PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST DISCUSSES VACCINATIONS

A local news station invited Dr. Karen Dahl, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Valley Children’s Hospital, to address questions parents may have about immunizing their children from diseases like measles, chicken pox and the flu.

You can watch the interview here.

Dr. Karen Dahl talks about vaccinations

 How do you feel about vaccinations?

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FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL HEART AWARENESS MONTH

The Valley Children’s 2015 Kids Day Ambassador was born with a heart defect. Neymar is one of about 40,000 babies born every year with a congenital heart defect (CHD).

It’s the most common birth defect in the U.S.

Fortunately, babies born with CHDs in Central California can come to The Willson Heart Center at Valley Children’s Hospital for lifesaving surgery and the best care.

Since it’s National Heart Awareness Month, I thought I’d share this infographic.

congenital-heart-defect

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ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT MEASLES

Last week’s post, 10 Things to Know About Measles, received several comments on Facebook. So I promised to follow up with more information this week.

Valley Children's Facebook CoverMeasles is still in the news. Parents are concerned – especially parents of newborns who haven’t received the MMR vaccination.

I told Dr. Karen Dahl about your questions and learned a couple more helpful tips, especially if you think your child may have been infected.

“If someone has been exposed to measles, immunoglobulin can be given within 72 hours of exposure to help protect them,” says Dr. Dahl.

Check out this article on immunoglobulin from emedicinehealth for more information on how it works to help protect against measles.

If your child does become infected, there is no prescription medication for treatment. But your child’s pediatrician may recommend medications to ease symptoms. Please keep your child at home to avoid spreading the infection and call the doctor for information on how to best treat your child.

Dr. Dahl recommends a remedy you may not have heard about.

Vitamin A“We use vitamin A,” she says. “Kids with measles seem to do better when we give them vitamin A.”

Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) recommend administering vitamin A as follows:

100,000 IU by mouth at the time of diagnosis for infants younger than 12 months of age
200,000 IU for older children

I found two additional sources of information:

1. Fresno County Department of Public Health posted online resources about the measles and also offers an Information Line at (559) 600-7193
2. Medical News Today posted an article yesterday about the MMR vaccine: Are ongoing concerns about vaccine safety to blame for the measles epidemic?

This week, Trust for America’s Health reported that the preschooler measles vaccination rate has dropped below 90% in 17 States. As mentioned in my last post, when vaccine rates drop to <92% we are at risk of outbreaks.

I will end where I started last week. Dr. Dahl specifically requested that item #1 be the first on the list of 10 things to know.

Please check your immunity.

Take a minute to read the Children’s 411 disclaimer and remember this blog is for informational purposes only. I hope these resources are helpful and that you have a healthy and happy weekend.

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