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We are extremely excited that our very own Dr. Dean had his first article published on the Huffington Post’s Healthy Living section (see the post here). The post was published on the first page of the site on February 2, 2015, just above Dr. Oz. Dr. Dean originally wrote the piece after parents flagged their concerns about the spread of the Enterovirus 68 among school children.

Enterovirus 68

Enterovirus 68 is a rare viral infection that can present harmful symptoms such as a mild stomach ache. Additional symptoms include coughing, wheezing and low blood oxygen levels. However, in some cases, the symptoms can lead to severe respiratory symptoms and may even result in paralysis. These severe cases are especially relevant for those children who suffer from asthma or respiratory problems.

When Dr. Dean wrote the Huff Post article, it was also a time when everyone was concerned about flu season and the best ways to avoid exposure or recuperate if you contract it. Now the worry has changed and everyone is concerned about something else…

The Next Big Concern

The next big worry is the measles. Over a decade ago the measles disease was basically eradicated from the U.S. Unfortunately, thanks to the scare tactics used by anti-vaccine groups, there is an increasing number of measles cases in the U.S. One child apparently contracted measles in Disneyland in California, which meant that potentially hundreds of people were exposed to this condition.

As Integrative physicians who also specialize in Immunology, we feel compelled to weigh in on this important issue. We fully respect parents and individuals who have come to be wary of advice given by government offices. There are times in recent years when our confidence in public safety has been compromised: The best example of this happened right here in New York right after 9/11 when volunteers, firefighters, and other workers were not properly advised or equipped to handle the toxic air at Ground Zero. However, the vaccination situation is a very different case.

The Importance of Vaccinations

Vaccinations throughout history have saved thousands of lives. Many of us are too young to remember the fear of polio before Dr. Jonas Salk and others came up with vaccines to prevent the dreaded infection and paralysis. Meningitis due to Hemophilus influenza is also no longer the threat it once was to infants because of vaccinations. Here at Mitchell Medical Group, as we’re sure is the case for many other physicians, we have never seen cases of measles, mumps or rubella and the reason for this is the successful vaccination programs that are in place.

Vaccinations and Autism

So what about the concerns around vaccinations and autism? As very clearly shown on CNN by Dr. Sanjay Gupta: the incidence of autism has continued to rise over the past twenty years. At the same time, vaccinations are using lesser amounts of infectious agents and are more highly purified. In short, the numbers really don’t add up! Here at Mitchell Medical Group, we believe that one day it may be revealed that it is a compound in our environment that was thought to be safe or a toxin in our environment that has gone unchecked, that is contributing to the ever-increasing number of Autism cases. As an example, Consumer Reports recently published a report advising parents to not let their children eat rice due to the high levels of arsenic in this food. What is arsenic doing in food and how many people or parents are actually aware of these dangers?

Finally, there are medications out there that are completely artificial. These medications are not natural and we understand the public’s concern for their long term safety. However, vaccines are not a drug. They work by stimulating the body’s own immunity to build up protection. If you are into homeopathy, vaccines follow the concept of “like treating like” but the scientific rigor behind vaccinations is infinitesimally more robust.

Dr. Dean just got his Shingles vaccine last week. His reasoning is that if he can avoid a nasty virus causing serious pain and illness, he is going to try his best to avoid it. We owe it to our children to do the same.

– Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC