Posts Tagged ‘vaccinations’

Experts say pregnant women should get whooping cough vaccine

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

There’s been yet another outbreak of pertussis  (whooping cough), this time in New York. In light of recent whooping cough outbreaks, an advisory panel for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that pregnant women get the whooping cough vaccine.

It used to be that pregnant women were told to wait until after birth to get the pertussis vaccine. But the panel of experts says that by getting vaccinated during pregnancy, you can pass your antibodies (cells in the body that fight off infection) to your baby. This helps protect your baby from pertussis after he’s born and until he gets his pertussis vaccines. And with all of the pertussis outbreaks, your baby can use as much protection as he can get.

CDC will look into the advisory panel’s recommendation before changing its official vaccination guidelines, but it usually goes along with the panel’s advice. Check back with News Moms Need for updates on this issue. In the meantime, learn more about vaccinations during pregnancy and vaccinations for your baby.

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.

Time for flu shots, and most will be free this year

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends annual seasonal influenza immunization for all children above the age of 6 months, including teens.  If you want to read it, the AAP policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2010-2011,” will be published in the October 2010 print issue of the journal Pediatrics and released earlier online.

Influenza can be a serious illness for young children, especially between the ages of 6 months and five years.  It is recommended that special efforts should be made to immunize all family members, household contacts, and out-of-home care providers of children who are aged younger than 5 years; children with high-risk conditions (ie, asthma, diabetes or neurologic disorders); healthcare personnel; and pregnant women.

The vaccine should be much easier to get this year.  Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, says the federal Affordable Care Act mandates for the first time that Medicare and private health plans offer flu vaccine coverage without co-pays or deductibles. Uninsured children are covered under the federal Vaccines for Children program.

Although two influenza vaccines were recommended last year, only a single trivalent vaccine is being manufactured for the current 2010-2011 seasonal influenza vaccine schedule and there will be plenty of it available.  This year’s vaccine protects against 2009 H1N1, or swine flu, and the two other flu viruses that also are expected to cause disease this year.

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.

H1N1 flu harmful during pregnancy

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

vaccineYou may have seen our previous post explaining how flu (both seasonal and H1N1) affects women during pregnancy, or understanding the facts vs. myths about flu vaccines. Earlier this week, the New York Times published an article about one woman’s tragic experience with H1N1 during her pregnancy. The young woman featured in this piece tells her sad story in an effort to encourage pregnant women to get both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines.

Some areas of the country have started to receive their shipments of the H1N1 vaccine. But other areas are still waiting. My husband, who works in health care, is among those who should get the H1N1 vaccine first. But when he called his doctor last week to make an appointment, he was told they still hadn’t received the H1N1 vaccine shipment. They asked him to call back in November.

While some people may have a delay in access to the H1N1 vaccine, keep calling your health provider, watch for news reports or contact your local health department to find out when the vaccine is coming to your area. In the meantime, follow these tips to help avoid the flu. If you’re pregnant and have flu-like symptoms, contact your health provider right away so that s/he can start you on flu medications. You must have a prescription from your health provider to get this medication.

Also, beware of any advertisements for H1N1 flu products that you may see either online or in print. Some of these products are fake and may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your pregnancy. Again, only your health provider can prescribe your flu medication. Never take any medications or herbal remedies without talking with your health provider first.

Flu and pregnancy don’t mix!

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

There’s a lot of discussion around the flu and why it’s important to get your seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines, especially  if you’re pregnant. To understand why you should get these two flu shots during pregnancy, it might be helpful to know some of the reasons why pregnant women are more likely to get the flu during pregnancy.

One reason has to do with your immune system, the natural defense mechanism that helps protect you from illnesses and diseases in life. During pregnancy, your immune system isn’t as responsive as it was before pregnancy. Part of this is because your body is carrying something that it considers foreign and isn’t normally part of you (in this case, your baby). Usually when this happens, your immune system wants to protect you and will do its best to fight off this foreign element. However, since your body doesn’t want to reject your baby, it naturally lowers the immune system’s ability to defend and respond. But, a lowered immune system means you’re more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu.

A second reason is that pregnant women often spend much time around little children. And since kids spend so much time with other kids, are usually in close proximity to each other and are always putting things in their mouths, this makes them perfect little Petri dishes of germs and bacteria. These germs can eventually make their way to you. And as we know, your immune system during pregnancy isn’t as tough as it is when you’re not pregnant.

