nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Monday, June 28, 2010

Good News For Vaccine-Deniers -- More Non-Issues To Proclaim

Vaccines for children are critically necessary.  Find out how to deflate the Deniers panic attack.

California is already experiencing an outbreak of pertussis from non-immune susceptibles passing it around.  While not the scourge it once was, it still kills kids sometimes.

Readers of Nostrums know that I shake my head every time the Irrational Voice of Vaccine Critics raises its head.  (See here, here, and here)  They'll try to make hay from the latest study which the says that giving chicken pox vaccine and MMR in a combined shot together minimally increases the risk of a febrile seizure.

Lest you think something is going on about the vaccines here, it's important to understand that being vulnerable to a febrile seizure (a benign occurrence when a child's temperature rises very rapidly) is a common feature in children:  a little less than 1 in 10 can, under the right circumstances, have a fit.

As an ER doc, my main job under these circumstances was to rule out other causes of the seizure (i.e., not just assume it was due to the fever), and then spend a lot of time with freaked out parents who needed to understand how this comes about.

Those children who are vulnerable can get a seizure from fever of any kind:  a cold, sore throat, etc.  It's not the vaccine itself, just the immune reaction caused by the shot (which is what you want to happen) that ends up making them immune to the disease.  Along the way many kids will get a fever which is in almost all cases minor.  The risk of seizure overall is about 1 in a thousand.

Also, kids who are vulnerable to febrile seizures grow out of it.

Want to deflate panic attacks by the Vaccine Weirdo's?  I bet they will fail to notice a crucial fact from this study.  Point out that the study only addresses a COMBINATION vaccine (see above).  If you give MMR, then chicken pox, in the same visit, one after the other, the febrile seizure risk is not increased. 

So, there...

Doc D

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