Tag Archives: Vaccination

Immunisation

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Definition:
Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual’s immune system becomes fortified against an agent (known as the immunogen).It  is the process whereby a person is made immune or resistant to an infectious disease.

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Immunization is done through various techniques, most commonly vaccination. Vaccines against microorganisms that cause diseases can prepare the body’s immune system, thus helping to fight or prevent an infection. The fact that mutations can cause cancer cells to produce proteins or other molecules that are known to the body forms the theoretical basis for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Other molecules can be used for immunization as well, for example in experimental vaccines against nicotine (NicVAX) or the hormone ghrelin in experiments to create an obesity vaccine.

Before the introduction of vaccines, the only way people became immune to an infectious disease was by actually getting the disease and surviving it. Smallpox (variola) was prevented in this way by inoculation, which produced a milder effect than the natural disease. It was introduced into England from Turkey by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in 1721 and used by Zabdiel Boylston in Boston the same year. In 1798 Edward Jenner introduced inoculation with cowpox (smallpox vaccine), a much safer procedure. This procedure, referred to as vaccination, gradually replaced smallpox inoculation, now called variolation to distinguish it from vaccination. Until the 1880s vaccine/vaccination referred only to smallpox, but Louis Pasteur developed immunisation methods for chicken cholera and anthrax in animals and for human rabies, and suggested that the terms vaccine/vaccination should be extended to cover the new procedures. This can cause confusion if care is not taken to specify which vaccine is used e.g. measles vaccine or influenza vaccine.

When this system is exposed to molecules that are foreign to the body, called non-self, it will orchestrate an immune response, and it will also develop the ability to quickly respond to a subsequent encounter because of immunological memory. This is a function of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, by exposing an animal to an immunogen in a controlled way, its body can learn to protect itself: this is called active immunization.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

The most important elements of the immune system that are improved by immunization are the T cells, B cells, and the antibodies B cells produce. Memory B cells and memory T cells are responsible for a swift response to a second encounter with a foreign molecule. Passive immunization is direct introduction of these elements into the body, instead of production of these elements by the body itself.

Immunization is a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases and is estimated to avert between 2 and 3 million deaths each year. It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations. It has clearly defined target groups; it can be delivered effectively through outreach activities; and vaccination does not require any major lifestyle change.

Immunizations are definitely less risky and an easier way to become immune to a particular disease than risking a milder form of the disease itself. They are important for both adults and children in that they can protect us from the many diseases out there. Through the use of immunizations, some infections and diseases have almost completely been eradicated throughout the United States and the World. One example is polio. Thanks to dedicated health care professionals and the parents of children who vaccinated on schedule, polio has been eliminated in the U.S. since 1979. Polio is still found in other parts of the world so certain people could still be at risk of getting it. This includes those people who have never had the vaccine, those who didn’t receive all doses of the vaccine, or those traveling to areas of the world where polio is still prevalent.

The Immunization can be achieved in an active or passive manner:
Vaccination is an active form of immunization.

Active immunization/vaccination has been named one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.

Active immunization:.click & see
Active immunization can occur naturally when a person comes in contact with, for example, a microbe. The immune system will eventually create antibodies and other defenses against the microbe. The next time, the immune response against this microbe can be very efficient; this is the case in many of the childhood infections that a person only contracts once, but then is immune.

Artificial active immunization is where the microbe, or parts of it, are injected into the person before they are able to take it in naturally. If whole microbes are used, they are pre-treated.

The importance of immunization is so great that the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named it one of the “Ten Great Public Health Achievements in the 20th Century”.  Live attenuated vaccines have decreased pathogenicity. Their effectiveness depends on the immune systems ability to replicate and elicits a response similar to natural infection. It is usually effective with a single dose. Examples of live, attenuated vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella, MMR, yellow fever, varicella, rotavirus, and influenza (LAIV).

Passive immunization:……...click & see
Passive immunization is where pre-synthesized elements of the immune system are transferred to a person so that the body does not need to produce these elements itself. Currently, antibodies can be used for passive immunization. This method of immunization begins to work very quickly, but it is short lasting, because the antibodies are naturally broken down, and if there are no B cells to produce more antibodies, they will disappear.

