NFID Shares New Meningitis PSA

16 06 2016

NFID has a new PSA that we love.

There are lots of things in life that we may regret, but protecting ourselves against meningitis isn’t one of them. Get immunized against the various strains of meningitis — your life is precious.

Share the video, save a life!





Immunize Your Kids Against Meningitis B

8 06 2016

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Measles – What’s The Big Deal?

2 06 2016

Why are public health people excited about a handful of measles cases?

Right now there’s an outbreak in Arizona. As of the moment I’m writing these words, outbreak in this instance means 11 cases. Doesn’t sound like a big deal.

But, there are reasons for concern.

To put some perspective on this, prior to 1980, before most kids were getting immunized against measles, infection caused 2.6 million deaths each year.

Measles is wildly contagious. Let’s say I’m infected with measles—I pop into the local Walmart’s restroom, do my thing, wash my hands, and cough before I go out the door. Everyone who enters that restroom for the next two hours will be exposed to the virus, which is hanging in the air and also waiting on the countertops, taps, and doorknob.

Just walk into the restroom and you’re exposed. It’s that easy to pick up.

Protection comes through immunization, although there are some who have been immunized who will still become infected. No vaccine protects 100% of the people 100% of the time.

Keeping your hands clean and away from your eyes, nose, and mouth also helps to prevent infection.

When you have measles, you will almost surely get a rash. What most of us don’t realize is measles can bring so much more than a few red spots:

  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling of the brain, which may lead to deafness or intellectual disability
  • SSPE – a fatal disease which lurks in the body for years after the initial measles infection disappears
  • Death

When you can become infected by simply breathing the air an infected person passed through two hours ago, it’s reason enough to get excited.

Make sure your family is protected through immunization, and check with your healthcare provider if you’re not clear about your family’s immunization history.

Preventing measles is worth a minute of our time.

 

 

by Trish Parnell





HCPs, Clean Your Hands Please!

24 05 2016

It’s hard to believe the number of posters, lectures, threats, and gimmicks that are produced each year just to get healthcare professionals to clean their hands.

Why, oh why won’t caring nurses, doctors, physical therapists, and others who tend to our medical care clean their hands as often as they should?

We know there are some who prevent infections by keeping their hands clean throughout the day. Thank you for that. This discussion isn’t about your habits, but the poor habits of some of your colleagues.

Common excuses for not cleaning hands are no time, no sinks around when you need them, patient care is more important than hand hygiene, can’t find soap and/or paper towels, simply forgot, or don’t agree with the recommendations.

CDC says that “Studies show that some healthcare providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Healthcare providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care.”

That breaks down to cleaning your hands eight times an hour on average, or once every 7.5 minutes. Of course, that number varies depending on your duties during a shift.

No matter what the precise number, we can all agree that healthcare professionals need to clean their hands a lot while at work.

On the one hand, it seems that such repetition would form strong habits. But on the other hand, if repetition isn’t there, if hands aren’t cleaned every single time a patient’s room is entered and every single time one is finished with a patient, habits won’t be acquired.

Acquire the habit. Please.

provider-infographic-2-know-how-germs-spread

 

 

 

by Trish Parnell





Immunizing Against Meningitis B

12 05 2016

I have two children—one is in high school and the other is in college.

It’s time for the older one to leave her pediatrician and connect with an adult doctor. But before waving goodbye to her childhood medical home, I asked her pediatrician to immunize both girls against meningitis B.

Meningitis (meningococcal disease) can be caused by any one of several germs, or fungi, or even cancer.

Mening B Immunization

We can’t easily prevent all cases of meningitis, but there are vaccines to stop infections from certain germs.

We have good vaccines that protect against several strains of bacterial meningitis, but until recently, we didn’t have any approved vaccines to protect against meningitis B.

This strain has caused outbreaks at colleges around the country because the young people aren’t protected.

In the US, we now have approved vaccines for use against meningitis B. They require two or three doses, depending on which one you use.

Because the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) doesn’t yet recommend that all young people be immunized against meningitis B, the girls’ pediatrician doesn’t stock the vaccine in her office.

