We put this together with the hope that it will simplify communications about this virus. Use it, share it, as you like.
We put this together with the hope that it will simplify communications about this virus. Use it, share it, as you like.
There’s a virus in the US that’s sending kids to the hospital. Symptoms are similar to a severe cold. The virus is called human enterovirus 68 (EV-D68).
This virus affects the respiratory system, which is made up of the organs and tissues that let us breathe, including our airways (nose, mouth, windpipe), our lungs, and many other bits that work to keep us breathing.
EV-D68 was not a common culprit of respiratory disease until about 2009. That’s when the virus started to be identified with outbreaks in different parts of the world.
There are many strains or types of enteroviruses, and they are frequently the cause of our colds. This particular strain, EV-D68, is causing colds, but there are an unusual number of hospitalizations with this infection. Symptoms include coughing and difficulty breathing, which is what’s sending some people to the hospital. In addition, some people may have wheezing, a fever, or rash.
Those with existing respiratory issues, such as asthma, may find their symptoms more severe, as they do with any respiratory infection.
IMPORTANT POINT: This virus isn’t typically life-threatening, and although some who are infected will find themselves battling severe symptoms, most will experience only a mild cold.
There’s no vaccine available. We need to do what we always do to prevent colds—clean our hands throughout the day and keep our hands off of our face, as germs enter through our nose, mouth, and eyes. If someone offers you a bite of their spaghetti or a drink of their soda, politely refuse. Get your own spaghetti and drink.
And CDC reminds us that it’s important to disinfect surfaces (doorknobs, keyboards) to zap those germs where they sit.
It’s scary for parents to hear about kids being hospitalized, but if we practice basic disease prevention methods, we’ll help our families avoid this and other viruses that cause colds.
Encouraging conversation through valueofvaccination.org
An ever-growing body of individuals and organizations has come together for the purpose of highlighting that which is well-known but seldom stated: vaccination adds value to our lives.
Building upon a groundswell of public support for vaccination, the Value of Vaccination movement is garnering attention to the benefits that vaccines bring to every community. The initiative features the sharing of personal stories, videos demonstrating the positive impacts of vaccination, and easy-to-understand guides to the science behind vaccines and the immune system.
The movement is expanding beyond the website to include social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The goal is to encourage conversation at home, at work, and at school about the value of vaccination.
“The importance of dialogue around vaccines has become recognized globally,” said Heidi Larson, who leads the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. “Conversations between health providers and the public, among individuals, families and communities, and between the public and policy-makers are key to building trust. This important value-centered movement appreciates the science, but puts people at the center. ”
A call has been put out to the public to provide ideas on how best to illustrate the value of vaccination to others. It’s hoped that through crowdsourcing, new and unexpected methods of communicating this critical dimension of public health will be discovered.
Value of Vaccination is a body of individuals and organizations working together to promote the fact that vaccines bring value to our lives, and the many ways in which that value is actualized. This program is supported by a host of volunteers, along with financial support from PKIDs, a nonprofit based in the US. For more information, visit www.valueofvaccination.org.
In 1994, the CDC began collecting information about the vaccination of children ages 19—35 months. They did this through a survey called the National Immunization Survey (NIS), and they’re still doing it.
The information they collect gives us a good picture of how well-covered our little ones are by the vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
CDC does similar surveys on teens, adults, and also specifically, flu.
The results from the latest survey on children ages 19—35 months are:
Dr. Alan Hinman does a nice job of getting into the measles outbreak we’ve had this past year in his blog post on the Value of Vaccination website. Recommended reading!
To dive into all the details of the 2013 NIS, CDC’s MMWR provides the facts and figures.
Premieres Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 9PM/8c on PBS!
Press release from NOVA about this fascinating documentary:
Measles. Mumps. Whooping cough. Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago are returning.
Across America and around the globe, children are getting sick and dying from preventable diseases—in part, because some parents are choosing to skip their children’s shots. How and why do vaccines work? What are the biggest concerns and misconceptions, and what are the risks to the child and society when people decide to forego immunization? The award-winning science series NOVA helps viewers find the answers they need.
Misinformation about vaccines can spread quickly, creating confusion about the relative risks of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating. VACCINES–CALLING THE SHOTS is an important new film that encourages parents to ask questions and use the best available evidence to make decisions about how to protect their children.
This documentary travels the globe to provide the latest evidence and answers. Featuring scientists, pediatricians, psychologists, anthropologists, and parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, the hour-long film explores the history and science behind vaccinations, tracks outbreaks, and sheds light on the risks of opting out. The film, produced for NOVA by Tangled Bank Studios in association with Genepool Productions, premieres Wednesday, September 10 at 9PM/8c on PBS (check local listings).
“Immunization plays a crucial role in our public health, yet there is a tremendous amount of apprehension and confusion around the topic,” said Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive Producer for NOVA. “In VACCINES—CALLING THE SHOTS, NOVA dispels the myths and examines the latest science, engaging parents and viewers in a conversation with real answers about the best way to protect their families.”
“With the return of measles, whooping cough and other highly infectious diseases, we saw an opportunity to team up with NOVA to provide clarity for viewers about vaccination and what’s really at stake here for all of us,” said Michael Rosenfeld, Executive Producer for Tangled Bank Studios.
