Posts Tagged ‘measles’

Join the blog-a-thon for NIIW

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

niiw-blog-a-thon-badgeThis week is National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW), a time to talk about vaccines.

Do you remember mumps? How about chicken pox? For so many children, these are diseases they never had or will never get. But I remember them well – the incredible pain and swelling from mumps, the constant itching and scars from chicken pox, not to mention the many days of school that I missed. I knew kids who were hospitalized due to complications from both mumps and chickenpox.

Even my kids had chicken pox – one more severely than the other – as the vaccine was not yet available. How I wish they could have avoided that disease!

Rotavirus is another potentially very serious condition that most babies and children can avoid today. My daughter ended up in the hospital for two days due to complications from rotavirus – a very scary experience!

But perhaps the one that hits home the most for me is polio. The March of Dimes would not be here if it were not for this devastating disease. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt contracted this paralyzing disease, he called on our organization to raise money in order to fund research to develop a vaccine. The March of Dimes is named for the dimes that were “marched” to Washington from countless people to fund research into finding a vaccine in time to spare any more men, women, children and babies from getting this crippling disease.

We were successful. The polio vaccine was rolled out to the public in 1955 as a result of the pioneering work of March of Dimes’ funded researchers Drs. Salk and Sabin.

Due to the development of this vaccine, polio is practically a part of world history. It no longer exists in America, and is almost totally eradicated in other parts of the world. When you stop to think about it, that is really AMAZING. This little vaccine prevents lifelong paralysis and pain in millions of people.

What started with combating polio has led March of Dimes to continue working hard to ensure all babies get a fighting chance for a healthy start in life.

But vaccines are not just for babies

As important as it is for babies and children to receive their vaccines, it’s also critical that adults who come in contact with children stay up-to-date with immunizations. For example, pertussis (whooping cough) can be fatal for a baby. When parents and caretakers get the vaccine, they are ensuring that their baby will be protected until he is old enough to be immunized. In fact, it is so important to get this vaccine that all pregnant women are recommended to receive the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy.

There’s no doubt about it -even adults need vaccines. And women need them before, during and after pregnancy.

It would be a very different world without the lifesaving vaccines that have spared us from so many diseases. NIIW is a time to highlight the importance of protecting babies and children from vaccine-preventable diseases and to celebrate the achievements of immunization programs in the U.S.

We’re a healthier nation and world because of them.

Please share your support for childhood immunizations by participating in this week’s blog-a-thon. Here are the details.

 

Measles outbreak continues

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Measles picture from the Public Health Image LibraryAre you and your family immunized against measles?

On my way to work today, I heard that the number of measles cases in the United States has continued to rise. At last count, there were 78 cases in 11 states. Most of those cases originated at Disneyland or Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Visitors who went to the parks in December 2014 who were infected with measles spread it to people who were unvaccinated.

What should you do?

If you or your child have not been vaccinated against measles, or if your child is under 12 months old, you need to take precautions. According to the California Department of Public Health: “Any place where large numbers of people congregate and there are a number of international visitors, like airports, shopping malls and tourist attractions, you may be more likely to find measles, which should be considered if you are not vaccinated. It is absolutely safe to visit these places, including the Disneyland Resort, if you are vaccinated.”

The only way to protect against measles is through immunization. The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine protects against the measles disease, as well as the mumps and rubella diseases. Your baby gets the MMR vaccine in two doses: the first between 12 and 15 months, and the second between 4 and 6 years. Adolescents and adults should be up to date on vaccinations. If you are not sure if you have had the vaccine, talk with your health care provider.

Measles and pregnancy

If you are thinking of having a baby, and are not sure if you have been vaccinated, speak with your health care provider. A simple blood test can tell you what vaccines you may need. If you need to get the MMR vaccine, make sure you do so before becoming pregnant. Wait at least 1 month before trying to get pregnant after the shot. If you are already pregnant, get the MMR vaccine after you give birth.

Measles on the rise

Last year, the U.S. had a record number of measles cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states there have been 644 confirmed measles cases reported for 2014 in the United States. This is the highest number of cases since the U.S. declared that measles was eliminated in 2000. Measles is still common in other parts of the world. International travelers may carry it to the U.S. where they can spread the disease to other people who have not been vaccinated.

As many as one in 20 children with measles develop pneumonia. This is the most common cause of death from measles in young children, according to the CDC. For every 1,000 children with measles, one or two will die.  Children under 5 and adults over 20 are at higher risk for getting complications from the measles virus, including hospitalization and death.

Symptoms of measles typically start to appear one to two weeks after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough, a high fever and finally a rash. Measles is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will most likely get the disease.

Special thanks to the CDC and the Public Health Image Library for permission to use the above photo of a boy’s face after three days with measles rash.

Do you have your measles vaccination?

