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Flu vaccine

Importance of Infant Immunization

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Image is from New Health Advisor

Immunization is one of the most important achievements in the last century. It has saved countless lives while preventing millions of people from getting sick or incurring a lifelong disability. It is a testament to the power of vaccines that many childhood diseases that often resulted in hospitalization or death are now preventable.

It is only natural for a parent to want a good life for their child, a life free of ailments or pain. Immunization is the single most effective way of protecting a child from many serious diseases that exist today. The decision to immunize your child, therefore, is a crucial one since there is no alternative to it.

The Immunization schedule

The vaccine schedule is recommended by the AAP, CDC and most physicians. It is always reviewed on a yearly basis by a group of qualified healthcare providers and changed as necessary based on the latest research.

For your child to be fully protected, they have to be immunized starting at 2 months of age, then 4 months, 6 months and 18 months. Immunization starts at two months since this is the safest time to start the immunization process. Those babies who are not immunized at this time stand a huge chance of developing serious harm if they get sick within the first 2 years of their lives.

It is highly advisable to follow the immunizations schedule keenly and get all the shots on time. Delaying the vaccination process can be risky. Below are some of the reasons why it is best to follow the immunization schedule;

  • It will ensure your child is protected as soon as it can be.
  • The routine schedule is based on the best science today and is safe and works well.
  • Your child will get used to the needle and this will reduce their anxiety.
  • The risk factor for side effects remains the same whether you take one vaccine or four.
  • You will have fewer visits to get your child’s shots if you follow the schedule.

Common Infant Immunization Myths

  • Vaccines cause autism- there has not been any direct link that has been established between autism and vaccines.
  • Vaccines can cause serious side effects- since it is always mandatory for a child to have a physical evaluation by a trained medical professional, it is rare to have a child develop an allergy or fatality.
  • Vaccines are not needed- Vaccination has led to a decrease in serious diseases that are fatal and a drop in vaccination will lead to a resurgence of these diseases.
  • It is okay to skip some vaccines- once a vaccination is skipped, the only thing protecting the child is the immunity of the people around them.
  • Infant immunization is too early- children are immunized at an early age since this is the time they are at risk of having fatal complications.

Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child

  1. It can save your child’s life- vaccination can now protect your child from more diseases than ever before, all thanks to the progress being made in science. A good example is polio which used to be one of the most feared diseases in the world and now there are no reports of it.
  2. Vaccines are safe and effective- after much review from doctors and scientists, vaccines have proven to be safe.
  3. Immunization protects those around you- there are still cases of babies who die from vaccine-preventable diseases because they are too young to be vaccinated, by ensuring you and your kin are vaccinated, you are also protecting these babies.
  4. Saves time and money by saving you from prolonged disabilities.

 

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Understanding the Importance of Immunization

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Image is from Impatient Optimists

Many health professionals recommend immunization for protection against diseases. Immunizations are where you get vaccinated with weakened antigens to prevent you from getting that illness. It works by making your immune system produce antibodies to fight off that particular infection ensuring you get added immunity.

These diseases you are vaccinated against, are usually infectious and can be difficult to treat. Immunizations are usually given to children at a young age. There are vaccination campaigns encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated and for adults who were not vaccinated to get their vaccines. However, there is need to understand the importance of immunization and why every child should get vaccinated as early as possible.

