COVID-19. Monkeypox. The list of viruses on our mind seems to keep growing longer – as does the list of vaccines we can take to prevent infection and severe illness.
To help keep it all straight, our medical columnist Dr. Michael Daignault used this week’s column to discuss some of the best ways to track what immunizations you’ve had and why it’s important to take ownership of your vaccinations.
Here are a few steps he suggests considering:
Start here: Obtain childhood immunization records
The first step is to obtain a baseline immunology report to see which standard childhood vaccines you had (or did not have).
Ask your parents or guardians if they have a written copy of which vaccines you got as a child. These would include standard immunizations such as MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis).
You can also check with your primary care doctor’s office (or pediatrician’s office, if possible) for your vaccine records.
Get a blood test to confirm, if needed
If neither of the above options yield results, you can ask your primary care doctor to check your antibodies via a blood test.
For some diseases, the simple presence of circulating antibodies is substantial. For others, a quantifiable level is necessary to maintain protection against infection. Your primary care doctor can help facilitate this process.
Stay up-to-date on vaccines
Based on this serology, your primary care doctor can get you up-to-date with a booster, even if you had your recommended childhood vaccinations, for example.
The CDC publishes an easy-to-read app that you can download to your smartphone or tablet that shows the recommended schedules for child, adolescent and adult vaccines recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Built into the app are special circumstances, such as pregnancy, in which some immunizations are highly recommended and others are not.
To read his full column for more info and tips, click here.
Stop calling monkeypox an STI. Here’s why.
Sexually transmitted infections are nothing new. But has a new one surfaced?
There are 7,102 cases and counting of monkeypox in the U.S. Most have been exposed to the virus through close contact during sex, but that doesn’t mean monkeypox is a sexually transmitted infection.
Caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox, monkeypox is transmissible through person-to-person contact with rashes, scabs or bodily fluids, touching infected items like clothing as well as contact with respiratory secretions. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, exhaustion and a rash that can appear on the body.
And while the majority of cases reported have been with men who have sex with men, anyone can get monkeypox.
That’s why experts say it’s a problem to call monkeypox an STI. Not only because it’s inaccurate and misinformation could worsen the spread, but because it can perpetuate stigma against marginalized communities.
To learn more, click here to read my full story.
If you keep dating the wrong person, it’s time to look at yourself.
If you find yourself repeating the pattern of dating people who are not “good” for you, you’re not alone. It’s a trope we’ve seen time and time again in popular movies and may have even experienced in our lives.
That’s why in this week’s column, Sara Kuburic, the Millennial Therapist, broke down why this sometimes happens and how to break the cycle.
Here are a few questions she suggests considering:
What was your upbringing like? I know it can be frustrating to trace things back to our childhood but the lessons we learned about love early on may be still guiding our romantic relationships. Did your parents teach you – by words or actions – that love is painful, scary and something we need to earn? It can be helpful for us to think about the beliefs we hold since, chances are, they dictate what we seek. The familiar is often what we consider safe, and this is why many of us avoid the unknown (even if it’s a healthier option).
Do you want to succeed? You may have a knee-jerk reaction to say yes, but are you playing it safe? Some of us date people who we don’t see a future with because we don’t want to get hurt. Maybe we don’t want to invest too much and the only people who will accept this lack of effort are people who are not “good” for us or people who offer the same amount of effort in return. Some of us don’t feel ready to succeed (or don’t feel like we can), so we choose people that reflect that belief.
What do you believe you deserve? Do you deserve someone who respects your options and boundaries, embraces your authenticity, laughs at your silly jokes and apologizes when they are wrong? Or, does the picture of what you deserve look more like this: they give you only enough to keep you going, they place the responsibility solely on you or they make you feel insecure and uncertain about where you stand in the relationship? Think about what you believe you deserve (because that is what you will settle for). If you’ve been in a relationship where someone told you that you didn’t deserve much, they are wrong!
To read the full column, click here.
- Ashley Judd’s mother, Chrissy Teigen’s baby and why we’re so judgmental about grief.
- Beyoncé was accused of using an ableist slur. Other terms we should stop saying too.
- This week’s advice column: My wedding is 100 days away and my future in-laws still exclude me from family events.
- Can eating strawberries really whiten your teeth?
- What’s the hottest pepper in the world? These peppers rank as the spiciest you can eat.
Meet Walter and Brie.
“Got a new puppy that is getting along with older brother,” writes Jessica Dishman of Princeton, Texas. And just like so many of us, Jessica and her pups are “trying to survive this really hot summer.”