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Immunizations Are Effective

The latest episode of CBTV's Health Matters with Doylestown Health tackles the issue of immunizations. Our physician experts discuss how and why vaccinations work and their importance for people of all ages.

It started at Disneyland. Talk of a measles outbreak that led to more talk about immunizations. The outbreak traced to the California theme park sickened 131 people and likely started from a traveler who was infected overseas.

"It's a very good example of how people not being vaccinated are at risk for these illnesses," said Brenda Foley, MD, one of two physician guests for this episode of Health Matters. "I think a lot of us have forgotten about some of these illnesses because we haven't seen them in a very long time. Measles is very, very contagious. The majority of patients that got infected at Disneyland were not vaccinated."

Watch Video: "Health Matters" Immunizations Are Effective

Dr. Foley is vice president and assistant Medical Director of Doylestown Emergency Associates. She is board certified in Emergency Medicine and is an attending physician in the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department.

At one point in time, the measles affected nearly a half-million American children every year. Almost everyone in the United States got it at some point during childhood, and it sometimes caused complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis. Children and adults still get the infection, although in much smaller numbers than in the past (most cases now occur in children who were infected in other parts of the world or were infected by contact with travelers). Since the measles vaccine became available in 1963, there has been a more than 99% decline in the number of measles cases in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Both Dr. Foley and this episode's other guest, David Damsker, MD, MPH, agree about the importance of children getting all the recommended vaccinations. Dr. Damsker is director of the Bucks County Health Department.

Some 70 years ago in the United States, polio paralyzed and even killed children by the thousands, notes Dr. Damsker. The polio vaccine has been used in our country for decades, and polio was officially eliminated from the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere in 1991.

Our guests also discuss the concept of 'herd immunity,' how vaccines work in your body, vaccine safety and immunizations recommended for adults and seniors.

Dr. Foley also shares a personal experience in which she was exposed to a patient who had an illness that could have been prevented by a vaccine, and how that impacted her and her family.

The show wraps up with tips for getting shots and ways to minimize the fear of needles.

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