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I recently tuned in to a local radio station talk show in which the host and a “non-medical doctor” were criticizing vaccinations by citing false information and providing their personal bias. I would like to offer my view of vaccinations.

Most vaccines contain parts of a germ or toxin that have been made so weak that they can no longer cause illness, but will stimulate one’s immune system to make antibodies against that disease. Therefore, in the future, when they are exposed to that particular germ, the antibodies should prevent one from getting sick.

Since vaccines were first developed in the late 1700s, millions of lives have been saved. Smallpox, which wiped out entire civilizations, has actually been totally eliminated from the face of the Earth because of the smallpox vaccine. I watched friends come down with polio in the 1950s and become permanently paralyzed. This was a fearful disease until the polio vaccine banished it from the U.S.

We have effectively controlled outbreaks of common diseases such as measles, mumps, diphtheria and chicken pox. Before the chicken pox vaccine became available, more than 11,000 Americans were hospitalized and more than 100 died each year from the disease. It is estimated that measles, one of the most contagious diseases in the world, could cause almost 3 million deaths worldwide if vaccinations were stopped.

Commonly asked questions

Are vaccines safe? I believe they are. Thousands of people take part in clinical trials before a vaccine is approved. Millions of people are vaccinated every year. Some people may get local reactions of pain, swelling and redness at the vaccination site, but this lasts only a few days.

Can vaccines cause autism? I know this is an extremely controversial issue, but I can find no scientific proof in the peer-reviewed literature to directly link vaccines and autism. Common pediatric vaccines, with the exception of some flu shots, no longer contain mercury or thimerosal, chemicals often implicated with vaccine side effects.

Are infants getting too many shots at once? In general, infants tolerate these vaccines very well. Every day, infants come into contact with millions of particles such as bacteria, viruses and pollen that impact their immune systems. Delaying shots can leave a child unprotected against certain diseases, many of which can have dangerous complications such as seizures, brain damage, blindness and even death.

If everyone gets vaccinated, will my child still need them? It is true that an unimmunized child has less of a chance of catching a disease if everyone else is immunized, but if a larger number of children are not immunized, then there will be a greater chance of highly contagious diseases spreading through the population.

How long does immunity last after getting a vaccine? Many vaccines, such as measles and hepatitis B, lend lifetime immunity. Others, such as tetanus, last for many years but require booster shots.

The bottom line is that vaccinations have saved millions of lives, significantly lessened — and in cases eliminated — certain killer diseases, and have played a significant role in the increased lifespan of humans over the past several generations.

There are many well-intentioned individuals and groups who advocate against vaccinations. I hear what they are saying, but scientific evidence and multiple studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations.

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Autism is a developmental problem that appears early in childhood.  It affects a child’s social interaction, language, and behavior.  This makes it difficult for an autistic child to communicate and interact with others.

Up to 6 out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism and the numbers seem to be rising.  This fact could be due to an actual increase in the incidence of autism or perhaps is just a reflection of better detecting and reporting of the condition.

Diagnosis is difficult.  Although the signs of autism may show up by 18 months of age, the diagnosis may not be reached until the age of 2 to 3 years. Early diagnosis is associated with a better chance of improvement.

Common symptoms of autism are:

  • Social Skills: May not respond to his or her name, has poor eye contact, appears not to hear you and retreats to his or her own world.
  • Language: Starts talking later than other children, no eye contact when speaking, can’t start a conversation or keep one going, and loses previously learned ability to say words or phrases.
  • Behavior: Performs repetitive movements, develops strict routines and rituals, moves constantly, and is disturbed by the slightest change of routine.

There are many possible causes of autism including:

  • Genetics – Some genes are inherited and some can change after birth.
  • Environmental factors – Environmental pollutants and virus infections may play a role in triggering autism.
  • Other causes – Problems during labor and delivery during birth as well as possible effects of the immune system may cause autism.
  • Immunizations – This is the greatest controversy and a major reason why parents choose not to have their children routinely immunized.  After much extensive study, to date, no link has been found between immunizations and autism.  Again, this remains very controversial.

Risk factors include:

  • Childs sex.  Autism is 3 to 4 times more common in boys than girls.
  • Family history.  Families with one autistic child run a higher risk for having a second child with the disorder.
  • Paternal age.  The older the father the greater chance of having an autistic child.

Treatment of autism may include:

  • Behavior and communication therapy
  • Educational therapy
  • Drug therapy (may help symptoms, is not a cure.)
  • Creative therapy such as music and art.

Coping with autism:

  • Find a team of professionals who you can trust.
  • Learn as much as you can about the disorder.
  • Seek out other families of autistic children.

We, as a community, need to be understanding and supportive of families with autistic children. Working with a child that requires extra attention can be exhausting for families. Autistic children can also bring talents beyond expectation. We can be grateful for such famous autistic geniuses as Beethoven, Mozart

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Autism is a developmental problem that appears early in childhood. It affects a child’s social interaction, language and behavior. This makes it difficult for an autistic child to communicate and interact with others.

Up to 6 out of 1,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, and the numbers seem to be rising. This fact could be because of an actual increase in the incidence of autism, or perhaps it’s just a reflection of better detection and reporting of the condition.

Diagnosis is difficult. Although the signs of autism may show up by 18 months of age, the diagnosis may not be reached until the age of 2 or 3. Early diagnosis is associated with a better chance of improvement.

Common symptoms of autism:

  • Social skills: A child may not respond to his or her name, has poor eye contact, appears not to hear you and retreats into his or her own world.
  • Language: Starts talking later than other children, no eye contact when speaking, can’t start a conversation or keep one going, and loses the previously learned ability to say words or phrases.
  • Behavior: Performs repetitive movements, develops strict routines and rituals, moves constantly, and is disturbed by the slightest change of routine.

There are many possible causes of autism, including:

  • Genetics: Some genes are inherited, and some can change after birth.
  • Environmental factors: Environmental pollutants and viral infections may play a role in triggering autism.
  • Other causes: Problems during labor and delivery during birth and possible effects of the immune system may cause autism.

When it comes to immunizations, this is the greatest controversy concerning autism and a major reason why parents choose not to have their children routinely immunized. After much extensive study, to date, no link has been found between immunizations and autism.

Risk factors include:

  • Child’s sex: Autism is three or four times more common in boys than girls.
  • Family history: Families with one autistic child run a higher risk for having a second child with the disorder.
  • Paternal age: The older the father, the greater chance of having an autistic child.


Treatment of autism may include:

  • Behavior and communication therapy.
  • Educational therapy.
  • Drug therapy (to help symptoms only).
  • Creative therapy such as music and art.

There are also several ways to cope with autism:

  • Find a team of professionals who you can trust.
  • Learn as much as you can about the disorder.
  • Seek out other families with autistic children.

We, as a community, need to be understanding and supportive of families with autistic children. Working with a child who requires extra attention can be exhausting for families. Autistic children can also bring talents beyond expectation.

Read Full Post »