Doctors urge parents to vaccinate after confirmed cases of Measles in WA

Several babies in Western Australia have been infected by measles after a “non-vaccinating” family brought the preventable disease back from Bali.

This latest instance is another example of when parents choose not to vaccinate, they are choosing to risk the lives of not only their own children, but babies too young to be vaccinated, and other vulnerable members of our community.

As quoted in a recent edition of The West Australian newspaper a family who had not immunised their three children returned from a Bali holiday with one of their children infected with measles resulting in an increase in the confirmed cases of measles in infants in the area.

“People wonder why we get so concerned by small numbers of cases like this but this is exactly how a bushfire starts,” commented President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Andrew Miller said to the newspaper.

“Unvaccinated families are essentially walking around our cities in summer throwing matches into dry grass, and suddenly you can get a wild fire that destroys lives.

“It’s either out of laziness or because they’re reading strange things on the internet instead of listening to the real experts.”

Babies are not vaccinated against measles until they are 12 months old. Please do your bit to help protect them

Source: thewest.com.au

Jasmine’s Story – Pneumococcal Disease

Jasmine’s Story – As told by her mother Andrea Identical twins Gabrielle and Jasmine were delivered on Christmas Eve 2002. Their long term survival was questionable from day one. They both had heart defects and severe respiratory problems, however most devastatingly they were both found to be suffering from congenital bone marrow failure disease. I […]

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Catherine Hughes celebrates news of WA vaccination rates

Catherine Hughes expressed her recent joy on the news that her home state of Western Australia can now boast one of the highest rates of vaccination in the world.

The passing of her baby boy Riley, from the vaccine preventable disease Pertussis (whooping cough) made headlines around the world through her and her husbands fierce campaigning to educate parents and expectant mothers against the dangers of choosing not to vaccinate.

The campaigning created huge momentum through their social media page Light For Riley and resulted in several changes being made at both state and federal levels.

Since Riley’s unnecessary passing from the disease the federal government implemented their ‘No jab No pay’ legislation withdrawing government benefits to those parents who choose not vaccinate.  In addition to this the Hughes family experienced one of the biggest triumphs in their plight which was to ensure that the Whooping Cough vaccine was readily available and free to pregnant women.

Catherine reflects on these milestones and the exciting news that Western Australia is leading the way in stomping out vaccine preventable diseases through immunisation.

Read the full article here: Catherine Hughes speaks to The West Australian about Success for Free Whopping Cough Vaccine

Catherine Hughes interview for The West Australian. Photo Credit: Ross Swanborough, The West Australian

Jazmyn’s Story – Meningococcal disease

On Tuesday 25th August Jazmyn was a bright bubbly happy little girl, but at 10pm that night things took a turn in a direction that no one could have seen coming. It started with flu like symptoms and a high temp, which we thought nothing off at the time due to the rest of the family suffering from influenza B. On Wednesday morning Sarah was getting the girls ready for school drop off, and upon waking Jaz noticed her discomfort with touching her legs, and observed a heat like rash. The next step saved our little girls life, as Sarah decided to see the Drs just to be on the safe side. Upon observation of Jazmyn by the doctor a small pin prick sized mark was noticed, and during the examination time a second mark presented, causing extra concern. The doctor immediately sent Jaz to hospital for monitoring, the second step that saved her life.

During the next few hrs Jazmyn deteriorated rapidly and after a small “fit” episode around 1pm her condition spiralled. A purple patchy rash developed very rapidly all over her legs and arms and she was in extreme discomfort. During this time the doctor had been in touch with PICU at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and discussed the best course of action with the suspicion being a strain of the meningococcal disease. It was organised to air lift her to the WCH in Adelaide for intensive care. The incredible Med Star team arrived at 4:30 and she was in the air at 6:30.

Our worst fears were confirmed Friday morning via blood tests that Jazmyn was indeed suffering from the meningococcal B type disease, the most aggressive and dangerous type of meningococcal.

It is only due to a mother’s intuition and knowledge of her kids, and the amazing doctor that detected the slight symptoms and reacted with immediate action that contributed to Jazmyn being alive today. Thanks also must go to the incredible Med Star team and the amazing doctors and nurses from PICU and medical ward 1 at WCH to the continued support, advice and encouragement through the this ordeal.

We cannot urge the importance for all parents to be vigilant and seek medical attention if any of the meningococcal symptoms present themselves, early action and treatment is the number one factor to save your child’s life.

 

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5 Ways to Protect Your Child from Pertussis

Pertussis (or whooping cough) is extremely contagious which is why it is so important to understand how you as a parent, can protect yourself and your child from this potentially fatal disease.

Here’s 5 ways to protect your child against whooping cough:

  1. Have a booster shot in the third trimester of your pregnancy to pass on antibodies to your unborn baby.
  2. Keep your baby away from anyone who is sick or has cold-like symptoms.
  3. Download a vaccine reminder App, such as VaxiMate, VacciDate or Save The Date to Vaccinate, so you don’t miss any vaccinations.
  4. Whooping cough vaccinations wear off – ensure friends and family who have frequent contact with your child are up to date with their booster shots.
  5. Talk to your GP if you have any concerns or questions.