The vast majority of Americans—more than 90 percent—vaccinate their children, and most do it on the recommended schedule. Yet many people have questions about the safety of vaccines, and at least 10 percent of parents choose to delay or skip their children’s shots. The film illustrates how vaccines not only protect individuals, but also safeguard entire communities. The higher the overall vaccination rate is, the more protection for everyone. For highly infectious diseases like measles, 95% of the community must be vaccinated to shield the larger population, a concept known as “herd immunity.” If the rate drops below that 95% threshold, even by just a few percentage points, this layer of protection can collapse, sometimes leading to the kinds of outbreaks reported in recent news headlines. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 566 confirmed cases in 2014, as of July 11. In 2012, there were nearly 50,000 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and 20 deaths, in the U.S.
Highlighting real cases and placing them in historical context, VACCINES—CALLING THE SHOTS demonstrates just how fast diseases can spread—and how many people can fall sick—when a community’s immunity barrier breaks down. The film chronicles a 2013 measles outbreak in Brooklyn, New York, in which 58 people fell ill, including two pregnant women. Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, offers the physician’s perspective on the vulnerable immune systems of young children, the history of vaccines, and how diseases re-emerge when immunization rates decrease.
Some parents—including a number of new mothers interviewed in San Francisco—are concerned about the risk of adverse reactions from vaccination. The film acknowledges that there are very rare risks, but Dr. Brian Zikmund-Fisher, a psychologist and risk specialist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, puts those risks in perspective: You’d need about ten football stadiums, each with 100,000 people, to find a single serious allergic reaction to a vaccine.
NOVA viewers meet Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation, and her daughter Jodie, who has autism. Singer cites the overwhelming scientific evidence refuting a link between vaccines and autism and discusses the lingering effects of a long-discredited study on public perception. The film further explores autism with new science from Dr. Dan Geschwind that reveals its genetic causes. His team and others have pinpointed mutations that affect the wiring of the developing brain—compelling evidence that autism begins in the womb.
VACCINES—CALLING THE SHOTS also follows Dr. Amy Middleman, Adolescent Medicine Specialist at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center as she consults with patients and their parents on the safety and effectiveness of the controversial HPV vaccine, which protects against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus.
We’ll be watching on 10 September!
Dr. Mary Beth Koslap-Petraco, PNP, shares her tips for getting kids off to a healthy start this school year.
Share your ideas for a healthy school year in the comments!
Babies and small children are less able to fight off foodborne and waterborne infections. Little ones who are crawling or walking around and putting things in their mouths increase their exposure risk.
What comes from those infections? Yes, you knew we had to get there. We’re talking poo. The kind that makes you want to pay strangers good money to change an oozing diaper.
But, there are a few things we can do to help prevent the big D.
Breastfeeding helps eliminate foodborne and waterborne transmission to infants.
Use purified water for drinking, ice cubes, formula, brushing teeth, washing food if eating food raw, or just anytime you’d use water. Purify the water, unless you know the water source is safe.
Wash hands with soap and water frequently each day and certainly before eating anything and before preparing foods, after changing diapers, after going to the restroom, after coming in from outdoor activities (this includes shopping!), when you get up in the morning and before going to bed at night. Use soap and water if available and always when you can see any grime on the hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used to help disinfect your hands.
Pacifiers and other items made to go into a baby’s mouth that you bring or buy on the trip need frequent cleaning.
Don’t eat food from street vendors. Make sure all your food is either cooked thoroughly or washed with purified water and, if applicable, peeled.
Dehydration due to diarrhea and vomiting
Infants and young children can easily become dehydrated due to diarrhea and vomiting. They need plenty of liquids each time they have a watery stool or vomit. If you’re unaware of the signs of dehydration, you should read up on it prior to departure. Prevention is the best thing, but just in case, there are commercial oral rehydration solutions, or you can make your own. Here are some suggestions from rehydration.org:
Make sure the rehydration drink has in it starches and/or sugars, a little sodium and some potassium. Breastmilk is great for those nursing, or watery cooked cereal, carrot soup, or rice water is fine as long as they’re made with purified water.
You can make a simple solution yourself by using salt and sugar (molasses, raw sugar or white sugar) and something like orange juice or mashed banana for potassium. Add one teaspoon of salt to eight teaspoons of sugar and stir into a liter of boiled and cooled water, stirring until everything is dissolved.
Fresh fruit juice, weak tea or even simply boiled and cooled water will help, if nothing else is available.
Parasites in the soil
There are parasites in sand and soil where children love to play. They should wear enclosed footwear and play on a tarp or covering. Don’t put clothing or towels on the ground to dry, and iron anything you hang out to dry before using. All of these precautions are dependent on your destination, of course.
Children are more likely to be bitten by animals yet less likely to tell parents about the bite. Remind the children to stay away from animals and to report any wound immediately. If a child is bitten or wounded, wash the area with soap and water and take the child in for evaluation. If possible, bring the animal in as well.
Water and infectious agents
Children and adults can pick up illnesses or infections by swallowing or simply being in contact with contaminated water. If you don’t know the area, don’t swim in fresh, unchlorinated water and, depending on where you travel, be careful with washing in the bathtub.
Well, that’s about it. We’ve come to the end of our Travel in Good Health series. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and, hey, maybe we’ll meet you on the road somewhere and do some trading. Ten diapers for a barf bag? Anybody?