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Posts Tagged ‘dangers of pertussis in infants’

Stories of Polio, Meningitis, HPV, Hepatitis and Pertussis Top 2016 List

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Every Child By Two’s online platforms have reached over 11 million people with evidence based vaccine messaging in 2016.  As we look back at the record number of views and shares there have been on Shot of Prevention blog posts this past year, we’re especially grateful to our blog readers, contributors and subscribers.  

Whether you have shared a post, shared your story, or shared your expertise, know that our growth and success would not have been possible without your support.  Thanks to you, people are referencing our content before making important immunization decisions for themselves and their families.  In these final days of 2016, we hope that you will revisit these top five posts from the past year and share them with others in your social networks.  Together, we can continue to engage more people in these important immunization discussions.

 

1. My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines


Judy Post Polio with SisterIn 1949, Judith contracted polio along with 42,000 other people in the U.S. Judith survived five months in the hospital and multiple surgeries, but sadly 2,720 people died from polio that year.  As Judith bravely shares her story, she explains that it represents an inconvenient truth to people who are in denial about the risks of polio. She is continually shocked by people who refuse vaccines, who refuse to believe she ever suffered with polio, or who actually believe the polio vaccine is part of a government or “big pharma” conspiracy.  By sharing Judith’s story we hope to encourage continued polio vaccination and support of polio eradication worldwide and applaud people like Judith who are courageous enough to speak out in support of vaccines.  To read Judith’s story, click here.

 

2. How My Vaccinated Daughter Died From Meningitis and What I’m Doing About It  


EmilyStillmanEmily Stillman was pronounced brain-dead just 30 hours from the onset of a severe headache.  What they though was a migraine turned out to be meningococcal disease. In this post Emily’s mother Alicia explains that although Emily received a meningococcal vaccine, the MCV4 vaccine she received only protected her against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W and Y.  It did not protect her against serogroup B, which is what caused Emily’s death.  Since Emily’s death, a MenB vaccine has been approved for use.  However, most parents still don’t know it exists and therefore, most students are still not protected.

As the Director of The Emily Stillman Foundation, Alicia Stillman helps educate people about the importance of “complete and total” protection against all serogroups of meningococcal disease.  This means ensuring that teens and young adults receive both meningococcal vaccines; the MCV4 vaccine that protects against serogroups A,C, W and Y, as well as a MenB vaccine series.  To learn more about fully protecting our youth against meningococcal disease, read Alicia’s guest blog here.

 

3. Questioning Whether to Get Your Child the HPV Vaccine? Read This


hpv-fact-vs-fiction-series-1Although the HPV vaccine is one of the most effective ways we have to prevent numerous types of cancer, it is still being grossly underutilized.  As a result of persistent but inaccurate myths circulating on the internet, some parents are more fearful of the HPV vaccine than the human papillomavirus itself.  This is causing them to refuse or delay HPV vaccination for their children.

In this popular blog post, we highlight ten critical facts that address the most common misconceptions about HPV infection and the vaccine that can help prevent this very common infection. To learn more, be sure to read the post here.

 

4. Understanding Why Your Baby Needs a Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth  


 

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There are many misconceptions about hepatitis B and how the infection is transmitted.  Because of this, many parents don’t consider their children to be at risk of infection and so they question the need for a hepatitis B vaccine at birth.  In this post, the Prevent Cancer Foundation explains the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer and discusses ways in which infants and children can unknowingly contract hepatitis B.  Their Think About the Linkeducation campaign suggests that vaccinating infants before they leave the hospital is a critical first step in protecting your newborn from a virus that can lead to cancer later in life.  To learn more about Hepatitis B and the vaccine to prevent it, click here.

 

5. Barbara Loe Fisher is Right.  She’s Also to Blame. 


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Back in the 1980’s, Barbara Loe Fisher claimed that the whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP)  was dangerous and causing too many adverse events.  Her complaints prompted the development of the more purified (acellular) pertussis vaccines that we use today; DTaP for infants, and Tdap for adolescents and adults. While studies have shown that these newer vaccines are not as effective as the old whole cell pertussis vaccine, they are the best protections we have against the dangers of pertussis.

