Newborn babies can’t be immunized against most diseases because they’re unable to mount effective immune responses to most vaccines. Instead, pediatric vaccines are given at two, four and six months of age, when the immune system is more responsive. But that leaves newborns—with undeveloped immune systems—highly vulnerable to severe infections. Worldwide, more than two million newborns and infants under six months of age die from infectious diseases every year.
Ofer Levy, MD, PhD, in the Division of Infectious Diseases, wants to change that by developing vaccines that will work in babies. He’s been studying how to enhance the immune system at birth so that newborns can respond to vaccines effectively. On Friday, the researcher received a $2.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop vaccines for newborns. …
Other stories we’ve been reading:
Be sure to keep liquid detergent capsules out of your kids’ reach. Scientists find out why Vitamin D is important. [Read how children are at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency.]There’s a jump in kids’ sports injuries due to overuse. [Read about how girls’ soccer injuries are preventable.]
Twenty percent of U.S. babies don’t get the hepatitis B vaccine. A Canadian vaccine study proves the idea of “herd community.” [Read about this year’s vaccine schedule.] A new drug could help protect against treatment-resistant lice.
A consumer groups gives food advertisers an “F” on kids. Taxing soda and pizza could help consumers lose five pounds a year. Schools are serving less sugary drinks. [Read about artificially sweetened beverages.]
Other stories we’ve been reading:
What you eat during pregnancy can impact your baby’s chance of having certain allergies. Can peanut allergies be cured? [Watch Brett’s journey to overcome his milk allergy.] The lactose intolerant population might be smaller than we think.
Poverty in childhood can shape neurobiology. [Read about how more children than ever are relying on food stamps.] Twenty percent of children don’t see a dentist annually. [Did you know that February is Children’s Dental Health Month?]
H1N1 hasn’t peaked yet. [Have your questions answered about whether or not your child should get the H1N1 shot.] A new vaccine has been approved for child infections. [Read about the new immunization schedule.]
Does obesity rehab for kids work? [Read about the First Lady’s obesity initiative.] Physically fit students do better academically. Playing the Wii could help stroke rehabilitation. [What are the effects of “exergames” like the Wii?]
Most children have some fear of needles and may get scared before a vaccination. You might think the best way to handle this anxiety is to avoid telling your child about a vaccination ahead of time. But, like usual, honesty is the best strategy. Here, Child Life specialists offer tips and techniques for preparing your child for vaccination.
Before the vaccination
- Choose a quiet time to talk with your child and speak with a calm and relaxed tone of voice. Use honest, simple explanations that your child can understand. For example, you could say “We need to make sure that you stay healthy. This medicine will help keep you from getting the flu.”
- Avoid making promises you can’t keep, like, “You won’t feel anything when you have the vaccination.” This may be misleading. …