Monday, August 18th, 2014

vaccinationMeasles is a disease that is easily spread and causes rash, cough and fever. In some cases, it can lead to diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, brain damage or even death. Measles spreads through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing. It is so contagious that any child who is exposed to it and is not immune will most likely get the disease. Measles can cause serious health problems in young children. It also can be especially harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage or premature birth.

This year the U.S. is experiencing a record number of measles cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that between January 1 and August 1, 2014, there have been 593 confirmed measles cases reported. This is the highest number of cases since the U.S. declared that measles was eliminated from this country in 2000.

The majority of the people who get measles are unvaccinated. Children under 5 and adults over 20 are at higher risk for getting complications from the measles virus, including hospitalization and death.

The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine protects against the measles disease, as well as the mumps and rubella diseases. Your baby gets the MMR vaccine in two doses: the first between 12 and 15 months, and the second between 4 and 6 years.

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, make sure you’re protected against measles. If you need to get vaccinated, get the MMR vaccine before pregnancy. Wait at least 1 month before trying to get pregnant after getting the shot. The MMR vaccine is not recommended if you are already pregnant.

To read more about vaccines before, during and after pregnancy, click here.

If you have further questions on measles or vaccines, feel free to email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Click here to read more News Moms Need blog posts on: pregnancy, pre-pregnancy, infant and child care, help for your child with delays or disabilities, and other hot topics.

Vaccines save lives

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

immunizationsThis week is National Infant Immunization Week (April 26 – May 3, 2014).   This annual observance highlights the importance of protecting babies from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrates the achievements of immunization programs.

In 1994 Vaccines for Children (VFC) was launched. This program provides vaccines for children whose parents may not be able to afford them. VFC was developed in response to a measles outbreak that ultimately caused over 100 deaths—even though the measles vaccine had been available since 1963.

In the 20 years since the VCF program was started, the CDC estimates “that vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years.”

According to the CDC: “Several important milestones already have been reached in controlling vaccine-preventable diseases among infants worldwide. Vaccines have drastically reduced infant death and disability caused by preventable diseases in the United States. In addition:
• Through immunization, we can now protect infants and children from 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age two.
• In the 1950s, nearly every child developed measles, and unfortunately, some even died from this serious disease. Today, few physicians just out of medical school will ever see a case of measles during their careers.
• Routine childhood immunization in one birth cohort prevents about 20 million cases of disease and about 42,000 deaths. It also saves about $13.5 billion in direct costs.
• The National Immunization Survey has consistently shown that childhood immunization rates for vaccines routinely recommended for children remain at or near record levels.”

As great as this news is, this year parts of the US are facing yet another measles outbreak. According to the CDC, as of April 18th, there have been 129 cases of measles. Most of these were contracted when individuals were out of the country. The people who have been infected were either not vaccinated, or did not know their vaccination status.

“Thanks to the VFC program,  children in our country are no longer at significant risk from diseases that once killed thousands each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “Current outbreaks of measles in the U.S. serve as a reminder that these diseases are only a plane ride away. Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can.”

You can learn more about the VFC program here.

It is important that your vaccinations are up to date before you get pregnant and during pregnancy. You can find a vaccination schedule from birth through age 6 here.

Your child’s vaccinations

Friday, April 26th, 2013

baby-docApril 20-27 is National Infant Immunization Week, so today we’re here to remind you of the importance of getting your little one all the vaccines she needs.

I always hated watching my kids get vaccinations (also called immunizations) and winced when they weren’t looking. If you’re a parent, it may actually seem more painful for you than for them! They may be uncomfortable for a minute, but these important shots help protect them from some serious childhood diseases like polio, chickenpox, measles, mumps and the flu.

All children should be vaccinated for their own health and so they don’t spread infections or diseases to others. It’s important to keep a record of what your little ones have received so you know what’s coming up next. All childhood vaccines are given in two or more doses. Your baby needs more than one dose because each one builds up her immunity. Immunity is her body’s protection from disease. A second or third dose is needed to fully protect her. These doses work best if they’re spread out over time.

In the first 2 years of life, your baby gets several vaccines to protect her. This handy schedule shows each vaccine your baby gets up to 6 years of age. It also shows how many doses she gets of each vaccine and when she needs to get them. Your baby should get vaccinations and boosters regularly, all the way through age 18.

Often health care providers will hand out a booklet or form to parents to help them keep a record of their child’s vaccinations. Ask your child’s doc if he has one for you to use.

