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Priming the immune pump – deposits to the health bank

Priming the immune pump – deposits to the health bank

My paternal grandparents had no indoor plumbing. When I visited them as a child I was put in charge of bringing in water for coffee and breakfast oatmeal. I would run to the well and pump hard — with no result.

Then I’d remember the priming glass of water kept inside. Pouring it in the pump first always led to bountiful water.

The dramatic aspect of priming happens with many vaccines, which is one reason many are given as a series. Examples are DPT and polio. Priming also can occur with the flu vaccine, even though each year’s vaccine is different.

The reason I bring this up is because in the past few years many people — who previously received annual flu shots — have chosen not to.

What the media fail to report is that it is precisely that older population who have received flu shots over many years, who have the best chance of getting better “bang for the buck” via priming from all their previous vaccines.

And the strategy the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is now considering is to give two identical flu vaccines in the same season, with the first one being the priming dose for the second.

Q – Tips; sleep deprivation and vaccines

Q – Tips; sleep deprivation and vaccines

• Sleep deprivation can lessen the immune response to vaccines, report researchers at UCLA. In a controlled study they found that restricting sleep to four hours per night for five days led to only a 50 percent response to vaccination. Take-home message: If your or your child are sleep-deprived put off getting your childhood or adult vaccines until you are well-rested.
Vaccines after 65 — who and what for?

Vaccines after 65 — who and what for?

Dear Dr. K: I recently heard that there are certain vaccines that are recommended for adults. I thought I got all my necessary vaccines as a kid.

Not to pick on you, but I can tell by your question you didn’t read last month’s newsletter. In that issue I discussed influenzal vaccine (flu shot) which is recommended on a yearly basis. The vaccine is given yearly because it is a different shot each year, in order to address the new viral strains that emerge.

The tetanus/diphtheria (TD) vaccine is needed every 10 years throughout life. A new spin on this recommendation is that once during adulthood the TD should include pertussis (TDap).  The “ap” stands for acellular-pertussis, which is the new, improved whooping cough vaccine. This new recommendation reflects a resurgence of whooping cough illness in adults, due to waning immunity from our childhood vaccine.

Pneumococcal vaccine (pneumonia shot) can be taken by all adults, but is felt to be essential for persons with respiratory disease (COPD and asthma), heart disease, kidney disease, liver problems, diabetes, HIV and asplenic patients (persons who have lost their spleen). If the first vaccine is given before age 65, then a second vaccine is recommended after five years. If the initial vaccine is given after age 65, then no further shot is needed.

Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine is recommended for all adults 60 years or older. Even if a person has already had shingles, the vaccine is still recommended.

Meningococcal vaccine (meningitis) is recommended for all young adults attending college. It is also recommended for mature adults with asplenia, HIV; and those who travel to endemic areas and for military personnel.

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for travel exposure, gay men, people with liver disease, and people with daycare exposure.

Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for gay men and for heterosexual people who are not in a monogamous relationship. It is also recognized for all healthcare workers and for public safety personnel and for family members of patients who have chronic hepatitis B infection.