Don’t be afraid of vaccinating, especially in view of the benefits vaccines bring…

Vaccinate – your fears allayed

Don’t be afraid of vaccinating, especially in view of the benefits vaccines bring, says Dr Robert Arlt

Apart from washing our hands, vaccinations are the only effective mean of preventing infectious diseases. Vaccinating most of the population against specific diseases helps eradicate them.
Of course, everything we do – eating and drinking, playing ball, crossing a street. – comes with some amount of risk. The same applies to vaccines, but how big is the risk really? For this article, I will restrict myself to talking about childhood routine vaccines in SA and in the European Union. Here the only live vaccines are against measles, mumps rubella, rotavirus and chicken pox: as the viruses they contain are very much weakened they will never harm children with a working immune system.

Concerns about Autism

Although a presumed link to Autism was never proved, in the United States, countries in the European Union and a few other affluent countries, thiomersal, a mercury-based preservative, is no longer used in routine childhood vaccination schedules.

Concerns about Aluminium

Many vaccines contain aluminium salts. They act as adjuvants, strengthening and lengthening the immune response to the vaccine. The vaccines we use nowadays contain very minimal amounts of aluminium, and recent studies did not show more aluminium salts in children who had been vaccinated than in children who had not. The view of most experts is that there is currently no convincing evidence that exposure to everyday levels of aluminium in any form increases the risks of Alzheimer’s disease, genetic damage or cancer. Aluminium is the most common metal in the earth’s crust and we are exposed to it all the time. It reacts with other elements to form aluminium salts, and small amounts of these are found naturally in almost all foods and drinking water, as well as in breast milk and in formula milk for babies. Aluminium salts are used as food additives (for example in bread and cakes) and in drugs such as antacids. It is widely used in food packaging. Aluminium is not used by the body. Any aluminium absorbed from food or other sources is gradually eliminated through the kidneys. Babies are born with aluminium already present in their bodies, probably from the mother’s blood.

Concerns about Diabetes

Whether vaccines can provide a “stimulus” triggering some dormant condition is a hot topic particularly regarding development of Type One Diabetes. Recently, an Australian study suggested that the live rotavirus vaccine since it was regularly given to babies there came along with a decrease in the number of cases of Type One Diabetes there.

Conclusion

The benefits of vaccinations outweigh the fears and concerns, so don’t be afraid of vaccinating!

EXTRA: Dr Robert Arlt is a private Consultant Paediatrician at Roseneath Medical Practice. He has a special interest in allergology and is very experienced in paediatric ultrasound.

 

Hand hygiene in nurseries and schools…

There may be a simple solution to respiratory infections, reports Dr Robert Arlt

Respiratory infections are a major cause of absenteeism in nurseries and schools, causing considerable inconvenience for parents and children.

But these infections may also increase the risk of more serious respiratory conditions. And even if they are most often of viral origin, they will still quite often lead to lead to antibiotic treatments, may they be fully justified or not, with their possible consequences for the immune system later in life.
There are only two really effective ways to avoid respiratory infections: vaccinations for a few of them and, for all of them, hand hygiene.
Studies prove that hand hygiene programs which educate children, parents and day care center workers can be effective in reducing the number of respiratory infections.


A recent study performed on 911 children between 0 and 3 years of age in 24 day care centers in Spain. The children were from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. They were divided in three groups, one getting educated in hand-washing with water and soap, one in using hand sanitizer and one did not get any education at all. It appeared that the children educated in washing with water and soap had had significantly less respiratory infections and antibiotics than the uneducated after eight months of observation, but the children who had used hand sanitizer did even better.
Other studies may have to follow in other environments, but regular use of hand sanitizers at nurseries and schools could be highly recommendable.

Dr Robert Arlt Private Paediatrician at Roseneath Medical Practice in Richmond

Ref.: Effectiveness of a Hand Hygiene Program at Child Care Centers: A Cluster Randomized Trial Ernestina Azor-Martinez et al. Pediatrics 2018;142

 

Things you should know before going gluten-free

Did you know…

that a gluten free diet can be quite harmful if not closely controlled by an experienced dietitian?