  • Immunizations save the lives of children. New-born children get their immunity from their mothers. However, the immunity runs out within the first year, and they become more susceptible to getting infections. Through getting vaccinated, children get protection from diseases that were once fatal. Some diseases have been eradicated as a result of these vaccinations.
  • Vaccinations are effective, and there are no serious side effects after getting immunized. All vaccines undergo extensive testing and review to ensure they are safe for administration. Other than the initial soreness at the entry point, it is extremely rare for people to get seriously affected by the vaccine.
  • By getting all your vaccines, you protect those around you. Immunizations make sure your immune system is strong enough to fight infections. As a result, you will not spread infections to those who have weaker immune systems. Children and adults who are not vaccinated can pass these dangerous diseases to those who have compromised immune systems like those who have cancer or do not respond to vaccines or children who are too young to get immunized. These diseases can result in long-term complications or even death.
  • Immunizations save you time and money that would have been spent treating diseases that are preventable. In some schools and child care facilities, children who are not vaccinated are denied attendance since they pose a risk to the other children. When they get an infection, you will have to spend a lot of money getting treatments that can be avoided at an early age. You will also have to take time from work to take care of the child, and all this would have been prevented by getting the child vaccinated at an early age.
  • Immunization also protects future generations by eradicating very dangerous infections. Through vaccines, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, and children no longer need to get the vaccination since the disease does not exist. The risk of pregnant women passing rubella to their unborn children has also greatly reduced as a result of getting vaccinated at an early age. Through immunization, other diseases are expected to be eradicated making it safer for future generations.
  • Since you interact with different people, it is easy to get infections if you are not vaccinated. Immunizations ensure that you can safely interact with foreigners without the risk of getting diseases they might unknowingly be carrying.
  • Vaccinations reduce the risk of disease outbreaks, especially in school. Outbreaks usually occur when children are not immunized.
  • Vaccination gives children protection against serious illnesses and the complications that arise as a result of these illnesses. These complications include paralysis, deformities, amputations, brain damage and in severe cases death.

It is recommended to ensure children get immunized at an early age to reduce the chances of getting an infection. Through immunization, you get increased immunity without having to get sick first.

 

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Keep Your Family Healthy This Holiday Season

Young mother and her daughters by a fireplace on Christmas
Once you or your family is infected with the flu virus, it is not easy to treat the infection. Just as in many other conditions, prevention of the diseases is the surest way to stay safe. With just a careful attention to hygiene, you can prevent the various flu viruses from reaching your family. As well, the inclusion of immunity boosters can come in handy for you and your family. Moreover, you can always avoid a full blown illness by acting quickly when you notice the first symptom. Here are some of the ways to prevent the flu from catching your family.

Taking up good hygiene practices

There is a myriad of means to observe proper hygiene and consequently keep off the flu and other diseases. One such way is by ensuring you wash your hands. It is an easy way to prevent both contraction and the spreading of the flu virus. Washing hands reduce significantly the proliferation of bacteria ant the flu virus from cold surfaces. Ensure your family follows these steps in washing their hands

  • Before applying soap to your hands, ensure you wet them. Scrub your palms vigorously for about twenty seconds ensuring that under your nails, the spaces between your fingers and the back of your palm are reached properly.
  • Use running water to rinse your hands and use a clean towel to dry them
  • If you can’t locate and soap and water, rub your hand on a hand sanitizer.

Ensure everyone in the family covers their nose and mouth whenever they cough or sneeze.

This should be done by putting their hands in both the nose and mouth whenever there is the need to sneeze. Doing this will considerably mitigate the risk of spreading the germs and viruses

  • Each time you develop the urge to sneeze or cough consider doing so into the crook of your elbow. This will help to avoid contaminating you’re going all over spreading germs to other people.
  • After doing so, throw away the tissue you used immediately and embark on the hand washing process.

Sanitize the places you share

Cold and flu virus spread very easily especially on shared surfaces and spaces such as bathrooms and kitchen. Disinfecting these areas of your house will take you a long way in ensuring the flu virus does not spread.

  • Focus the cleaning on shared areas including bathroom sinks, kitchen counters toilets and the kitchen sink. As well, do not forget the door handles.
  • There are a variety of surface disinfectants available in local stores. In shopping for the disinfectants, you may want to consider one that will provide you will protection against the several strains of the virus.

Boosting your immunity

Even as there is no cure for influenza, you can always get a vaccination against the disease on a yearly basis. This can significantly help to strengthen your immunity against the influenza virus during cold seasons. Ask your doctor whether getting the vaccination would be a good idea for you. When opting for the vaccination, you may want to consider the following in mind

  • Ensure you get the vaccine yearly. The vaccine you had in the previous year can never carry over into the next year.
  • Be aware that you may feel some soreness at the injection site.
  • Report to your doctor any side effects including fever, soreness and body aches.
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Eating Correctly During Sick Season

Sick woman

Image is from Huffington Post

When winter arrives, you know it’s the flu season. In this season, be sure to brace yourself to avoid the disease. While some people will still go for their regular workouts in the gym, it is not recommended. However, you must maintain your health not only during the flu season by all year round. You do this by not only regular and consistent fitness regime, but also a healthy diet that keeps you strong and healthy as well as helps you in fighting the disease. You may have probably wondered how can keep yourself healthy during this season. It is possible to take steps to prevent illness and also to avoid the spread to others.

