Are your immunizations up to date? Immunize Canada wants you to #getvax

shutterstock_164560082 (1).jpgImmunize Canada wants to make sure you #getvax and celebrate a healthy tomorrow.

100 years ago, infectious diseases were the leading causes of deaths worldwide.  In Canada, they now cause lets than 5% of all deaths, thanks in part to immunization programs across the country.

However, diseases don’t go away.  They are held at bay through rigorous vaccination programmes.  But suddenly in recent years, we have seen a resurgence of mumps across the country especially in certain age groups, born between 1970-1994. While this age group was immunized, they generally received only one vaccine against mumps, and we now know two are necessary. There are also individuals arriving from other nations where there are limited immunization programs, and they may be at risk.

Immunization week in Canada is April 22-29.  We have a lot to celebrate.   Our country was at the forefront of vaccine and drug discoveries when Connaught Laboratories at the University of Toronto, became one of the first to produce large-scale quantities of insulin in 1922 and continued to be a major supplier of insulin into the 1980’s.  Connaught continues to be active in vaccine production and research. When the Ebola outbreak resurfaced in West Africa between 2013 until 2017, Canada and the US partnered to develop a pioneering drug to fight the deadly disease which left 28,000 people dead and 11,000 more infected.

Arguably the most significant develop in public health over the past hundred years has been the development of vaccines.  While our vaccination rate is high, we can be doing a better job of reaching all at-risk groups including refugee immigrants, the mentally ill and those who are suspicious about vaccinations. All adults over the age of 65 are considered at risk as our immune system weakens with age.

New app helps keep track-CANImmunize

It is now easier to keep track, thanks to Immunize Canada and a new app, CANImmunize.  It helps you keep up to date with your vaccinations.  It also provides the ability to manage your families’ immunization records with the use of their smartphones or mobile devices. It also includes automatic reminders to schedule routine vaccinations and access to timely and trusted information about recommended vaccinations for children, adults, and travelers.  Available in the App Store for iPhones & iPads.

So this week and throughout the year, help yourself, your family and others stay healthy, by keeping up to date with your vaccinations and remember to #getvax

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Great effort has been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting a competent person such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always, we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join the discussions.

Pneumonia deaths are increasing. Protect yourself and your family.

shutterstock_561346174.jpg1500 adults die from pneumonia in Canada every year. We are in the midst of a rough flu season similar to 2014-2015, where many outbreaks occurred and are likely to continue throughout the winter.   So I would like to remind you of the importance of immunization and flu shots and adult pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs and needlessly affects millions of people worldwide each year that can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Common signs of pneumonia can include a cough, fever, and trouble breathing.

We are in the midst of a rough flu season and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a flu shot.  I also want to talk about immunization and pneumonia.  In Canada, only 16.7% adults with chronic medical conditions are immunized against Streptococcus pneumonia. That’s right –only a small percentage of Canadians are immunized. As a result, there is a dramatic increase in the number of people who get the disease and about 1500 Canadian adults die from it every year.

Who Is At Risk for Pneumonia?

People who are more likely to become ill with pneumonia:

  • Adults 65 years or older
  • Children younger than 5 years old
  • Those  who have underlying medical conditions (like asthma, diabetes or heart disease)
  • People who smoke cigarettes
  • People with immune suppression diseases, such as HIV, leukemia, and other cancers

However, Pneumonia can often be prevented and can usually be treated. Many of these deaths——could be prevented with vaccines and appropriate treatment (like antibiotics and antivirals).

Vaccination is the best way to prevent the disease or lower your risk while reducing the risk of the general population coming down with pneumonia.

Pneumococcal Recommendations for Older Adults
There are two different types of pneumococcal vaccines for adults and guidelines are NOT the same in the US and Canada.

  • US Guidelines: One dose of PCV13 is recommended for all adults 65 years of age or older who have not previously received the vaccine. A dose of PPSV23 should be given at a later date (anytime after 8 weeks from the initial vaccine)
  • Canadian Guidelines: Currently differ for those of us that are 65 and healthy, or those with significant underlying disease. Healthy 65 year old adults are advised to simply take PPSV23. Those with higher risk would follow the guidelines of both vaccines
  • Recently the Canadian government included vaccinations for individuals that required medical attention for asthma in the past 12 months.

Pneumococcal Recommendations for Children

  • Children with asthma younger than 18 years should receive both vaccines

What you can do

  • Encourage friends and loved ones with certain health conditions, like diabetes and asthma, to get vaccinated.
  • Make sure children get vaccinated
  • Practice good hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use alcohol based hand sanitizers
  • Don’t some
  • Keep your immune system strong-get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and health a healthy diet

 

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

Travel alerts internationally for polio and measles outbreaks this summer. Check your vaccinations before traveling

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Travel alerts for polio worldwide & the resurgence of measles outbreaks in Canada, Europe and Africa, highlight the need for Canadians to get vaccinated before traveling to affected areas. Measles is a virus that can affect anyone and is highly contagious for individuals that have not previously had measles, or have not been vaccinated.

As long as measles is affecting children in other parts of the world, Canada will be affected as well. That’s why it’s extremely important for parents to ensure their children are vaccinated twice. Once when they are 12-15 months old, and again when they are 4-6 years old. Adults born before 1970 are likely immune, and everyone else needs to check their records. Polio, which has been eliminated from most countries, continues to occur in some areas of the world. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travelers get vaccinated against polio when going to countries where polio has not been eliminated: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Syria, and Iraq.  As for polio, our travel clinics have been busy answering questions from travelers about getting the vaccine even when not travelling in affected areas.  My advice is to have one shot for polio, called IPV as an adult, if you have not already done so.
Measles is a respiratory disease caused by a virus of the same name. It causes fever, runny nose and a characteristic rash all over the body. Most people recover, but the infection is fatal between one and three of every 1,000 cases. Polio is a contagious disease. It is spread from person to person through contaminated food and water. Polio can attack the central nervous system and destroy the nerve cells that activate muscles, which may cause paralysis and death.
So please check your vaccinations before travelling this summer.

#travel #summer #healthy

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.