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Vaccines Save Lives

Monday, November 4th, 2019 | Uncategorized | No Comments

By Ellen Phillips, PharmD & Founder of believeRx

It was during September 2003 when 77 customers who had dined at a local restaurant contracted hepatitis A from green onions furnished by one of the restaurant’s vendors. The outbreak occurred among food handlers and patrons and was not traced to any particular employee of the restaurant.

Hepatitis A can result in liver damage and is easily spread by the fecal-oral route or by contaminated food or water. Signs of hepatitis A are quick onset, flu-like symptoms such as stomach discomfort, fever, joint pain, diarrhea, decreased appetite, light colored stools, dark yellow urine, and jaundice. Some people have no signs of hepatitis. It can take 15-50 days (average is 28 days) for symptoms to develop, and adults are more likely to develop symptoms than children less than six years old. Symptoms can last anywhere from two to six months. Hepatitis A can be very serious, especially in a person who already has liver problems. Hepatitis A causes acute and relapsing infections, but it goes away and is not chronic like hepatitis B and C. Treatment for hepatitis A is bed rest, fluids, and fever reducing medicines approved by a doctor. A vaccine designed to prevent hepatitis A is given in two doses, separated by six months, and lasts 25 years in adults.

Tdap – tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) – are all potentially serious illnesses that can be prevented by getting vaccinated. Tetanus causes extreme stiffness and severe muscle cramps all over the body. Children who play outside are at risk for tetanus, which lives in ground soil. Diphtheria can lead to severe breathing and/or heart problems and paralysis. Pertussis can cause such bad coughing that babies can struggle to breathe and can have complications like seizures and brain damage or death. Both diphtheria and pertussis are air-borne. Whooping cough outbreaks still occur in the United States, resulting in hospitalizations and deaths. Pregnant women should receive one dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, regardless of when you last received Tdap, to protect the unborn infant against whooping cough. The ideal time to give Tdap in pregnancy is between 27 and 36 weeks.

Shingles can be treated with two vaccines. Shingrix, with a 90% effective rate, is your first line of defense. Studies show that the Shingrix vaccine stimulates the body to produce more antibodies, causing 24 times increase in T-cells. This action alone makes Shingrix 12 times higher in immunity than the second vaccine, Zostavax. Research shows that two doses of Shingrix separated by two months provides four years immunity but possibly much longer. The second dose ensures longer term protection. Shingrix is made differently from other vaccines. It’s the first shingles vaccine to contain a non-live component and an adjuvant designed to target the shingles virus. As a person ages, their T-cell immunity declines, putting them at higher risk of contracting the shingles virus. Shingles can be very painful, causing blisters and a rash that can cause serious complications such as post-herpetic neuralgia, a condition that causes burning pain long after the blisters and rash are gone.

Influenza vaccinations are recommended for individuals six months and older. The vaccine protects not only the person who receives the immunization, but also others they come into contact with, including pregnant women, babies and young children, older adults, and people with existing chronic health conditions. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu. Almost everyone needs to immunize against the flu except someone who had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the flu vaccine, if they have Guillain-Barre Syndrome (an immune system disorder), and children under six months old. The side effects of the vaccine are mild pain or redness at the injection site, fever, muscle aches, and headache. Serious side effects are rare. A flu vaccine is needed every year because a person’s immunity declines over time and because flu viruses are constantly changing, requiring the reformulation of the flu vaccine. While flu vaccine effectiveness can vary, the CDC reports that flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of serious flu illness by 40-60% and may prevent serious complications of the flu, including death. The yearly flu vaccine usually comes out in August. It is recommended that you receive your vaccination as soon as possible, as it can take up to two weeks for your body to achieve full immunity it from the vaccine.

At believeRx, we strive to become an active member of your total health and wellness team. Providing you with the most up-to-date information on these and other vaccinations, as well as a whole host of other health related subjects, is our commitment to you and our community. I would like to personally invite you to visit us at believeRx and discover for yourself the difference we can make in your life and the lives of your entire family.  

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Knoxville, TN 37931

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