Unfortunately, those who need protection the most are those who are too young to be vaccinated.  Infants are at high risk of severe complications from pertussis, to include hospitalization and death, but babies don’t begin receiving pertussis vaccine until two months of age.  After newborn Calle Van Tornhout contracted pertussis from a hospital nurse at birth, she died at just 37 days of age.  Callie’s death has had her home state of Indiana considering a bill that would mandate pertussis vaccination among health care workers.  But Barbara Loe Fisher is opposed to that as well.  To read more about the history of pertussis vaccines, click here.

 

If you have suggestions for topics you would like us to address in 2016, or you would like to contribute a guest post for publication, please email shotofprevention@gmail.com.  

Don’t miss any of our new posts.   Subscribe to Shot of Prevention by clicking the link at the top right of this page.  You can also “Like” our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page to receive updates on important immunization news and join in our online discussions.   

Thanks again for your continued support and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

After Losing Babies to Pertussis Parents Make Plea for Prevention

January 28, 2016 17 comments

How is it that three families, who’ve never actually met one another, find themselves sharing words of consolation and encouragement at the same time each year?

How is it that these three families are forever bonded by their children, and the courage and compassion they have to share their stories?  

Carter, Callie and Brady were just infants when they had to say goodbye.  But during this week, back in 2010 and 2012, three babies lost their fight to pertussis, (more commonly known as whooping cough) and their families were forever changed.

In 2008, Every Child By Two (ECBT) launched a program called Vaccinate Your Baby, which was inspired in large part by the Romaguera family, who had contacted the organization several years earlier after having lost their baby Gabrielle to pertussis.

In the days and months following the death of Carter, Callie and Brady, the Dube, Van Tornhout and Alcaide families also reached out to Every Child By Two in hopes that they could turn their personal tragedies into a public health mission.

VYF_Full-InfographicToday, as Every Child By Two Parent Advocates, their commitment to pertussis prevention has undoubtedly helped bring about many positive and live-saving changes. They have not only raised awareness of the importance of adult Tdap boosters, but their efforts have helped alter the way in which the public is advised to protect newborns from pertussis.

Prior to the death of their children, none of these families were educated on the need for adult Tdap boosters.  They’ve since devoted a great amount of time to sharing their stories; in media interviews, in state legislative chambers,  on podiums at public health conferences, and in blogs and Facebook posts shared widely on social media.

New Recommendations Are Helping in the Fight Against Pertussis

Today, leading professional organizations such as the AAP, the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), all recommend that pregnant women receive Tdap boosters in the third trimester of each pregnancy. This not only helps to protect the expectant mom from contracting pertussis and passing it onto their newborn, it also provides passive immunity to the unborn baby.  This practice helps protect infants before they begin receiving their own pertussis immunizations through a series of five DTaP vaccine doses that begin at two months of age.

Before the DTaP shot was routinely administered to infants, about 8,000 people in the United States died each year from whooping cough. However, thanks to greater immunization coverage and greater public awareness, this number has dropped to fewer than 20 deaths per year. Unfortunately, because the bacteria is still widely circulating in our communities and not everyone is adequately protected, whooping cough still makes people very sick.  In 2014, as many as 30,000 people were diagnosed with pertussis and each year many are still hospitalized. The real danger is among children under 12 month of age.  About half of these infants who get whooping cough are hospitalized, and tragically approximately 1 out of 100 infants who are hospitalized will die.  So how can we better protect these babies?

Research Continues to Guide Vaccine Recommendations

Research indicates that family members are often the source of infection among infants, and most family members are passing on the infection without ever realizing they have  pertussis themselves. In one recent study, approximately 85% of infants with pertussis got if from a member of their immediate or extended family.  This is why Tdap boosters are now recommended for all family members and caregivers who spend time around babies.  In fact, families members should get their Tdap booster at least two weeks prior to the expected arrival of the baby, since it’s estimated that it takes that long to acquire immunity after getting the vaccine.

Most recently, the efforts and experiences of our Every Child By Two Parent Advocates have even helped inspire the expansion of the Vaccinate Your Baby program to the Vaccinate Your Family program.  When people of all ages are up-to-date on their recommended vaccines, they’re less likely to pass illness on to our vulnerable infant population.

We encourage everyone to visit the adult section of the Vaccinate Your Family website, where there are several resources that specifically help educate older individuals about the need for adult Tdap boosters, to include materials for grandparents who want to help protect their young grandbabies.

Please familiarize yourself with this Grandparent Toolkit and share these materials among your friends, family and colleagues.

