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In the case of the flu, we have a weapon in place to help us fight off another H1N1pdm pandemic.
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Children won't be allowed into nursery or pre-school without proof.
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The early 20th century anti-vax argument was about freedom, conspiracies, pseudoscience and parental anxiety while nowadays...
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As a physician, I see the illnesses caused by vaccine-preventable diseases. No child should suffer from a disease that can be prevented by vaccines. I also see children who can't be immunized because of a medical condition such as cancer, and who rely on others around them to be immunized so the virus or bacteria does not spread. We all play an important role in preventing infections that we once feared.
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For more than 200 years, vaccines have been saving lives around the world. When children get vaccinated against a disease, they build up their immunity, making them stronger and more resistant to that disease. Getting vaccinated helps their body make antibodies that fight specific diseases, giving their immune system a boost.
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It's a scenario straight out of a horror movie. You start with a normal bout of strep throat and figure you're going to have to deal with that week-long stretch of pain and difficulty swallowing. But after a few days, things get much worse. You are diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, better known as flesh-eating disease.
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Despite the success of vaccines, mumps wasn't eradicated. Small pockets of infection continued to appear. These small outbreaks were difficult to control but eventually burned out such that they disappeared. For the most part, these isolated events were considered part of the ongoing reality of an ever-present virus.
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As Valentine's Day approaches, most Canadians turn their thoughts to love and all that comes with it. However, for public health officials, this year is particularly worrisome in the love department. It's all due to the rather unwelcome realization sexually transmitted diseases are continuing to rise in this country and are showing no signs of slowing.
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We are seeing a lot more activity this year compared to last year's flu season, which was relatively mild. It's important to understand that the flu strain circulating each year can change every flu season.
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Many Canadians may be putting themselves at risk of acquiring a number of preventable, travel-acquired illnesses. For those planning trips to warmer climates, including Mexico, Cuba and the Caribbean, it is important to protect yourself from diseases that may not be prevalent in Canada, but are common in other countries.
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This week, as expected, flu has taken over the headlines. All across Canada, hospitals are being overwhelmed by patients suffering from this well-known disease. Yet, among those looking for medical assistance, many will not have the influenza virus but another lesser known pathogen.
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Many previous vaccine attempts have failed.
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Seniors are the most significantly affected. In Canada, seniors represent 15 per cent of our population, yet account for up to 40 per cent of all influenza infections, the majority of all hospitalizations and deaths from influenza. Why? Because seniors are more likely to be frail and have chronic medical conditions that put them at high risk for influenza and its complications.
I know the flu vaccine doesn't fully protect me or my family from getting the flu. It is just one of the many strategies that I use during flu season to keep us healthy like frequent hand washing, adequate rest and a balanced diet. Vaccination decisions are a touchy subject for many people, so here's a snapshot of recent research..