hands thoroughly and often.
- Keep them home from work or school. You will help prevent others from catching their illness.
Common cold symptoms may include sore throat, headache, mild fever, aches and loss of appetite.
Unfortunately, no effective cold vaccine has ever been developed, so it is not easy to prevent. But much like the flu, practicing healthy habits can go a long way.
Some people believe that kids may be more vulnerable to colds if they do not eat nutritious meals; they are stressed or tired; if they are exposed to cold or wet weather, but there is little evidence to support these beliefs.
Treatment for the common cold is “time.”
There isn’t much one can do. However you should make an appointment with our office if there is:
- Increased throat pain
- Coughing which produces green or gray sputum or lasts more than 10 days.
- Fever lasting several days or over 101F.
- If the child has shaking chills, chest pain or shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing, poor intake of fluids.
- Pain in the ear, unusual lethargy, enlarged, tender glands in the neck
- Blue lips, skin or fingernails.
We are happy to let everybody know that we are expanding our patient care hours. Beginning October 1st, we will offer appointments starting at 8:00am until 6:00pm.
Please note that office phone lines will remain close until 9:00am. In the afternoon, we will forward the lines to our answering service at 5:00pm.
We hope that the expanded hours will help those of you juggling work, school, personal commitments, after school activities and other things, to have more options to bring your children to see our providers.
Staff Meeting & Training
We also would like to point out that the expanded hours makes it difficult to conduct staff meetings and training, so we decided to close the office for one hour on Fridays from 12:30pm to 1:30pm to conduct our weekly staff meeting and training.
As always, we would like to thank you all for entrusting the care of your child to us. We truly value our partnership with you to help your child reach their full potential as it relates to their health.