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Fern’s Story – Whooping Cough

In September 2015, my 5 month old Fern had a cold. We went to the doctors a few times within a 3 week period and I was told she had asthma, then bronchitis. One night she couldn’t breathe while coughing and it seemed like she was choking, so I raced her up to the hospital. Once we arrived, she coughed so hard that we both got covered in phlegm. They could not find anything wrong with her and a nurse mentioned whooping cough was going around, so they tested her for whooping cough. I found out that my older kids’ school had 9 confirmed cases and no one was alerted. We got a phone call confirming that she had whooping cough and so we were back at the hospital, but they could not do anything for her as she was able to drink her bottle. I was shocked that they couldn’t help her.

At home it was a nightmare day and night watching my baby struggling to breathe, not knowing if that was going to be her last breath. They look on her face when it was happening brought tears flowing down my face. There was nothing I could do except hold her and pat her back. Just when it seemed like it would be going it would be back, and it seemed worse than when it started. She would scream in pain after every cough. I was a mess as a mother, watching this, feeling that somehow it was my fault.

I felt like no one understood. I would have friends that couldn’t understand why I wasn’t answering their phone calls, not catching up – they just kept writing it’s just a cough, it’s like croup, she will get over it soon. They just didn’t understand what was happening to her and how at any moment that she might just give up and go.

I honestly felt like it was never going to go away. The doctor told me it was 100 day cough, so I was counting the days while Googling to see if there was anything that could help. I tried everything, you name it, I tried it, and nothing worked. It came to 120 days and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t gone. I then researched and found that babies take longer to get over whooping cough.

While she was coughing and screaming in pain, I just couldn’t understand why people do not vaccinate their children or themselves, Fern had only received 2 shots for this so far.  Yes, we do have that mentality that it won’t happen to us but it does – this is your child who depends on you to keep them alive, and personally to me vaccinations help them with this. I was told Fern has a mild case of whooping cough because of her vaccinations. I honestly feel if that was a mild case because of her vaccinations.  Imagine if I hadn’t given her the needles, she would more than likely not be here today.

The recovery process is long. It is now 6 months and it still hasn’t fully gone. When she gets worked up the whooping gasp for air and cough returns. One day it will be gone but we won’t know what damage it has done until she is older.

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Protecting your unborn baby from influenza

I’ve just had my flu shot – that’s half of my pregnancy vaccinations complete 😊

For any other pregnant Mums thinking of having it, these are the 4 main reasons I chose to have a flu shot during pregnancy:

Over the last year I’ve spoken to quite a few Mums who have lost or nearly lost their babies/young kids to influenza. All such beautiful parents with tragic stories. I hope I can help get out their message that vaccination doesn’t begin in childhood, it begins in pregnancy.

Catherine Hughes.

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Facts about Vaccines

There is so much incorrect information about it on the internet, often spread around by those who sell “alternatives” to vaccines.

If you’re ever struggling to really weigh up the risks vs benefits of vaccination, speak to an ICU doctor – they will be the ones who treat children who are suffering badly from a vaccine-preventable disease, or in very rare cases, a vaccine reaction. I have never, ever met an ICU doctor who is not completely supportive of vaccination.

Catherine Hughes

Source: www.thevaccinepage.org

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Riley’s Story – Whooping cough

Riley Hughes was born a gorgeous and healthy baby boy on February 13th, 2015. He was our second child and we were so delighted to have him in our family.

At three weeks of age, he started displaying mild cold-like symptoms, and developed an occasional cough. We called out a locum, who assured us he was fine. However instincts took over, and after a night where he slept a lot and barely woke for his usual two-hourly breastfeed, we knew something wasn’t right. We took him straight to our local children’s hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.

Riley was admitted that afternoon, and at first it was thought he had bronchiolitis. Pretty quickly, the doctors suspected pertussis (whooping cough) and began treating him for it. On the 4th day of his hospital stay, he was taken to PICU with pneumonia, and his swab tests confirmed he did indeed have whooping cough. He grew steadily worse and worse, and despite all the best medical intervention, Riley passed away in our arms the next afternoon, at just 32 days old.

While Riley was dying in hospital, we discovered that women in the UK, USA, Belgium and New Zealand were being recommended a whooping cough vaccine in their third trimester. This vaccine, usually given between 28-32 weeks gestation, provides the unborn baby with the necessary antibodies to protect them from this terrible disease. Since the introduction of this pregnancy vaccine, the UK has seen a reduction in infant deaths from pertussis by over 90%.

Two days after Riley’s death, our state government announced the introduction of a program where these third trimester booster shots would be offered free of charge to pregnant women. Other states soon followed, and now all states and territories in Australia have free whooping cough booster shots for pregnant women.
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