Passive immunization occurs physiologically, when antibodies are transferred from mother to fetus during pregnancy, to protect the fetus before and shortly after birth.

Artificial passive immunization is normally administered by injection and is used if there has been a recent outbreak of a particular disease or as an emergency treatment for toxicity, as in for tetanus. The antibodies can be produced in animals, called “serum therapy,” although there is a high chance of anaphylactic shock because of immunity against animal serum itself. Thus, humanized antibodies produced in vitro by cell culture are used instead if available.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunization
http://www.who.int/topics/immunization/en/

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Warning to Parents: This Vaccine Linked to Sudden Infant Death…

The hepatitis B vaccine is given to U.S. infants at birth. But there is impressive evidence that for a preventive measure, hepatitis B vaccine is remarkable for the frequency, variety, and severity of complications from its use.

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Hepatitis B vaccine has been shown in many peer-reviewed research papers to be associated with numerous infant deaths in the U.S. and Europe, multiple sclerosis and numerous chronic autoimmune disorders.

According to Child Health Safety, the U.S. government admitted as much when a Court found in favor of a plaintiff (deceased by the time the decision was made) who had developed systemic lupus erythematosus:

“Tambra Harris … filed a petition for compensation alleging that she suffered certain injuries as a result of receiving a vaccination. Among the injuries petitioner alleged that she had suffered as a result of receiving a hepatitis B vaccination was systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) … A lump sum of $475,000.00 in the form of a check payable to petitioner as Administratrix of the Estate of Tambra Harris.”

Since parents’ concerns about childhood vaccine safety have greatly increased during the past five years, a new report also suggests that pediatricians and family physicians should figure out ways to spend LESS time talking with them about it.

According to American Medical News:

“Because of the amount of time needed to address immunization safety for these parents, there is a larger burden on pediatricians and family physicians to address these concerns during well-child appointments.”

Resources:
* Child Health Safety April 25, 2011
*American Journal of Preventive Medicine May 2011; 40(5):548-55
*American Medical News May 2, 2011

Posted By Dr. Mercola | May 19 2011

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Croup

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Alternative Names: Viral croup; Laryngotracheobronchitis – acute; Spasmodic croup

Definition:
Croup  is a respiratory condition that is usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airway. The infection leads to swelling inside the throat, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classical symptoms of a “barking” cough, stridor, and hoarseness. It may produce mild, moderate, or severe symptoms, which often worsen at night.

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The barking cough of croup is the result of inflammation around the vocal cords (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). When the cough reflex forces air through this narrowed passage, the vocal cords vibrate with a barking noise. Because children have small airways to begin with, those younger than age 5 are most susceptible to having more-marked symptoms with croup.

Croup typically occurs between the ages of six months and six years, but the peak age is two and it’s less common after three. Children with asthma may get repeated episodes.

Croup usually isn’t serious. Most cases of croup can be treated at home. Sometimes, your child will need prescription medication.

Once due primarily to diphtheria, this cause is now primarily of historical significance in the Western world due to the success of vaccination.

Croup affects about 15% of children, and usually presents between the ages of 6 months and 5–6 years. It accounts for about 5% of hospital admissions in this population. In rare cases, it may occur in children as young as 3 months and as old as 15 years. Males are affected 50% more frequently than are females, and there is an increased prevalence in autumn (fall).

History:
The word croup comes from the Early Modern English verb croup, meaning “to cry hoarsely”; the name was first applied to the disease in Scotland and popularized in the 18th century. Diphtheritic croup has been known since the time of Homer’s Ancient Greece and it was not until 1826 that viral croup was differentiated from croup due to diphtheria by Bretonneau. Viral croup was thus called “faux-croup” by the French, as “croup” then referred to a disease caused by the diphtheria bacteria. Croup due to diphtheria has become nearly unknown due to the advent of effective immunization

Symptoms:
Croup is characterized by a “barking” cough, stridor, hoarseness, and difficult breathing which usually worsens at night. The “barking” cough is often described as resembling the call of a seal or sea lion.

