Here’s why a doctor says vaccines are critical
Following a historic outbreak of measles this year, the message from pediatric health care professionals is a simple one: Get your children immunized.
The MMR vaccine immunizes children against the measles, mumps and rubella, and it’s extremely safe and effective. Measles is highly contagious and is caused by a virus. It spreads in the air, when someone sneezes or coughs, and can last in the environment for up to two hours after the infected person has left the area. Contact with secretions from an infected nose or throat also prompts its spread.
“Parents need to understand that not immunizing your children puts them at greater risk for getting the measles,” says Dr. Frank Belmonte, a pediatrician and chief medical officer for Advocate Children’s Hospital. “You are also putting other children, many with compromised immune systems, like cancer patients, at risk for complications that could take their lives.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, death from measles has occurred in recent years at a rate of 2 to 3 children per 1,000 getting the measles.
“Measles cases dropped significantly, almost totally, when effective school immunization programs were in place,” adds Dr. Belmonte. “Unfortunately, anti-vaccination promoters and rogue information on the internet have largely contributed to the increase we are seeing today.”
Dr. Belmonte says parents should educate themselves with the sources of truth about immunizations. He suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
About the Author
Evonne Woloshyn, health enews contributor, is director of public affairs at Advocate Children's Hospital. Evonne began her career as an anchor and reporter in broadcast news. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in health care marketing in both Ohio and Illinois. Evonne loves to travel, spend time with family and is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan!