3 Ways Vaccines Have Changed the World

Getting a vaccine today is a routine part of health care.

However, the world was not always so fortunate. Many diseases used to ravage entire populations. Fortunately, many of these diseases have been nearly eradicated. Although vaccines can be a bit controversial, a vaccine can also be said to be so powerful that it has the ability to change the world. Here are three ways that has happened over the centuries.

A Vaccine for Smallpox

The roots of smallpox go back as far as 10,000 BCE. During the 18th century, thousands of people in Europe died from the disease, which also spread to North America as European explorers began looking for new territory to exploit. Indigenous populations in the Americas were decimated by the illness. It took decades to develop a reliable smallpox vaccine, but in 1980, scientists announced that the disease had been eradicated.

An End to Polio

Millions of people around the world were afflicted with polio before a vaccine was developed to control it. This nerve-destroying virus caused pain, disablement and death for people in Europe and the Americas. Perhaps the most famous person to suffer from the disease was President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1953, Dr. Jonas Salk made a world-changing announcement about his discovery of a polio vaccine. Eventually, the disease would be eradicated from industrialized nations, though some developing nations are still forced to distribute the vaccine to keep the disease under control.

The Whooping Cough and Diphtheria Vaccine

Like smallpox and polio, whooping cough and diphtheria used to be major problems in the U.S, Europe and in other regions. Today, a successful vaccine has virtually eradicated these illnesses, saving many lives and keeping children out of the hospital. It is extremely unusual to see cases of either of these diseases being diagnosed in the U.S., particularly in locales where the vast majority of the population receives the recommended schedule of vaccines.

Vaccines have saved many lives over the decades – whole colonies and families. Although there are some vaccines today that have not always proven to have the desired results, the history of vaccines tells a greater story.

Immunization: Importance for Kids & Adults

Despite the media controversy surrounding immunization in recent years, reputable medical professionals still recommend a program of vaccinations to ensure ongoing health for children and adults.

Here is a look at why immunization is still vital, and not just for school-aged kids.

Continue reading “Immunization: Importance for Kids & Adults” »

What You Need to Know About the 2015-2016 Flu Season

The flu season in the United States typically begins as early as October and can last into May. The CDC says that flu season officially starts when key flu indicators first occur and then increase and remain high for a period of time. Key flu indicators can include flu-like illnesses, hospitalization, and deaths due to the flu. The peak of flu season typically occurs between December and February each year. This year, the flu has been slow to hit.

A Slow Start to the Flu Season

Overall flu activity has been relatively low in the U.S. While the flu season typically runs from October to May, overall seasonal flu activity has increased only slightly since October. However, this is not necessarily an indicator of how the rest of the season will turn out, meaning that individuals should continue to be wary of flu infection. Each year in the U.S., anywhere from 5 to 20% of the population gets the flu. The virus causes about 200,000 hospitalizations each year and kills around 36,000 people, according to the CDC.

Protecting Yourself with the Flue Vaccine

The CDC recommends that individuals older than six months old get a yearly flu shot, as this is the first step in warding off the virus. Although it is best to get the flu shot as early as possible, it is not too late to get the flu shot as long as the flu season lasts. It is still possible to get strains of the flu not protected against in the vaccine, but the vaccine protects individuals from the most common strains. Young children, older adults, and individuals with medical conditions are the most likely to be hospitalized or experience serious complications as a result of the flu. If you do get the flu, antiviral drugs are available through a doctor’s prescription to treat the illness.

Get Your Flu Shot Today

ARCpoint Labs provides flu vaccinations nationwide. Visit our website to find your nearest location.

New California Vaccination Law

Gov. Jerry Brown Signed Senate Bill 277 into Law

After many months of speculation and uncertainty, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on June 30 Senate Bill 277. The law requires most California children to be fully vaccinated in order to attend public or private schools, regardless of their parents’ personal or religious beliefs. California now will permit only medical exemptions as legitimate reasons not to be vaccinated

Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said, “The science is clear. Californians have spoken. The governor and Legislature have spoken,” adding that the law would help to prevent more outbreaks of preventable diseases. Concerns over the spread of diseases as a result of parents not vaccinating their children rose in December during a measles outbreak at Disneyland. By the time the outbreak was over in April, there were 136 measles cases in California alone, and about 20% of those cases required hospitalization. Proponents of the bill said that this could have been prevented if more children had been required to be vaccinated.vaccine law

Support for the Bill

Supporters of the bill hope that it will send a strong message to the rest of the country. Only two other states, Mississippi and West Virginia, have similar laws. Proponents hope that other states will follow California’s lead in taking steps to have stronger restrictions on who can be exempt from vaccines, as they consider it a matter of public health. No state “wants to continue to see (outbreaks) happen in their neighborhoods,” Pan said.

Health and education organizations across the state support the bill. These organizations include the California Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics of California, California State PTA, California Immunization Coalition, and the California Children’s Hospital Association.

Titers Testing

ARCpoint Labs provide titers testing, which can gauge your immunity to certain vaccine-preventable diseases. If you have lost your vaccination records and need to prove that you have had the correct shots, titer testing is essential. With the new California law, many parents will need to show records that their children have been vaccinated. Wellness-certified locations also can provide some vaccinations, such as the flu shot, MMR, and TDap. Put your and your children’s health first and find your nearest ARCpoint Labs location today.