As the cough gets more frequent, the child may have labored breathing or stridor (a harsh, crowing noise made during inspiration).The stridor is worsened by agitation or crying, and if it can be heard at rest, it may indicate critical narrowing of the airways. As croup worsens, stridor may decrease considerably.

Other symptoms include fever, coryza (symptoms typical of the common cold), and chest wall indrawing. Drooling or a very sick appearance indicate other medical conditions

Rarely, croup can last for weeks. Croup that lasts longer than a week or recurs frequently should be discussed with your doctor to determine the cause.

Causes:
Viral croup is the most common. Other possible causes include bacteria, allergies, and inhaled irritants. Acid reflux from the stomach can trigger croup.

Croup is usually (75% of the time) caused by parainfluenza viruses, but RSV, measles, adenovirus, and influenza can all cause croup.

Before the era of immunizations and antibiotics, croup was a dreaded and deadly disease, usually caused by the diphtheria bacteria. Today, most cases of croup are mild. Nevertheless, it can still be dangerous.

Croup tends to appear in children between 3 months and 5 years old, but it can happen at any age. Some children are prone to croup and may get it several times.

In the northern hemisphere, it is most common between October and March, but can occur at any time of the year.

In severe cases of croup, there may also be a bacterial superinfection of the upper airway. This condition is called bacterial tracheitis and requires hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. If the epiglottis becomes infected, the entire windpipe can swell shut, a potentially fatal condition called epiglottitis.

Diagnosis:
Croup is a clinical diagnosis. The first step is to exclude other obstructive conditions of the upper airway, especially epiglottitis, an airway foreign body, subglottic stenosis, angioedema, retropharyngeal abscess, and bacterial tracheitis.

A frontal X-ray of the neck is not routinely performed, but if it is done, it may show a characteristic narrowing of the trachea, called the steeple sign. The steeple sign is suggestive of the diagnosis, but is absent in half of cases.

Other investigations (such as blood tests and viral culture) are discouraged as they may cause unnecessary agitation and thus worsen the stress on the compromised airway. While viral cultures, obtained via nasopharyngeal aspiration, can be used to confirm the exact cause, these are usually restricted to research settings. Bacterial infection should be considered if a person does not improve with standard treatment, at which point further investigations may be indicated

Severity:
The most commonly used system for classifying the severity of croup is the Westley score. It is primarily used for research purposes rather than in clinical practice. It is the sum of points assigned for five factors: level of consciousness, cyanosis, stridor, air entry, and retractions.The points given for each factor is listed in the table to the right, and the final score ranges from 0 to 17.

*A total score of ? 2 indicates mild croup. The characteristic barking cough and hoarseness may be present, but there is no stridor at rest.
*A total score of 3–5 is classified as moderate croup. It presents with easily heard stridor, but with few other signs.
*A total score of 6–11 is severe croup. It also presents with obvious stridor, but also features marked chest wall indrawing.
*A total score of ? 12 indicates impending respiratory failure. The barking cough and stridor may no longer be prominent at this stage.
85% of children presenting to the emergency department have mild disease; severe croup is rare (<1%).

Treatment :-
Most cases of croup can be safely managed at home, but call your health care provider for guidance, even in the middle of the night.

Cool or moist air might bring relief. You might first try bringing the child into a steamy bathroom or outside into the cool night air. If you have a cool air vaporizer, set it up in the child’s bedroom and use it for the next few nights.

Acetaminophen can make the child more comfortable and lower a fever, lessening his or her breathing needs. Avoid cough medicines unless you discuss them with your doctor first.

You may want your child to be seen. Steroid medicines can be very effective at promptly relieving the symptoms of croup. Medicated aerosol treatments, if necessary, are also powerful.

Serious illness requires hospitalization. Increasing or persistent breathing difficulty, fatigue, bluish coloration of the skin, or dehydration indicates the need for medical attention or hospitalization.