When I told her I wanted the girls protected, she ordered it and we received a call from her office after a few days, telling us it was in.

I also checked with my insurance company to make sure they would cover the cost of the vaccine, and they said yes. That was a relief! The price to fully vaccinate both girls would be a hit to my pocketbook.

After vaccination, the girls complained of sore arms for a couple of days, and we go back in a few weeks for a second shot, but I have to say, it’s a load off of my mind and I’ll be happy when they’re fully protected.

We’re lucky that insurance covers the vaccine, and that we have insurance.

It’s worth a call to your older child’s healthcare provider to see if he or she has received the meningitis B vaccine. If not, please get your child protected against this rare and awful disease. You know the old saying: Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

 

 

 

By Trish Parnell

 





The Informed Parent

28 03 2016

The Informed Parent is about to hit the streets, and it’s perfect for parents and parents-to-be.

Science writers Tara Haelle and Emily Willingham, PhD, pooled their strong individual talents and produced “a science-based resource for your child’s first four years.”

It is definitely that, and wow, what a resource.The Informed Parent

I got my hands on an advanced copy and started flipping through it last night. It’s a condensed encyclopedia covering everything from Accutane to marijuana, and poky labor to vasospasms.

Are you concerned about childhood obesity and diabetes? These days, that’s not an irrational worry. Haelle and Willingham interviewed experts in the field, dug deep into available research, and then broke it all down for us so that we can understand the science and make informed decisions for our kids. Well, it is aptly named The Informed Parent.

Are you breastfeeding and find you have, oh, about nine million questions? Tongue-ties and lip-ties are discussed, D-MER (dysphoric milk ejection reflex) is explained, and secondary lactation insufficiency is explored, along with so many other issues that can crop up about or around breastfeeding.

This book covers your child from the time he or she was a wishful thought in your head through gestation, birth, infancy (possibly the scariest time for new parents), solid foods, crawling, walking (waddling, really), sunscreen and mosquito repellent, air pollution, TV, mobile devices, discipline, toilet training (we all have our favorite toilet stories, don’t we?), preschool, and, well, it’s easier if you simply read the book.

It’s 309 pages of reliable, science-based information.

This is my new gift for parents of young ones, and parents-to-be.

 

 

by Trish Parnell





New Year, New Immunization Schedule

18 02 2016

Immunizations are good for grams and gramps, moms and pops, and little ‘uns of all ages. But, wow it’s hard to keep up with who’s supposed to get what, and when they’re supposed to get it.

Every year about this time, the CDC puts out a revised immunization schedule. I’m not sure how many people wait on the edge of their seats for the schedule to come out. I think it’s one of those things that we should care about, that some of us actually do care about, but that’s not as exciting as waiting for the next Star Wars movie to come out.

Exciting or not, immunizations do help keep us healthy. They’re important! So, let’s briefly go over the changes for this year.

For all of us, the usual vaccines are on the schedule, plus there are a few vaccines that need particular attention.

In addition to the existing meningitis vaccines, there are currently two vaccines that protect against meningitis B. The ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) approved the recommendation that kids 10 years of age and older who are at higher risk for infection should get vaccinated against this strain of meningitis.

Young people ages 16-23 years who are not at higher risk for infection may get vaccinated, and should check with their providers to see about doing so.

We strongly encourage young people to protect themselves against meningitis B through immunization, unless their providers determine there are medical reasons not to do so.

There is a vaccine that protects against nine strains of the human papillomavirus. There are also vaccines available that protect against fewer strains of HPV, but we believe it’s important to protect kids as thoroughly as possible. We suggest you talk to your provider to see which HPV vaccine you or those you love should get. This vaccine is typically given between ages 11 and 12, but as with all vaccines, you can usually follow a catch-up schedule if you miss some immunizations.

There are more vaccines on the schedule. What you should get depends on many factors—check with your healthcare provider about what you need to stay up-to-date on your immunizations.

For a complete list of current recommendations, click here.

 

 

by Trish Parnell