Monday, August 20, 2012

Sticky Topic - Back To School Shots?

I am not usually a controversial kind of person.  It must be from my up bringing where I was told to do something and I did it-  with no questions asked.

After growing a little wiser, seeing a bit of the world, and of course, having children, some of that changed. 

When type 1 diabetes came along, a whole lot of that changed.

I pretty much question everything to ensure that it is in the best interest of my little ladies.  After all, I am their advocate (and my biggest belief is that everyone living with "something" needs an advocate).

This year, our back-to-school supply list includes the normal school/sports physical but with a twist.  Sixth graders are required in our state to receive a handful of immunization boosters.

For the record, both of my children are up-to-date on their vaccinations.  Normally, I would accept the next set which includes both a varicella booster and a Tdap booster, without too many questions.  I am concerned with the rise of pertussis (whooping cough), the two-week fiasco of chicken pox, and absolutely want to avoid meningitis as I am sure it will not mix well with type 1 diabetes (which is truly my biggest worry!).

I want to alleviate potential situations that will make type 1 diabetes impossible to manage.

From the MDCH website:  "These rules changes are designed to help prevent school-aged children from contracting illnesses such as meningitis and pertussis," said Dr. Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for MDCH. "In the last few years, Michigan has seen a significant increase in pertussis and we hope these rules will help lower the number of cases."

In the years 2003-2007 the average annual number of pertussis cases reported was about 340. In 2008, 315 cases were reported. That number has jumped to 902 cases in 2009, and so far this year, about 560 cases."

OK.  Enough said.  Reading this makes it quite clear that this is one set of immunizations that we won't be missing.

However, there is another shot on the back to school list called Gardasil

From the MDCH website:  "Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.
About 20 million Americans are currently infected, and about 6 million more get infected each year. HPV is usually spread through sexual contact.
Most HPV infections don't cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. But HPV can cause
cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. In the United States, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year and about 4,000 are expected to die from it."

Scary numbers, aren't they?  Sign me up.....but wait.  This sounds great EXCEPT this particular shot has a million reported side effects that in themselves will cause issues with maintaining good blood sugar control. 

Reported side effects include dizziness, fainting, seizure like symptoms upon fainting, pain at injection site and generally feeling ill.  One quick search on the FDA website (often close lipped)shows that the shot is now labeled as having AR "adverse reactions".

Google 'Gardasil side effects' and tons more stories of adverse reactions appear.  Hitting close to home, two years ago we even had issues on our little street with not one, but two of the teenage girls that live in our neighborhood.  They each had one shot and (together with their parents) decided based on the immediate reactions that they didn't want a second and forget a third dose!  Side note:  Both girls are doing fine now.

But maybe that is all just a little bit of hysteria from the media, lawyers, competitors and quite possibly, even teenage girls (and boys who are also advised to receive the injection).  It seems as though every vaccination has a few side effects that are quite similar.  That is part of the reason that many healthcare providers recommend taking a pain reliever 15 minutes before getting your shot - it thwarts those side effects before they even happen.

My mind is still open and we will be considering all of the information until the day we go for physicals.  After all, my job as advocate is to make sure that I do exactly that - consider all of the facts.   I want to make the best choice possible for my daughters so they can live long, healthy and happy lives.

If you have a moment, take time to share your thoughts on the blog or on our Naturally Sweet Sisters facebook page. 

Will you be giving your child (boy or girl) the Gardasil vaccination?  Why or why not?

1 comment:

laura said...

My girls are 12 and 16 (yesterday) and I have not given the Gardasil shot yet. Why? Pure procrastination. Doc brings it up every year. At first, it wa pretty new so I wanted to wait to see what would happen with it/more users. Then wanted to research first. Then hadn’t done the research yet. And now…still haven’t researched. I’m not against it. Just haven’t read enough about it yet.