Medications are used to help reduce upper airway swelling. This may include aerosolized racemic epinephrine, corticosteroids taken by mouth, such as dexamethasone and prednisone, and inhaled or injected forms of other corticosteroids. Oxygen and humidity may be provided in an oxygen tent placed over a crib. A bacterial infection requires antibiotic therapy.

Increasing obstruction of the airway requires intubation (placing a tube through the nose or mouth through the larynx into the main air passage to the lungs). Intravenous fluids are given for dehydration. In some cases, corticosteroids are prescribed.

Alternative Treatments :-
Since most croup cases are mild in severity, over the counter treatments are often used. These treatments include ointments such as Vick’s or other menthol creams. These often are used to open up the airways. Other over the counter treatments include humidifiers to keep the humidity up in a room and lessen the chances of the airways becoming further inflamed or irritated.

Other methods of breaking croup attacks include hot shower exposure and cold air exposure. In the hot shower method, the shower is used as a sauna, in that the shower is running but people sit outside of it, taking in the warm, humid air. This method can be very effective when used in ten minute increments. Cuddling or reading to the child can limit the stress that is on the child during such a treatment. Cold or cool air exposure is another very effective alternative treatment. This method of treatment relies on the idea that the inflamed tissues will cool and shrink when exposed to cool air. Since most croup cases occur during the fall or winter seasons, this is often achieved simply by going outside or driving with the windows rolled down.

Lifestyle and home remedies:
Croup often runs its course within three to seven days. In the meantime, keep your child comfortable with a few simple measures.

*Stay calm. Comfort or distract your child — cuddle, read a book or play a quiet game. Crying makes breathing more difficult.

*Moisten the air. Use a cool-air humidifier in your child’s bedroom or have your child breathe the warm, moist air in a steamy bathroom. Although researchers have questioned the benefits of humidity as part of emergency treatment for croup, moist air seems to help children breathe easier — especially when croup is mild.

*Get cool. Sometimes breathing fresh, cool air helps. If it’s cool outdoors, wrap your child in a blanket and walk outside for a few minutes.

*Hold your child in an upright position. Sitting upright can make breathing easier. Hold your child on your lap, or place your child in a favorite chair or infant seat.

*Offer fluids. For babies, water, breast milk or formula is fine. For older children, soup or frozen fruit pops may be soothing.

*Encourage resting. Sleep can help your child fight the infection.

*Try an over-the-counter pain reliever. If your child has a fever, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may help. Cough syrup, which doesn’t affect the larynx or trachea, isn’t likely to relieve your child’s cough. Over-the-counter cold preparations are not recommended for children younger than age 5.

Your child’s cough may improve during the day, but don’t be surprised if it returns at night. You may want to sleep near your child or even in the same room so that you can take quick action if your child’s symptoms become severe.

Prognosis:
Viral croup is usually a self-limited disease, but can very rarely result in death from respiratory failure and/or cardiac arrest. Symptoms usually improve within two days, but may last for up to seven days. Other uncommon complications include bacterial tracheitis, pneumonia, and pulmonary edema

Prevention:
To prevent croup, take the same steps you use to prevent colds and flu. Frequent hand washing is most important. Also keep your child away from anyone who’s sick, and encourage your child to cough or sneeze into his or her elbow.

To stave off more-serious infections, keep your child’s immunizations current. The diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and measles vaccines offer protection from some of the rarest — but most dangerous — forms of upper airway infection.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/croup2.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/croup/DS00312
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croup
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003215.htm

http://modernmedicalguide.com/croup-acute-spasmodic-laryngitis/

http://savingmommymoney.com/croup-symptoms-and-cure

http://www.methodsofhealing.com/Healing_Conditions/croup/

http://www.sciencephoto.com/images/download_lo_res.html?id=770500647

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

Eating out, a lot :-..
Q: I eat in restaurants very often as my nature of work requires a lot of travel. Some of the places look unhygienic. What should I do?

