Measles diagnosed in 14 states, whooping cough on the rise in California and so many cases of flu in elementary schools that classes are being canceled. These are just a few of the headlines surfacing all over social media and the news. It has many questioning medical advice and parenting decisions, and getting into sometimes heated arguments over both. So what can be done to prevent the spread of these highly contagious illnesses?
Mary Lynn Bundy, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Jeffersonville, weighs in on the importance of immunization and why it is crucial for everyone to be vaccinated.
“The vaccination schedule for children immunizes for 16 different infectious illnesses during infancy through adolescence,” Dr. Bundy said. “The purpose of vaccinations is to save lives, and vaccinations can do just that.”
Each of the vaccines and the schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics have been stringently researched by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All vaccines used in pediatricians’ offices have been well researched to ensure safety while reducing the number of injections infants and children must receive.
According to Dr. Bundy, there is an option for a delayed schedule to spread the vaccines out over the course of multiple visits; however, by delaying injections during the early stages of a child’s life, he or she is at great risk for contracting an infectious illness.
“I know that parents want the best for their children and I admire them for doing research and wanting to be well-informed,” Dr. Bundy said. “The key when searching the Internet or gathering information from others is to make sure it is a reputable source.”
A great example Dr. Bundy recommends is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ HealthyChildren.org. This is an excellent site with lots of great information for parents, including resources about vaccines. It also addresses the most common questions parents routinely ask.
According to Dr. Bundy, it all boils down to the evidence of medicine.
“Vaccines are the great success story of today’s modern medicine,” she said. “Vaccines have been researched and have prevented the deaths of children from illnesses such as measles, whooping cough and rotavirus for the past (60) years. Immunizations work if everyone follows the recommendations outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”
And it’s acceptable for parents to ask their doctor questions about vaccines and other treatment plans associated with their child.
“Parents should be comfortable asking their pediatrician questions,” Dr. Bundy said. “I want parents to ask questions and to rely on me to provide them with information, resources and excellent care when it comes to the health of their child.”
The CDC offers a copy of the recommended immunization schedule.
To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician in your area, find a Norton Children’s Medical Associates office near you or call (502) 629-1234.