Wash your hands

Foremost before thinking of anything else, you must wash your hands with clean water and ensure they are clean. Regular hand washing is one of the surest methods of avoiding the spread of germs to others. During the winter months, it is cold, and that means flu is all over and can easily be contracted. The following are some of the important tips to note

  • Ensure you are well versed with hand washing techniques. Rub your hands together while running warm water on them for about twenty seconds. Use a mild hand soap to do this.
  • Whenever you touch your mouth or nose, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. As well, ensure you wash your hands before taking any meal.

Eat healthy

The various kinds of foods you take into your body have a significant impact on your overall health. Eating a well-balanced diet is vital as it can help in support of your immune system. Ensure you eat right to assist in the staving off of flu and other winter diseases.

  • Aim at getting multiple servings of vegetables daily. Carrots, parsnips, and turnips are good vegetable servings for winter. You can take them in various forms including roasting them or just mixing them into warnings of soups.
  • Increase your dairy intake. Milk and dairy products contain lots of vitamins including A and B12 which are vital in keeping you healthy during the cold winter.
  • Try to find low-fat milk as well as reduced fat cheese. Greek yogurt and light cottage cheese is another meal you can try as well.

Limit sugar intake

Limiting sugar intake can significantly strengthen your immunity system. If you have a diet which is low in refined sugar can be of great assistance in getting rid of the influenza virus and colds. These are some of the steps you can take to ensure you limit your sugar intake

  • Watch what you are drinking. Drinks such as sodas and fruits drinks do contain large amounts of sugar.
  • Switched to iced tea or water. These beverages will quench your thirst minus adding sugar to your diet.
  • Whenever you feel that you have a craving for anything sweet, try a piece of fruit. It contains natural sugar that is better for your body than the refined sugars.

Try home remedies

Zinc can be of great help in speeding your recovery. Another important thing you can try is essential oils. They have a myriad of healing properties. Just ensure they are properly mixed. Make a mixture of rosemary, peppermint lemon, eucalyptus and lemon oils. You will need water to mix a few drops of each.

Flu can be very discomforting. Use the nuggets above to help you with quick healing.

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Myths About Flu Shots

Syringe

There are many myths surrounding the flu vaccine that may prevent people from getting their annual flu shot. This can have dire consequences for at-risk populations such as seniors, infants, and the immuno-compromised. At best, the flu is no fun. At worst, it can be deadly. Why then do people skip or avoid a flu shot?

Help protect these vulnerable populations by increasing your knowledge of the of how the flu vaccine works and what the risks are of taking and avoiding the annual vaccine by separating fact from fiction.

Here are some of the most common myths about flu shots.

MYTH: The flu shot doesn’t work.

The CDC cites statistics showing a 74% reduction in pediatric intensive care admissions by vaccinating against the flu from 2010-2012. A 2016 study on seniors showed a 57% reduction in influenza hospitalizations. Studies also show significant reductions in severe influenza illness in people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease(52%).

The benefits go beyond these at-risk populations, with a myriad of studies showing significant reductions in flu-related illness based on vaccinating yearly against the flu.

MYTH: I got sick anyway.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they got a flu vaccine, yet still got the flu–they might be right. That doesn’t mean the flu vaccine didn’t work though. Flu vaccines are based on the previous year’s most common and virulent strains of influenza. With so many influenza strains, not every option will be protected against, especially as viruses mutate and new strains arise.

While it can’t catch every flu out there, the flu vaccine will help protect you from the worst known cases.

MYTH: The flu shot gives you the flu.

The flu shot gives you inactivated viruses. This form of virus cannot be spread (another common myth). This virus form also will not give you an active flu infection. The shot does, however, stimulate your immune response (which is a good thing). Many people will experience a mild reaction from this.