A: To protect yourself, drink only mineral water. Preferably carry your own water. Do not eat salads and uncooked vegetables. Immunise yourself against typhoid and hepatitis (jaundice). Protection against hepatitis A requires two injections six months apart. Protection against typhoid requires one injection every three years.

Sleep interrupted :..
Q: I have to get up in the night several times to urinate. Even when I have finished, I feel there is more urine. That is really not the case as no matter how much I try, there is no more flow. I am 62 years old.

A: You may have an enlarged prostate. The organ is situated at the neck of the urethra, the pipe through which urine is passed. As age advances, it can increase in size obstructing free voiding of urine. The problem is usually benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, which is not cancer.

Your doctor can verify the diagnosis by examining you, doing an ultrasound and a blood test. As you wait for the results, you can ease your symptoms by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, passing urine regularly before you actually feel the urge, and staying away from antihistamine medicines.

HPV vaccine
Q: My wife is 32 years old and we have one child. I read about the cervical cancer vaccine and would like to know if she will benefit from it.

A: The guidelines for the human papillovirus vaccine (HPV) advise routine administration for all girls between the ages of nine and 11 years. The decision to vaccinate an older woman should be taken after assessing her risk for previous HPV exposure. There is no test to prove or disprove exposure to the virus. It depends on the woman’s sexual history and that of her male contacts. If she is already exposed, then any benefit from immunisation is likely to be minimal.

Hepatitis B
Q: I live with my aunt and I recently discovered she is hepatitis B positive. What should I do?

A: Check your hepatitis B status by doing a blood test in a recognised laboratory. If you are negative, immediately start on a course of vaccination. The dosage schedule is 0, 28 and 180 days. The injection has to be given in the arm and not the buttocks. But if you are already infected with hepatitis B, consult a hepatologist or gastroenterologist.

Breast lump
Q: My 23-year-old niece has a lump in her breast. The doctor said we could wait and see. But I am worried.

A: Breast cancer is commoner in older women, but it does not mean a young woman cannot develop it. Particularly those women who may be carrying the BRAC1/2 genes, which are linked with a higher incidence of breast cancer, are at risk. If your niece has a lump in the breast, it is better to have it evaluated by another surgeon. She needs an ultrasound / mammogram / biopsy depending on the size of the lump. A “wait and watch” approach is not logical or scientific until the preliminary tests are done.

Milky discharge
Q: My wife has milky discharge from both her nipples. It is seven years since the birth of our last child. She fed him for a year and a half and then the milk stopped by itself.

A: Discharge from both nipples is unlikely to be due to cancer. It can be a side effect of medications like perinorm or domperone. One of the pituitary hormones called prolactin triggers the production of milk. Some pituitary tumours cause excess prolactin secretion and this can lead to milky lateral nipple discharge. Thyroid disorders can also cause the same symptoms. Your wife’s condition needs evaluation.

 

Extra bones
Q: I have pain in the arms. It has been diagnosed as “cervical rib”.

A: Cervical ribs are extra bones attached to the neck vertebrae. They are present in 0.5 per cent of the population. They may cause no symptoms at all. In some individuals, these bones may compress the blood vessels and nerves to the arms. There may be tingling numbness and weakness of the muscles of the hands, particularly at the base of the thumb. In many individuals, it is possible to keep these symptoms at bay with regular exercise. Others may require surgery to remove the extra rib.

 

Scanty beard
Q: I have a scanty beard and want a thicker growth.

A: If you are genetically Oriental it is unlikely that your desire to grow a thick beard will meet with much success. Also, look around at your male relatives. Hair distribution on the face varies from family to family. Just to make sure everything is normal, check your testosterone levels. If that is normal, it means you are out of luck and destined to sport the clean-shaven look.

Source: The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

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Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease

A warning that the swine flu vaccine has been linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the UK Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.
swine flu jab.swine flu jab.jpg-1
The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, was leaked to The Daily Mail, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.

It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.

The letter refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:

•More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu
•The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times
•The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear
•The U.S. Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected
Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.

Source: The Daily Mail August 15, 2009

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