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healthy children | HEALTH RISKS
Bonwit says that the seasonal inf_l uenza According to the Mayo Clinic, GAS disease annually, resulting in
vaccination will not protect your child the staph bacteria that causes between 1,000-18,000 deaths. The
from H1N1, because it is a separate community–associated MRSA (CA- bacteria are usually spread through
vaccination. Make sure that you ask MRSA) can be found on the skin or direct contact mucus from the nose
your doctor for both. in the nose of about one-third of the or throat of someone who is infected.
population and is usually harmless It can also be transmitted when one
unless they enter the body through comes in contact with infected wounds
a cut or wound. Kids sharing sports or sores on the skin. According to the
equipment, towels and other such CDC, all types of GAS infection can
Pneumococcal Disease items are vulnerable. be reduced by good handwashing.
Because GAS is highly contagious, it is
Bonwit says that pneumococcal For the most part, CA-MRSA causes recommended that a child with a severe
disease is a leading cause of serious more irritation than harm. It starts sore throat be tested and if that test is
illness in children. The disease can out as small red bumps that resemble positive, be kept out of school or day
cause pneumococcal pneumonia with pimples. But these can quickly turn care until they have been on antibiotics
symptoms such as high fever, cough into painful abscesses that will at least 24 hours.
and shortness of breath; bacteremia require surgical draining. If the
(presence of bacteria in the blood) bacteria gets into the body, it can
which leaves you with a fever and cause infections in the bloodstream,
feeling generally poorly; or in some heart valves and lungs which can
cases it can cause meningitis, an be life threatening. Children and Childhood Illnesses Once
infection of the coverings around young adults are also more likely to Controlled or Eliminated
the brain and spinal cord. According develop the more dangerous forms by Vaccines
to the CDC, invasive pneumococcal of pneumonia related to CA-MRSA
disease causes more than 6,000 because their immune systems aren’t Bonwit says that some parents are
deaths annually. Children under age fully developed and they haven’t built not getting their children fully
two fall into the highest general risk up enough resistance. Thorough vaccinated, which is causing concern
group for invasive pneumococcal handwashing and good hygiene is that diseases already conquered will
infections. The pneumococcal key in prevention. Bonwit says that make a comeback. Some parents fear
vaccine is usually given to infants in people, including family members, that vaccinations can lead to autism.
a series of 4 doses – one at 2 months, should not share bed linen and bath Bonwit says there is no evidence
4 months, 6 months and one between towels or eating utensils and glasses. supporting this – however, there
12 to 15 months. Bonwit says that if is evidence that not vaccinating
your child has not been vaccinated, your child can be dangerous. “We
it is very important that you do so.
are starting to see small clusters of
“With the vaccination, this disease measles,” says Bonwit. “Measles was
can be preventable,” he said. Group A Strep (GAS) an almost completely vaccinated
illness.” Bonwit says that it is showing
Several million cases of strep throat up in areas where kids are not being
and impetigo, both of which are caused vaccinated. Measles come with a
by group A strep, occur every year. variety of complications, including ear
MRSA Streptococcus, the bacteria, is often and respiratory infections. In some
found in the throat or on the skin with cases the respiratory infections can
Bonwit says that the mention of MRSA no incidence, or it can cause relatively become serious and cause permanent
causes a lot of concern, fear and worry, mild illnesses such as those mentioned brain damage and even death. Bonwit
especially when it shows up in a school. above. In some cases though, if left says that Haemophilus inf_l uenzae –
But Bonwit says that parents need to untreated, GAS infections can move type b, a historic infection in children,
keep in mind that the staph bacteria into the blood, muscles or the lungs vaccinated against in the 1980s, was
that causes the kind of MRSA that causing severe and sometimes life- almost completely gone but like
shows up outside the hospital setting, threatening complications. The CDC measles is now showing up again in
while potentially dangerous, can be estimates that there are somewhere small clusters. “Parents need to get
found all around us. between 9000-11,500 cases of invasive their children vaccinated,” he said. volume 3 - issue 1, 2010 47
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