to Prevent Childhood Leukemia!
Most surprises about medical treatments are bad, so when a good surprise emerges, it is cause for real celebration.
It turns out the children who get the Hib immunization reduce their chances of developing the most common form of childhood leukemia by 20%!
Hib is an abbreviation for a very nasty germ- Hemophilus influenza type b. Hib once caused many cases of deadly meningitis (bacterial infection of the brain and spinal cord) in young children, as well as bacterial pneumonia, very serious deep skin infections, and the dreaded epiglottitis (a serious bacterial infection of the valve between your esophagus and airway- the epiglottis).
The Hib immunization has essentially eliminated the chance of an immunized child getting these dangerous infections from the Hib germ. The Hib immunization provides protection as young as 6-8 weeks of age if the immunization is given then. The recommended schedule is to have it at 2, 4, 6, and 15 or 18 months of age. That leaves a child fully protected starting at 2 months of age and throughout the vulnerable period of early childhood. Once you are over 4 years of age, the risk of these infections from Hib becomes quite remote.
At Advanced Pediatrics, we combine the Hib immunization with the polio and DTaP immunization in an immunization called Pentacel at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The 15 or 18 month old dose is given with the DTaP.
Now, how does a shot for meningitis prevent leukemia?
The evidence is now established that if a child develops a serious Hib infection during infancy or early childhood, it activates two genes leading to an increased chance of developing leukemia.
The Hib immunization prevents activation of these two genes, and then really does reduce the chance of a child developing leukemia.
1. Hib is a bacteria that causes deadly infections.
2. The Hib immunization prevents infection from these infections.
3. Children who get their Hib vaccine in early childhood reduce their chance of developing leukemia by 20%!
4. In the ongoing discussion of immunizations, this news it truly extraordinary. It is a tremendous gift that we have a very simple intervention that can actually reduce the chances of developing something as serious as leukemia.
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin
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