Another reason is that during pregnancy, especially in your second and third trimesters, you need more oxygen than before because you’re supplying it to both you and baby. Your growing belly puts more pressure on your lungs, making them work harder in a smaller space. You may even find yourself feeling some shortness of breath at times. Your heart is working very hard, too! It’s busy supplying blood to you and baby. All of this means your body is stressed during pregnancy. This stress on your body can increase your risk of getting an illness like the flu.

Unfortunately, getting the flu during pregnancy puts you and baby at special health risks. These risks can be very harmful and, in some cases, deadly. That’s why it’s very important to prevent this by getting both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines during pregnancy.

You’ll also do baby a service! By getting the two vaccines during pregnancy, you’ll be able to pass your immunity to your baby so that when he’s born, he’s less likely to get the flu in his first months of life.

Some pregnant moms might be concerned about vaccines potentially causing harm to you or baby. But given the issues as explained above, there’s a bigger chance of putting mom and baby’s health at risk by not getting the two flu vaccines during pregnancy. The benefits of the vaccines far outweigh any potential risk.

So please, get your seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines. For more information, read our seasonal flu and H1N1 articles or talk to your health provider. You can also visit Flu.gov for the latest updates on the seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Be sure to get your flu shots

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Flu season is just around the corner. It’s important that everyone, especially expecting moms, get their flu shots. In addition to the seasonal flu shot, pregnant moms and moms of young children should also get the H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

Read our past post on swine flu to learn more about the illness and who should get the swine flu vaccine. News Moms Need will provide updates when the swine flu vaccine is available.

A handy childhood immunization scheduler

Friday, July 31st, 2009

My newest granddaughter was born on April 6th.  J  My daughter and I were talking about getting her vaccinated against all sorts of diseases and what the current recommended schedule is these days.  I found the recommended vaccination schedule on the CDC website,  but I also found a really neat tool to help figure out the dates for your own baby’s schedule.  You enter your child’s date of birth, and a personalized schedule appears, complete with dates.  Check it out.

If you’re the type of mom who would prefer to set a schedule that uses more individual vaccinations and less combination shots, read my previous post  and talk with your child’s provider.

Pregnant moms will get priority for swine flu vaccine

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

In the last few days, you may have seen some news coverage about swine flu (also called H1N1) and its effect on mother and baby during pregnancy. With flu season just around the corner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is giving priority to pregnant women and putting them at the front of the line of people who should get the swine flu vaccine first when it becomes available. Other groups at the top of the list are:
• children and young adults up to age 24
• people who live with or care for babies younger than 6 months of age
• health care providers
• people with chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems

Learn more about swine flu or read our past post on swine flu and pregnancy.

Lessen baby’s pain during vaccines

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

crying-babyTo me, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than hearing a baby cry from being hurt.  Whenever I’m at the doctor’s office and I hear a baby crying from an examination room down the hall, I can usually guess what happened – time for baby’s vaccine shots.  Some vaccine shots are more painful than others, but they all are important in helping a baby stay healthy.

The New York Times recently reported on a study showing that it might be possible to lower a baby’s pain by switching the order of the DPTaP-Hib vaccine (diphtheria, polio, pertussis, tetanus and Haemophilus influenzae Type B) and the PCV vaccine (pneumococcal disease). Most babies receive the DPTaP-Hib and PCV vaccines during the same health visit. The study, which appeared in this month’s issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that babies who got the DPTaP-Hib vaccine first experienced less pain than those that got the PCV vaccine first. The researchers found that if the PCV vaccine (the more painful of the two) was given first, the baby was more likely to focus his attention on the situation at hand, which could make him more aware of the pain and could speed up his response to the hurt he feels. In other words, a baby is already hurting from the PCV vaccine, which can make him more sensitive to the less painful DPTaP-Hib vaccine.

Keep in mind that this study is very small, so we don’t know anything for sure. But since a baby usually gets both vaccines on the same health visit, it wouldn’t hurt (no pun intended) to talk to your baby’s provider about giving the DPTaP-Hib vaccine shot first, followed by the PCV vaccine. The March of Dimes article on vaccines has more information.