Infant immunization week

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

2-play-matesThis year National Infant Immunization Week is from April 21-28. This annual observance is designed to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Because of vaccines, some crippling and deadly diseases, like polio, have been all but eliminated here, but they are still very present in other countries. Other diseases that were once gone from the U. S. are now returning. The largest measles outbreak in 15 years has hit the United States. Most people who have recently become sick with the measles have not been vaccinated. They caught the measles in Europe (which is in the middle of a major epidemic), and brought the disease back to this country.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a disease caused by bacteria that leads to coughing and choking that can last for several weeks. Babies who catch pertussis can get very sick, and some may die. The number of pertussis cases in this country has more than doubled since 2000. This may be because protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time. In the last few years, there have been several large pertussis outbreaks. Outbreaks are common in places like schools and hospitals. The disease spreads easily from person to person, usually by coughing or sneezing. Most infants who get pertussis catch it from someone in their family, often a parent.

All new parents need the pertussis vaccine. Until your baby gets her first pertussis shot at 2 months, the best way to protect her is for you to get the adult vaccine before pregnancy or soon after you have your baby. The vaccine prevents you from getting pertussis and passing it along to your baby. Caregivers, close friends and relatives who spend time with your baby, including grandparents, should get vaccinated, too.

To learn more about vaccines and to review the current recommended schedule for childhood vaccines, click on this link.

Get your vaccinations before summer travel

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

family-at-the-beachAfter a very rough winter and a rainy spring, summer is finally here! In a few weeks, my husband, my baby girl and I (with Lola in tow) will be traveling and heading to the beach for a couple of weeks. My baby girl just had her well baby visit this week, so she’s up to date on all of her vaccines and is ready to travel.

Summer is a great time to make sure your family’s vaccinations are up to date, especially this year. There’s been a recent outbreak of measles (an infection caused by a virus) in this country – the largest measles outbreak in 15 years. Most people who recently caught the measles were not vaccinated. They caught the measles in Europe (which is the middle of a major epidemic) and brought the disease back to the U.S.

Measles is easily spread and causes rash, cough and fever. In some cases, it can lead to diarrhea, ear infection, pneumonia, brain damage or even death. Measles can cause serious health problems in young children. It can also be especially harmful to pregnant women and can cause miscarriage.

Talk to your provider to find out if your and your family’s vaccines are up to date, especially when it comes to the measles. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, wait 1 month before trying to get pregnant after getting the measles vaccine (MMR, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella). If you’re already pregnant, you’ll need to wait until after giving birth to get the vaccine.

If you’re  traveling out of the country with your baby and she’s 6-11 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that she get her first shot of the MMR vaccine before traveling. If your baby is 12-15 months, then she should get two shots (separated by 28 days) before traveling.

Medical journal no longer supports 1998 study linking vaccine to autism

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

You may have seen our past posts about vaccines and autism. As we noted in those posts, most medical experts do not believe there is a connection between vaccines (specifically the MMR vaccine and thimerosal) and autism. Today, Lancet (the medical journal that published the original study linking vaccines to autism in 1998) retracted the study. The journal found that several elements of that research were flawed.

It’s our goal at NMN to provide you with the latest health information to help you make the best decisions for yourself and family. There are many children suffering from autism and other health disorders. We hope that more research will be done to find the cause and cure of this and other health conditions affecting children. We’ll continue to update you as more information becomes available.

Mumps outbreak

Friday, November 20th, 2009

When was the last time you ever heard of someone getting the mumps? While most of us can say it’s been a while (if not, never), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting the largest outbreak of mumps in three years. Most of these outbreaks took place in New York and New Jersey.

Friendly reminder – the best way to protect kids from getting the mumps is by getting kids vaccinated. The combination measles-mumps-rubella immunization helps protect kids against these illnesses, which are less common thanks to the large number of kids and people who’ve been vaccinated over the years. Women who aren’t sure if they’ve been vaccinated against the mumps can also talk to their health providers about getting this vaccine before getting pregnant (this vaccine cannot be given during pregnancy). It’s important that the immunization rates in our population stay at high levels to avoid the opportunity for this and other diseases to return with full force.

Learn more about other important immunizations for your child.

U.S. federal court: No link between vaccines and autism

Friday, February 13th, 2009

gavel-smYesterday, a U.S. federal court dismissed cases from parents who claimed that vaccinations caused their children’s autism. According to NBC Nightly News, “the parents failed to show that vaccinations played any role at all in causing autism.”

While some families still fear that there may be a connection between autism and vaccines, a large body of well-done research has found no link. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the March of Dimes all recommend that children be vaccinated.

While expressing concern for children with autism and their parents, the court said the research used to support the claims was severely inadequate. In the court’s view, the medical experts testifying for the parents were poorly qualified and lacked sufficient experience. In making its decision, the court reviewed over 5,000 pages of expert testimony and 939 medical articles.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and other organizations continue to support research to better understand the causes of autism. In a statement, DHHS said that it hoped the court’s decision “will help reassure parents that vaccines do not cause autism.”

To see an earlier post and discussion on this topic, click here.