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

 

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).