Health & Safety Checklist

Tips for Soothing a Fussy Baby

Pledge for Family Members and Friends to Sign

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Vaccines

Every Child By Two stands with our Parent Advocates in our mission to ensure that no family should ever have to endure what they’ve been through.  This week, as we mark the anniversary of the passing of Carter, Callie and Brady, may we each share this video and the many resources on the Vaccinate Your Family website in an effort to educate the public about pertussis prevention. 

 

Protecting Your Baby From Disease Begins in Pregnancy

August 6, 2014 2 comments

Some may call me a bad mother because I can’t remember if my back labor was with the first or second child, or if my varicose veins sprung up with my third or fourth pregnancy, or exactly what time it was when my fifth child graced this earth.  But one thing I will never forget is how much time and effort I put into researching labor and delivery with my first pregnancy.

NIAM14_FBpost_BabyLooking back, I felt confident that I was doing everything to ensure the best possible health of my child.  I ate good foods, avoided caffeine, took my vitamins, and even wrote a birth plan that expressed my desire to have a natural and un-medicated labor.  Despite all the precautionary steps I took, I knew that something unexpected may occur.  There could be some kind of birth complications.  The baby could be in a breech position, have the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, or be born with a birth defect.  I knew the risks because I did my research, but I also did everything within my power to help ensure the health of our child.

The same goes for those first few weeks and months after our baby was born.  Despite the precautions we took to keep each of our babies healthy, by limiting time outside of the home, washing hands, breastfeeding as long as possible and keeping sick siblings and family members away, there were never any guarantees.  The fact remains that it can be extremely difficult to isolate our babies from infectious diseases that may be circulating in our communities, which is why my husband and I chose to immunization our children according to the recommended schedule.

What some parents don’t realize is that the childhood immunization schedule is designed to protect children from diseases at the times when they are most vulnerable.  For instance, by administering the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, we can actually reverse the effects of the virus if it was unknowingly passed from a pregnant mother to her child.

But there are two dangerous diseases that we can begin protecting babies against while they are still in the womb. 

Influenza and pertussis.

In this first week of National Immunization Awareness Month – a week designated to babies and pregnant woman – it’s important to highlight that pregnant woman are advised to receive a Tdap booster vaccine with each pregnancy, as well as an annual influenza vaccine.

Read more…

Ask Before They Play To Keep Chickenpox, Pertussis and Measles Away

July 15, 2014 36 comments

Part One: Why Ask at All?

DrZibners

By Dr. Lara Zibners

 “Oh, you know, we never had baby gates, because, you know, of the controversy.”

This was the response I got from a mom at a playgroup after some random conversation about safety. Our house had a flight of stairs just off the living room that was 16 wooden steps ending directly onto a slab of stone. So we had baby gates at either end. The story was likely the one about me installing these gates and then calling the company to find out how to open them. They were that good. Anyway, it made perfect sense to me that small children + long staircase + stone floor = potential significant injury. Until that exact moment, I was unaware there was a “controversy.”

Yet, apparently this other mother had read something about boundaries and teaching children to respect the staircase from behind imaginary walls. Which would then in turn help them develop self-control. Whatever. To my mind, having your frontal lobe all bruised up after a flight down a staircase would also create long-lasting issues, so I went for the option with an immediate safety return.

If you look between the lines of this exchange, you can see that it’s not so different from finding out that this mother was a vaccine-refusing parent. Her philosophy about parenting was so incredibly different that mine, and her ideas seemed so far out there, that I had no answer for her. Just a smile and a nod. (And a snarky comment about traumatic brain injury—I couldn’t help myself.)

Is that really so different from mentioning your child’s flu shot appointment and being met with a response that implies (or flat out says) that the flu is not dangerous and actually good for building their natural immunity? Those of you who are convinced that immunization is the most effective way of protecting your children from a variety of preventable and life-threatening illnesses have already made peace with this decision. If, on the other hand, you’ve chosen to vaccinate but still have questions than I suggest you continue to hang around sites like this. The more you learn about the scientific evidence that supports immunizations, the more certain you will be in your decision.

FosterKidImageBut what do you do when you find out about parents who have made other decisions?  What do you do when you discover your child’s best friend is unvaccinated? Should you care? After all, is it any of your business?

Read more…

Mother’s Facebook Updates Detail Son’s Tragic Death from Pertussis

January 28, 2014 35 comments

BradysMemoryBrady was born on November 20, 2011 and weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs., 6 oz.  His parents, Jon and Kathy, thought they were taking every precaution to protect their baby.  They even insisted that friends and family wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they were permitted to pick him up.  What they didn’t realize was that these actions wouldn’t be enough to protect their precious son from a dangerous disease called pertussis.