If you get a severe cold right after getting the flu shot, you’re timeline just doesn’t match up. As the flu vaccine takes a week or two to provide full protection, it isn’t responsible for your cold. Chances are, you were already getting sick and didn’t know it. The flu vaccine also does not protect against influenza, not other viruses such as rhinoviruses.

MYTH: The flu isn’t that bad.

Actual influenza is more than just a bad cold, although it may produce similar symptoms including sore throat, cough, and fever. In the United States alone 36,000 people die every year and over 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu annually.

MYTH: If I get sick, I can just get antibiotics.

Antibiotics work great for bacterial infections, unfortunately the flu isn’t an infection – it’s a virus. If you do catch the flu, there are treatments– but no one-size cure all.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.

There’s no need to go into detail here. Vaccines do not cause autism. According to the CDC, vaccines and vaccine ingredients do not cause autism.

MYTH: It’s too late in the season to get vaccinated.

Is it too late to get sick? Then it’s not too late to get vaccinated. While getting vaccinated at the beginning of the season provides you the best option to build immunity early, getting vaccinated at any time throughout flu season will still provide protection should you come in contact with the influenza virus.

For more information on flu shots, talk to your local health practitioner.

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Understanding the Swine Flu

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Image is from Flowing Data

Obtaining A Diagnosis

The only way to accurately diagnose swine flu is through a flu test. This is because the symptoms of swine flu look exactly the same as those found in conventional strains of influenza. Even differences of severity aren’t always indicators of one strain or another. While it is possible to see increased symptomatic characteristics stemming from swine flu, it’s just as possible to acquire this strain and feel as though you’ve contracted a regular bout of the flu. How you are affected will depend largely upon your personal constitution.

The extremely young and extremely old, like with conventional strains of the flu, will be at increased risk; likely experiencing more severe symptoms. This is because older and younger populations have immune systems which aren’t as strong as those in the prime of life. That said, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle replete with regular contact to diverse people groups, lack of exercise, and a ubiquity of vice (like smoking and drinking), you’re at an increased risk of contracting more severe influenza strains.

A Distinct History

There are actually quite a few different kinds of swine flu, including:

  • H1N1
  • H1N2
  • H2N1
  • H3N1
  • H3N2
  • H2N3

Primarily, the strain commonly referred to as “Swine Flu” is the H1N1 virus. This is that which caused a pandemic which quickly became global seven years ago, in 2009. Since then, this strain of flu has become seasonal in humans, though it still regularly circulates in swine populations. Thankfully, if you’re planning on eating pork, so long as any pork products you consume have been properly prepared, you won’t get the virus. Proper preparation includes cooking; so if you like your bacon soft and rubbery, you might have to give that up to avoid swine flu.

Avoiding Swine Flu

While properly prepared pork will not get you sick, it’s very possible to acquire the virus through poorly prepared pork products. If you can tone down your pork intake during flu season, it’s a good idea; even though you likely won’t catch the flu this way. It’s more likely to get transmitted by a sneeze, a cough, a loud phlegmy laugh, or contacting a door handle/table/hand-rail that’s been touched by an infected individual. Regular hygiene practices go a long way toward preventing influenza. That means washing your hands when you’ve come into contact with areas that may have been compromised, eating a diet high in non-processed foods that include fruits and vegetables, regularly exercising, and retaining a high level of fluids.

Additional Preventative Measures

Getting a swine flu vaccine can definitely help reduce your risk of contracting this specific strain of the flu. But to get that vaccine, you should be advised that peak health is to be recommended. A vaccine initiates an immune system response which bears some characteristics of the sickness itself. This is because an inert (or weakened) antigen is injected into the body, giving the immune system a chance to deal with it and prepare for a future incursion of the same.

Times Of Maximum Risk

Flu season conventionally begins toward the end of September, though it can begin as early as late August. It usually lasts through early spring. Conventionally, you’ll find that influenza season picks up at the end of Summer/the middle of Autumn. Several things which contribute are regular vacation travels, the new school year, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving where disparate people groups regularly mingle. For you and your family, retaining good eating and fitness habits, as well as a proper inoculation regimen, are great ways to combat this increasingly prominent strain of the influenza virus.

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