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Prevent Cancer with a Vaccine

If you could prevent your father from getting lung cancer, would you? Read more

Grapevine Mustang’s Summer Champion Course Opens for Boys and Girls Grades 7-12

Strength and conditioning training to help student-athletes get in shape. Read more

Celebrate the modern medical miracle that is immunization: It’s National Infant Immunization Week!

Most of us here at MacArthur Medical Center are parents, and as parents we would do ANYTHING to keep our children safe. One of the most important things we can do to protect our children, even when we’re not with them, is to ensure that they are properly immunized on time and in compliance with the immunization schedule set by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Read more

Busted! Explaining common vaccine myths

Flim-flam, woo, pseudoscience … there are many names for wrong information. In this article we are going to tackle a real beast, a scary monster that roams the World Wide Web and makes its way into all corners of our communities – Vaccine myths! *screams*

I spent some time snooping the Facebook comment sections and pages sporting vaccine misunderstanding, misinformation, and myths. Here are some of the most common myths and the reasons why you shouldn’t believe them.

I got the flu vaccine and got the flu from it!

No you didn’t. The flu vaccine does not contain the live flu virus and you cannot get the flu from it. Ever. Period. What may be happening to people is they have an immune reaction (which means the vaccine is working) to the shot and are showing minor symptoms such as redness or soreness at the injection site, fever, aches and pains. This is not the flu. It is also possible that people are literally sick with something (another virus like the common cold, perhaps) and it just so happens to coincide with the time they get a vaccine – in their minds the vaccine caused the sickness.

I have never gotten the vaccine (for anything) and haven’t been sick.

Lucky you! Most people get sick at some point in their lives. The flu, COVID, measles, whatever it might be, you’re not only more likely to get sick without the protection from the vaccine, but you are more likely to spread it to others – like the sweet elderly gentleman across the street, or the newborn baby who hasn’t received their full vaccine schedule yet. They may not be so lucky as to never get sick.

Many vaccines contain chemicals and toxic ingredients.

This is actually kind of true, but it’s not bad. First, everything is chemicals – water is a chemical called Dihydrogen Monoxide – you are chemicals, I am chemicals, the air is a chemical. Secondly, everything is technically toxic. All chemicals (which is everything) is toxic at certain doses. So, yes, water is toxic if you drink too much. Vaccines do contain ingredients such as arsenic and formaldehyde – those are in fact toxic at the right dose. The amount of these chemicals (or any chemical) in a single dose of a vaccine isn’t enough to be toxic. A person actually eats more arsenic in an apple or more formaldehyde in a pear than they would get from a vaccine dose. Remember, when it comes to chemicals – nothing is ever “chemical-free”, and it’s not the chemical that is dangerous, it’s the dose. Trust the science and the chemists who know each chemical and at which dose it is harmful.

Natural immunity is better than a vaccine.

No. Natural immunity to many common, dangerous illness that are typically mitigated through vaccination is not something you want. Becoming naturally immune to measles means you may have to live with infertility. Natural immunity to COVID, may mean you live with neurological or cardiovascular disadvantages the rest of your life. Natural immunity to chicken pox may mean you suffer from Shingles when you’re an adult. Natural immunity to polio may mean you no longer have the use of your legs. This natural immunity also means that while you’re sick, you’re spreading a dangerous disease to your friends, family, and community. Vaccines help you build immunity without risking life.

Vaccines cause autism.

I can’t believe this is still around. Millions of dollars have been spent debunking this doozy. There is unequivocally zero evidence (and hundreds of studies) that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that autism is not caused by vaccination. Unfortunately, many well-liked celebrities profited from these statements. The physician who originally made the claim no longer has a medical license.

When it comes to vaccination, leave the research to the professionals (you know, those people who have spent their whole careers studying vaccines and contagious diseases) and stay out of the comment section. If you have concerns or questions about vaccines, always reach out to a medical professional. The providers at MacArthur Medical Center Pediatrics will take time to help you understand why vaccines really are a good idea, and help you navigate common misconceptions.

Written by Erin Cox, Practice Manager at MacArthur Medical Center, reviewed by Dr. Nehal Shah.

Blog Author: Erin Cox- Practice Manager 

Main Blog Photo By: Eugene Zvonkov

 

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Covid-19 Shaming; How The Blame Game Hurts Us All

Stigmatizing coronavirus infection inhibits society’s ability to stop the spread. Read more

Most Babies Born to Covid-19 Moms Do Well

An OB-GYN reviews the early research and the protective role of the placenta.

Giving birth in a pandemic considerably ups the stakes of concern. Pregnant women around the world are worried they will catch Covid-19 and pass it on to their newborn baby. And we know that viral infections in pregnancy and postpartum can lead to poor outcomes in babies.

Much remains unknown about the coronavirus’s effects on pregnant women and babies, but a recent prepublished manuscript titled “Infant Outcomes Following Maternal Infection With SARS-CoV-2” demonstrates highly encouraging results.

The new data shows that babies born to women with Covid-19 demonstrate no increase in low birth weight, difficulty breathing, apnea, or respiratory infections through the first eight weeks of life.

Based on what scientists know right now, there is no evidence indicating pregnant women are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 than the general public, public, but they are at a higher risk of getting sick from the virus.

During pregnancy, women have a temporarily suppressed immune system and physiologic changes in their lung function. These changes put pregnant women at a higher risk of respiratory problems when they contract similar viruses, such as influenza or pneumonia. OB-GYNs therefore consider pregnant women to be an at-risk group for respiratory compromise if they contract Covid-19. Additionally, preterm labor is a known risk when pregnant women contract viral illnesses such as MERS, SARS, and influenza. Preterm labor most likely results from the severity of the maternal illness and is not directly linked to the virus itself. In other words, preterm labor is not simply a result of contracting these viruses but rather dependent on the degree of illness that results.

In addition to preterm labor, OB-GYNs are concerned about a pregnant woman’s potential to pass Covid-19 to her baby during gestation. This is an example of what doctors call vertical transmission. Fortunately, data surveillance so far indicates that in utero coronavirus infections are very rare. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists July practice advisory, “the data are reassuring that vertical transmission appears to be uncommon.”

The new data shows that babies born to women with Covid-19 demonstrate no increase in low birth weight, difficulty breathing, apnea, or respiratory infections through the first eight weeks of life.

NIH research indicates that in utero mom-to-baby transmission is rare because the placenta is missing key components the virus needs to enter the fetal circulation, namely ACE2 receptors and the TMPRSS2 enzyme. Both the ACE2 receptor and TMPRSS2 are present in the placenta but only in tiny amounts. The low levels likely explain why SARS-CoV-2 is unlikely to cross the placenta from mom to baby.

Over the past few months, scientists have studied more than 1,500 cases of maternal coronavirus infections. Current management guidelines for infants born to mothers with SARS-CoV-2 are based on data from the National Registry for Surveillance and Epidemiology of Perinatal Covid-19 Infection.

Current guidelines are based on data from previous experience with maternal respiratory infections, such as SARS and MERS, combined with incoming studies on Covid-19. The PRIORITY study (Pregnancy Coronavirus Outcomes Registry), a collaborative project between researchers at UCSF and UCLA, is an ongoing effort to track outcomes of pregnant women who contract SARS-CoV-2. This data surveillance adds valuable additional infant-outcome data beyond the neonatal period to better inform management policies and guidelines.

The PRIORITY study’s first publication brings some encouraging and reassuring news to the medical community. Data indicates that infants born to Covid-19-positive mothers do well in the first six to eight weeks after birth.

The manuscript, accepted for publication in Clinical Infectious Diseases, reports the infant outcomes of 179 pregnancies complicated by Covid-19 infection compared to a control group of 84 Covid-19-negative gestations.

The PRIORITY study data showed no increase in preterm birth, NICU admission, or upper-respiratory infections. The study cohort yielded no pneumonia or lower-respiratory infection cases through the first eight weeks of life.

Thank you to Elemental for publishing this article on Medium.

Blog Author: Dr. Jeff Livingston 

Main Blog Photo By: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images