 

 

It seems to me that it is getting very fashionable to leave out gluten in diets in adults as well as in children without any proof for a genuine intolerance.

Gluten-free diet firstly will lead to missing out on fiber, although this may be partly compensated by consuming more whole grains like amaranth, kasha, millet and quinoa, and from fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Consumer Reports also found that some gluten-free foods have more fat, sugar and/or salt than their regular counterparts, and are short on nutrients like iron and folic acid – found in foods with enriched-wheat flour.

Many products also replace wheat with rice. This is a concern because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been monitoring rice and rice products for the presence of small amounts of arsenic, which finds its way into rice from both natural and human sources. So, it’s important not to overload on this grain, even whole-grain brown rice.

Finally a large study led from 2009 to 2012 in the USA showed higher levels of various heavy metals in bloods of people following a gluten free diet,  which they attributed to higher consumption of rice, leafy vegetables, fish and shellfish. So while consuming fish once a week seems to raise IQ in children by 4 points according to a recent study, it would however not be advisable to have it much more often.

So a strict gluten free diet should be reserved for patient with genuine autoimmune gluten intolerance also called celiac disease

If you suspect having issues with gluten you should see your doctor will be able to rule out or to a great extent confirm celiac disease by blood testing, and if necessary will look at other causes for your complaints

At Roseneath Medical Practice we will be happy to perform these assessments.

Dr Robert Arlt MD as been a practicing Paediatrician (children’s doctor) since 1992 and has experience of working in Germany, France and the UK and is offering his services (private Consultant Paediatrician) at Roseneath Medical Practice in Richmond.

Did you know? Few facts about alcohol consumption…

Did you know that your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour?

Regularly drinking too much or binge drinking puts your health at serious risk.

alcohol consumption
How much is too much?

-The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidance is now the same for both men and women- a limit of 14 units of alcohol a week should not be exceeded.

– Fourteen units is the equivalent of : – six pints of beer (4%); six glasses (175ml) of wine (13%); 14 glasses of 25ml spirits (40%)

– In pregnancy it is advised not to drink alcohol at all, to minimise risk to baby

What are the potential health risks of alcohol?
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Weight gain
  • Cardiovascular disease- increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke
  • Acid reflux
  • Liver disease
  • Reduced fertility and sexual dysfunction,
  • Cancers of the mouth, head/neck, liver, bowel, pancreas
  • Osteoporosis
  • Memory loss, dementia, depression and anxiety, stress and anger problems
Is alcohol good for the heart?

The advice on this can be confusing.  The potential health benefits to the heart are considered  to be outweighed by other health risks ( as listed above) and only occur if the limit of fourteen units is spaced out during the week (ie not binge drinking). Drinking within the recommended limit is key.

How can we help?

See Dr Soori at Roseneath Medical Practice for an assessment of your drinking pattern and complete evaluation of your resulting physical and emotional health. Blood tests can be done at the practice, with same day results. Depending on the findings advice  and management will be provided to improve your health and prevent potentially serious illnesses.

 

Facharzt für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin

Herzlich willkommen in unserem Team!

In Roseneath Medical Practice freuen wir uns sehr Dr. Robert Arlt, einen bekannten und seit Langem in Richmond etablierten Facharzt für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, in unserem Team begrüßen zu dürfen.

Dr Robert Arlt hat seine Weiterbildung zum Facharzt für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin nach seinem Grundstudium in Straßburg in Tübingen und Böblingen absolviert. Er ist seit Februar 1992 im Saarland niedergelassen und ist auch weiterhin teilweise dort tätig und daher mit dem deutschen Gesundheitssystem bestens vertraut. NHS Erfahrung könnte er am Royal Free Hospital und am Royal Hospital for Integrated Medicine sammeln. In privater Praxis in UK ist Dr Arlt seit zehn Jahren tätig.
Dr Arlt hat auch Zusatzausbildungen über drei Jahre in Homöopathie (bei Professor Matthias Dorsci im Kinderzentrum München) und in Akupunktur (Universität Paris XIII) absolviert.
Er hat auch langjährige Erfahrung in Allergologie und mit Ultraschalluntersuchungen (Hüfte, Abdomen, Harnwege und Säuglingsschädel hauptsächlich).