method of lizzy

preservations… for posterity

The Vaccine Book

Calvin is now a year old and we are due for an appointment with the pediatrician. The question of vaccines always comes up at each visit. In preparation, I sat down to research the available vaccines and decide if there were any that I wanted to give to my son. Most parents vaccinate according to the AAP’s schedule, but after doing some research when I was pregnant I decided that there was no reason for that. I try not to be too cavalier about my decision to delay or selectively vaccinate, but the truth is that I found that many vaccines are unneccessary and could have harmful side effects. My son is at especially low-risk considering that he is breastfed and not in daycare.

How do you go about muddling through the available research on vaccines? The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears is a worthwhile addition to any new parent’s library. Sears answers the following questions about the AAP-recommended vaccines:

  • What is the disease?
  • Is the disease common?
  • Is the disease serious?
  • Is the disease treatable?
  • When is the vaccine given?
  • How is the vaccine made?
  • What ingredients are in the vaccine? (and, are any of these controversial?)
  • What are the side effects of the vaccine?
  • And finally, the ultimate question: Should you give your baby the vaccine? Sears presents the case from both sides of the argument. He then gives his own opinion.

In the end, Dr. Sears is predominantly pro-vaccine. For instance, Chapter 1 is devoted to the HIB vaccine. HIB is virtually eradicated in the United States – only 25 cases per year. It is a serious disease with a 5% fatality rate and 25% chance of brain damage. However, it is treatable, especially when caught early. This vaccine has one of the safest side effect profiles, however it does have a controversial ingredient (aluminum). On top of this, there is also concern that this vaccine may contribute to juvenile diabetes.

For me, the decision not to vaccinate for HIB was a no-brainer. I found this to be one of the easier vaccine decisions. However, Sears doesn’t share my point of view. He concludes Chapter 1 by stating ” Since the disease is so rare, HIB isn’t the most critical vaccine. But it’s definitely high on the Top Ten list.” Umm, Dr. Sears – I only counted twelve vaccines on the AAP list. The “Top Ten” comment is relatively meaningless, especially when you have similar comments about the other vaccines.

Despite that, I recommend Sears’ book because it has fairly up-to-date information on the currently-recommended vaccinations. (Sidenote:  there is another popular vaccination book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations.” Unfortunately this book is rather out of date).  As a delayed/selective or sometimes even a non-vaxer, I appreciate Sears presentation of reasons not to vaccinate. More often than not, this has been the route that I choose to take. Sears also provides an alternative schedule for those who chose to selectively vaccinate. It still contains some of the no-brainers on my list (HIB, Roatvirus) but this might be a good choice for the parent who is unwilling to completely forego vaccinations.

If you are still having trouble deciding what to do, I recommend perusing the CDC Pink Books.

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September 13, 2009 Posted by | all things baby, crunchy, health, parenting | 2 Comments

Recovering from Anxiety

Since I have written so much about the experience of anxiety and my road to recovery, I thought it would only be fair to write about what it is like to be 99% recovered from the experience. First, a quick recap:

September 3, 2009 Posted by | anti-depressants, anxiety, health | Comments Off on Recovering from Anxiety

Food Matters

food-mattersWhen my sister said she was going to adopt a vegan diet, I thought that she was a little bit crazy. She asked me to read two books, one of which was Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating by Mark Bittman. Bittman was struggling with his weight as well as various health maladies at the same time he was writing  a new cookbook called “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”. He decided to become a part-time vegan; until dinnertime he would forego any animal products, simple carbs and junk food. He did not give himself any restrictions for dinner, though gradually he found that he was eating more vegetables and less meat. As time went on, he lost weight and his health maladies went away.

Sounds great, but wait – this is not a diet book. Rather it’s an eye-opening critique of the food that we eat and where it comes from. Despite my skepticism, I have learned that many vegans don’t choose their lifestyle just because they can’t stand to eat Bambi. Many are vegan for very legitimate health and environmental reasons. Yes, I said environmental! Our eating habits aren’t just bad for us – they’re bad for the planet. Bittman focuses on factory farming, a concept that I’ve been relatively ignorant about until now. Continue reading

June 28, 2009 Posted by | alternatives, books, food, health | Comments Off on Food Matters

Sucky life leads to sadness

One blogger alleges that most people are depressed for a very good reason. The thesis is that it’s normal to be sad when your life sucks. It’s strange to nod my head in agreement while I simultaneously feel a little defensive. Continue reading

April 28, 2007 Posted by | anti-depressants, anxiety, blogging, depression, health, introspection, self, self-actualization | 1 Comment

I drop my guard and ten-foot pole

I don’t get into discussions about abortion. It’s a hot-button issue where no one is going to have their minds changed. So, why bother getting all riled up? I’ve only had one or two successfulconversations about the topic, the kind that leave you thinking “hmmm…”

That said, I found an interesting article about a woman who had an abortion when she was six-months pregnant. She desperately wanted the twins she was carrying, but in the end she made a choice to abort. It’s an interesting story. Read it.

April 19, 2007 Posted by | childbirth, health, politics, women's health | 1 Comment

Natural Birth Control

Birth control doesn’t have to be hormonal (such as the pill) and it doesn’t have to be a barrier method (such as a condom). You don’t have to abstain or use withdrawal or any other pseudo-form of birth control. A woman’s egg can live for only 24 hours (Caveat! Sperm can live up to 5 days). Why should a woman be on a hormonal birth control when she can take charge of her own fertility? Pay attention to the cues and you too can use this effective method. Continue reading

March 10, 2007 Posted by | alternatives, birth control, crunchy, health, sex, women's health | 1 Comment

Zoloft is making me fat

zoloft blobI hate to admit it, but there it is: Zoloft is making me fat. Additionally, it’s making me tired. I can easily sleep ten hours at night and take a two-hour nap during the day… and then do the same thing the next day, and the next day. Oh yes, and there is one other unpleasant side effect: night sweats. Continue reading

February 27, 2007 Posted by | alternatives, anti-depressants, anxiety, crunchy, health | Comments Off on Zoloft is making me fat

Running through anxiety attacks

I experience a lot of spontaneous, out of the blue anxiety attacks. Other times my anxiety can easily be traced to certain events or happenings. Most unfortunately, running is one area of my life that can cause a lot of anxiety. Remember that I was running when I experienced my first anxiety attack? It hasn’t let up much since then. Continue reading

February 27, 2007 Posted by | anxiety, health, running | Comments Off on Running through anxiety attacks

Diagnosis: Anxiety

January 2005: I was jogging on the treadmill at Family Fitness in Hyde Park, Florida. I was pushing myself to run harder and faster because I wanted to run a 5k that spring. At the same time, I was thinking about how I needed to start studying for the CPA exam. Both goals were daunting to me, and I shouldn’t have been thinking about them during tax season. There was already plenty on my plate.

As I ran, I gasped for breath. My chest felt tight and constricted. I really wanted to breath in deeply, but I couldn’t. Frustrated, I finished the run and went home. That night I laid on my bed, trying to calm myself. My chest still felt constricted and I had a smothering sensation, like I couldn’t get enough air. I tried to relax, but I just couldn’t. I had another long day at work the next day, plus my other goals weighed heavily on my mind. Continue reading

February 24, 2007 Posted by | anxiety, health | 1 Comment