Since infants don’t begin receiving vaccinations for pertussis (also known as whooping cough) until they are two months old, they remain vulnerable to this highly contagious disease at a time when they are most fragile.  Today we share Brady’s battle in the same way that his mother did; through her Facebook status updates.  This small glimpse into one family’s heartbreak reminds us of how fragile a young life can be and highlights how important adult pertussis boosters are in sparing others from suffering and possibly even death.

In early January, Brady’s parents suspected that he was coming down with a cold.  When his fever spiked to 104 they brought him to the ER where he was subjected to a multitude of tests, but ultimately sent home where they continued to monitor his condition.  

Brady’s mother Kathy kept her friends and family updated on Brady’s condition through her personal Facebook posts.

January 9 : I hate when one of my babies are sick. Had to go to the ER on sat/sun morning because of a high temp. They ran tests and everything came back negative, thank god! Went to his pedi today. Got more blood work. It’s just a cold, no medicine. Thankfully he is fine! Hope my little guy gets better soon :(

January 11: Went to the pedi office this morning with my Brady pants. His breathing was worrying us. We have to do updraft treatments every few hours and go back for 6 to see the md. Poor little guy :(

January 15 : Home. My sis is here, bought us a humidifier for Brady for Christmas.  Hopefully it will help with his horrible cough! When will this end? Its horrible having him so sick :(

One week later, Jon and Kathy were back at the hospital with Brady.  While the staff worked diligently to help Brady, his condition was constantly changing and the uncertainty was extremely stressful. Read more…

Your Nagging Cough Could Kill Someone’s Baby

January 15, 2014 12 comments

I could hear it clearly from across the auditorium.  A distinctive cough in a very small child.  It was painful to my ears and I brought a sinking feeling to my heart.  My daughter glanced over at me, alerted by the same sound, and we both mouthed those two horrible words…”whooping cough”.

In 2012 48,277 people were diagnosed with a bacterial infection known as Bordetella pertussis.  Also known as whooping cough, pertussis can cause severe coughing that can last for weeks or even months.  It is spread through droplets in the air and is extremely contagious.  In fact, when someone in the house has it, virtually everyone else in the house that is not immune will also get it.

In children pertussis is often identified by the “whooping” sound that is heard as they desperately try to catch their breath between coughs.  The coughing spells can be so bad that it’s difficult to eat, drink, sleep or breathe for weeks.  Pertussis can also lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, mental retardation, and in some cases even death.

In adolescents and adults the disease typically appears as a bad cold with a prolonged cough and often goes undiagnosed.  The classic symptoms are not always present and people don’t always know when to seek help for a cough.  To make matters worse, even if a patient does visit the doctor, an accurate diagnosis of pertussis can be challenging.

Most people don’t realize that the nagging cough they have could end up killing someone’s baby. Maybe even their own.

Am I being dramatic?  Overstating the concern?Families_carter

No.  Not at all.

Ninety percent of the deaths associated with pertussis occur in children under the age of one.

Consider the case of Landon Carter Dube.

Four years ago today, Felicia Dube brought her five-week old son Carter to the doctor for a check-up.  Her only concerns were that he had been spitting up a bit and seemed cranky at night.  The doctor suggested switching his formula and monitoring his crying in case it was colic.  Though he seemed to improve at first, four days later Carter was running a low-grade fever.  Upon returning to the doctor’s office the nurse practitioner expressed concerned about Carter’s breathing rate and hydration level and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  Within days Carter was fighting for his life on a respirator, oscillator and eventually an ECMO machine.   Carter’s mother Felicia recalls the horrible details as the hospital staff did all they could to provide Carter with cardiac and respiratory support.  She explains,

Carter4_DSC_0069_edited-1“It was hard to stand back and look at my sweet baby boy swollen to nearly twice his original size. They had him under a heat lamp and two huge medicine trees held all of  the medicines that were working to keep him alive. It is difficult to forget  the machine that was also monitoring his heart and blood pressure which was  constantly chiming, alarming us that something wasn’t right. It was like a bad  dream where we just couldn’t wake up. We had asked the doctors to always be honest and to let us know when it got to the point that they were doing things to Carter and not for him.” Read more…