Monday November 19, 2018

Misinformation About The Flu Shots Creating Problems

Infectious disease experts recommend getting vaccinated before the flu season begins.

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Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center, gives a patient a flu shot, Jan. 11, 2018, in Seattle. According to an update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is now widespread in every state except Hawaii. VOA
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The 2017 flu season was particularly bad in the Northern Hemisphere. Nearly 80,000 people died in the U.S., including 180 children. Already this year, the virus has claimed the life of a child in Florida.

A Florida hospital has surveyed parents throughout the U.S. to find out why some don’t get their children immunized even though it could put them in danger.

Why get the shot?

Kids are very effective spreaders of disease. Just ask Ehren McMichael, mom of three.

“My husband and I just assume if one kids gets it, it’s do the best you can and then hope for the best because more than likely, someone else in the house will come down with it as well,” she said.

Even though kids don’t like getting a shot, McMichael’s kids, including her daughter Hannah, know why they get one.

“It helps protect you from the flu, and so when you go to school, your friends don’t catch it,” Hannah said.

The same is true for her son Brayden.

“It’s better to get a shot than get sick,” he said.

Flu shot myths busted

Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Florida surveyed parents and found a significant number of them are misinformed about the vaccine. The survey found that more than half the parents questioned think children can get the flu from the shot, a third don’t think the vaccine works, and almost that many think the flu vaccine causes autism.

Dr. Jean Moorjani, at Orlando Health, tries to help parents understand why their kids should get vaccinated against the flu.

 

Vaccination, vaccine
A child receives a measles vaccination in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug. 6, 2018. (VOA)

 

“Doctors recommend the flu vaccine because we know, based on science and research and facts, that it is the best way to protect yourself and your family against the flu,” she said.

“You cannot get autism from the flu vaccine. It is not a conspiracy for doctors to recommend the flu vaccine. The parts of the virus that are used are completely dead, so you cannot get the flu from the flu shot,” she added.

Get your shot early

Scientists try to figure out what strains of flu are likely to circulate in a given year, but even if they guess wrong, Moorjani said, the vaccine still offers some protection.

“When your body receives the flu vaccine, your body starts to think, ‘OK, I’ve got to start making antibodies to help protect against the flu virus.’ So even if it’s not a perfect match, getting the flu vaccine will still give your body some protection,” she said.

Also Read: Top Healthy Habits Which Parents Can Teach Their Children

Infectious disease experts recommend getting vaccinated before the flu season begins. This goes for adults, as well. It helps protect those who are vaccinated as well as babies who are too young to be vaccinated. (VOA)

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Lack of Proper Sanitation Affects 620 Million Children Around The World: Report

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period.

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A new toilet recently installed in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. VOA

A lack of proper school toilets threatens the health, education and safety of at least 620 million children around the world, the charity WaterAid said in a new study published Friday.

Children at 1 in 3 schools lack access to proper toilets, putting them at risk of diarrhea and other infections and forcing some to miss lessons altogether, according to the study, based on data from 101 countries.

Guinea-Bissau in West Africa has the worst school toilets while Ethiopian children fare worst at home, with 93 percent of homes lacking a decent toilet according to the report, released ahead of World Toilet Day on Monday.

toilets, students
Students arrive for class at the Every Nation Academy private school in the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, April 20, 2012. VOA

“The message here is that water and sanitation affect everything,” WaterAid spokeswoman Anna France-Williams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “If there’s no toilet in schools, children will miss lessons and it will have an impact on their growing up.”

Diarrhea, infection risk

A lack of proper sanitation puts millions of children around the world in danger of diarrhea, which kills 289,000 children younger than 5 a year, WaterAid said.

But some regions have started to clean up their act, notably South Asia, where access to toilets in schools has improved.

More than half the schools in Bangladesh now have access to decent toilets, while students in 73 percent of schools in India and 76 percent of those in Bhutan can access basic sanitation.

Akramul Islam, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the Bangladeshi charity BRAC, said the country’s once-high levels of open defecation — using open ground rather than toilets — were now less than 1 percent.

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India’s plight in sanitation has not improved much since ages.
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“Today, schools have separate toilets for girls and boys and the issue of menstrual hygiene is also being addressed,” he said. “This has happened because of initiatives taken by both the government, the NGOs and other stakeholders.”

Also Read: 3 HIV+ Students Banned From School in Indonesia

Improvement needed

Despite the improvements, more than a third of the girls in South Asia miss school for one to three days a month during their period, WaterAid said, urging greater investment in basic sanitation.

“If we are serious about all children and young people, wherever they are, whatever their gender, physical ability or community background, having their right to clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now,” said Chief Executive Tim Wainwright. (VOA)