Mercury Free versus No Added Mercury

A concerned father recently contacted me about the no-added-mercury flu vaccine. He had called the manufacturers who admitted that there were still trace amounts of mercury in the vaccine. He wanted to know from me whether there was a brand available for young children that was totally free of mercury. Sadly, in the United States […]

Measles Vaccine

When should the measles vaccine be given? How effective is it?

Measles completely eliminated in USA

When the measles vaccine was first introduced, the number of measles cases plummeted. But a few years ago, new outbreaks prompted a reevaluation of the vaccine. In some people the immunity had faded after only one dose of the vaccine, so the schedule was changed to include a booster dose.

Lyme Disease Vaccine

The newly approved Lyme disease vaccine is not yet proven safe and effective for children under age 15, although the vaccine looks promising for children in studies currently underway.

Kids Feel Pain!

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Pain Society have issued a September 2001 policy statement calling for pediatricians to respect and manage the pain that children feel from injuries, illnesses, and (too often) from medical procedures.

Is It Empty Nest Time At Your House?

When your child first packs up and heads off for college, it is a bittersweet moment. How horrible if meningitis were to make the separation permanent. College students get meningitis 2.6 times more often than peers the same age (American Journal of Public Health. 1995;85:843-845).

Immunization Timing Matters

I often hear from parents who like to modify their children’s immunization schedules for one reason or another. According to a warning issued in the November 30, 2001, issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, when the MMR vaccine and the chicken pox vaccine are given on 2 separate days less than 30 […]

Immunization for Smallpox and Anthrax?

I hear from parents almost everyday, wishing that vaccines were available to protect their children from smallpox or anthrax or other agents of bioterror. Routine smallpox vaccination was discontinued more than 20 years after the last smallpox case in the United States.

If It Were My Child: No Tylenol before Shots

Earlier this year there was a massive Tylenol recall. The recall included Infant Tylenol drops, Children’s Tylenol, as well as many other children’s medications. I’m not exaggerating when I say massive, but generic medications (liquid acetaminophen made by Walgreens or CVS, for example) were not included. The recall was a great reminder that generics are […]

Heroic Polio Effort Hamstrung

A worsening polio outbreak in West Africa has already spread to nations where polio had been eradicated and has prompted hundreds of thousands of volunteers and health workers to race to immunize 15 million children at immediate risk.

Health Revolution in Mexico

I sat enthralled at Grand Rounds as I listened to Jose Santos, M.D., Director of the National Vaccine Program for Mexico. While we struggle with the subtleties of further lessening the side effects of vaccines, Mexico is engaged in an enthusiastic, all-out push to immunize their children, resulting in a revolution in that nation’s health.

Flu Vaccine Recommendations for Children Under Four

Each year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) makes recommendations about who should get the influenza vaccine. The focus of the flu shot campaign among healthy people has been on people aged 65 and older, because they have been considered to be at the highest risk for flu-related complications and hospitalization. However, it turns […]

Flu Vaccine Recommendations

Flu season is almost here. Most people who get the flu feel miserable, but recover without major problem. Nevertheless, each year, the flu kills an average of about 36,000 people in the US alone. Overall, kids are the most likely to catch the flu, but not the most likely to have serious cases.

Fear, Measles, and Protecting our Kids

Claims that the MMR vaccine might cause inflammatory bowel disease or autism continue to haunt parents. I’m asked about the connection every week. The group that began the controversy, researchers from the Royal Free Hospital in London, have since done further research vindicating the MMR. But the fears continue.

Fast Facts about the DTaP Vaccine

The DTaP vaccine is a newer version of the older DPT vaccine. DTaP is designed to immunize against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

Fast Facts about the Chickenpox Vaccine

Chicken pox is caused by the Varicella-zoster virus. It is usually a mild infection, and not life-threatening. Although children with this virus may be miserable for several days, and miss a week of school or day-care (stranding parents at home), they will likely recover from the 250-500 itchy blisters with nothing more to show for […]

Fast Facts about SIDS

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is defined as the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of any infant or young child.

Fast Facts about RSV

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is the most important respiratory organism of early childhood. RSV occurs throughout the world, and in each location it tends to occur in yearly winter outbreaks. In the northern hemisphere the peak of the epidemic is usually in January, February, or March, although in some years it may begin earlier […]