SIMEDHealth

Immunization with Dr. Kamal Singh

Classes resume for fall semester, and the flu season is right behind it. August is Immunization Awareness Month and we heard from Dr. Kamal Singh about vaccines. 

 

Vaccines train the body to fight an invasion without developing significant illness. When the body is exposed to foreign pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria, the immune system produces antibodies allowing it to defend itself. “These antibodies attack the invading pathogens, also known as an antigens, and protect against further infection”, says Dr. Kamal Singh, a SIMEDHealth Primary Care Internal Medicine physician.

When facing the invader for the first time, there is a delay of sometimes days between the body’s exposure to the invader (antigen) and developing the antibody attack response. “For severe antigens like the measles virus or the Pertussis whopping cough bacteria, a few days delay is too long”, emphasizes Dr. Singh. “The infection can rapidly spread throughout the body, before the immune system can fight back. Unfortunately, this delay can sometimes result in death.”

Every year millions of healthy adults and children are given vaccines to prevent serious diseases. In the United States available vaccines go through many years of rigorous testing prior to being made available to the public, including:

  • Multiple levels of clinical trials determining the vaccine’s effectiveness, tolerability and safety.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluation and review of the data, and upon the FDA’s approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must go through its own evaluation, review and approval process.
  • Infants, children, adults, and senior citizens are evaluated and reviewed separately, as are males, females, and more recently ethnicity, race, and social determinants of health to best determine the vaccine’s effect, tolerance, and safety in these subgroups.
  • Even after FDA and CDC approval, the vaccine production facility continues to submit reports to the FDA on the quality and safety of the vaccine, to ensure the vaccine continues to meets the required standards.

“The U.S. has one of the most advanced systems in the world for tracking vaccine safety”, says Dr. Singh.

Many people, especially new parents can be overwhelmed with keeping up with immunizations. Dr. Singh reports, "Vaccine schedules have been developed by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians covering all current vaccine guidelines." Vaccinations keep you, your family, and others safe from potentially deadly diseases by significantly decreasing or eliminating the severity and spread of disease.

Some vaccines have precautions associated with them. “ Dr. Singh explains, “these are things which may happen in some subgroups of people, however the benefit of receiving the vaccine may still outweigh the precaution consequences, and the vaccine can be received. A contraindication, however is a very specific situation in which the vaccine will likely result in more harm to the person, than the benefit expected to be received.” He continues, “while all vaccines have precautions and contraindications, they are usually only applicable to a very small number of people, and vaccines overall are generally very well tolerated. Some precautions and contraindications are only for very brief periods of time, and the vaccination can safely be received once the period has lapsed”

If you have questions about vaccines and the appropriate vaccine schedule for you or your loved one, contact your Primary Care physician or advanced care provider who can discuss the details with you.

Men's Health with Dr. Kamal Singh

Heart Disease occurs 10 to 15 years earlier in men than in women.

 

Males have higher death rates for heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries. With advancement in technology and prevention screening, why are the death rates in males higher than women? Even in today’s society, stigmas still exist about men’s health. June is men’s health month and we discussed these questions with Primary Care Physician Kamal Singh, and heard from him about the importance of routine health care for men.

 

The leading causes of death for males are

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Unintentional Injuries

 

Higher death rates

Many stigmas involving men’s health still exist, like the necessity for routine medical care. Multiple factors contribute to why males experience more difficulties with these diseases. Lifestyle, society beliefs, and other masculine behaviors all contribute to a man’s decision making process.

Avoid the risks

Even with a higher risk for these diseases, there’s still ways to reduce this risk. Routine medical care like screening for blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer can help lower health risks. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle like exercising daily and eating a healthy diet can also contribute to lowering risks.

Importance of regular checkups for men

Routine medical care is important because certain diseases can be prevented. For example, when high cholesterol is caught early, lifestyle changes and medications can be prescribed to prevent health events from happening. But after an event occurs, you have higher chances of developing a disability and other disease process related to the event, and be more likely to be prescribed multiple more medications than would have been prescribed for preventive measures.

When to seek medical care for an injury or a new symptom

Don’t wait to seek medical attention. If new symptoms or new changes develop, reach out to your medical team. Prevention measures exists for our own benefit, take advantage of them. If you’re the head of the household, you may have family members who depend on you. Taking care of yourself will benefit you and those who look up to you.

Why Everyone Should Get Their Immunizations

It is August, which means school is right around the corner, and flu season will be upon us before we know it. Now is the time to make sure you and your children are up to date on your vaccinations.  We spoke to primary care physician Dr. Kamal Singh about immunizations and how they spread.

Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system. They prepare the body to fight disease without exposing it to symptoms. When foreign bacteria or viruses enter the body, immune cells respond by producing antibodies. "These antibodies fight the invader known as an antigen and protect against further infection," says Dr. Singh.

Unfortunately, the first time the body faces an invader, it can take several days to ramp up this antibody response. Dr. Singh says, "For severe antigens like the measles virus or whooping cough bacteria, a few days is too long." The infection can spread and kill the person before the immune system can fight back.

Vaccines are safe and given to millions of healthy people - including children - to prevent serious diseases. Every licensed and recommended vaccine goes through years of safety testing, including:

  • Testing before it's licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and approved for use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Monitoring the safety after approval for infants, children, and adults. Once it is approved, it continues testing. The company that makes the vaccine tests batches it to make sure the vaccine is:
    • Potent
    • Pure
    • Sterile

The FDA reviews the results of these tests and inspects the immunization producing factories. These inspections ensure the vaccine meets standards for both quality and safety.

Dr. Singh says, "The U.S. has one of the most advanced systems in the world for tracking vaccine safety." Each of the infection systems below supplies a different type of data for researchers to analyze. Together, they help provide a full picture of vaccine safety.

By understanding how people can catch an infectious disease, you can then take effective action in preventing their spread.

Infectious diseases have different ways of spreading from person to person. Through the air, through direct contact, and contaminated objects or surfaces are the three primary ways.

Childhood immunizations can seem overwhelming when you are a new parent. Dr. Singh says, "Vaccine schedules recommended by the agencies and organization, such as the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Academy of Family Physicians cover about 14 different diseases."

Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or significantly decreasing dangerous illnesses.

Dr. Singh says, "Contraindications or conditions in a recipient that increases the risk for a severe adverse reaction and precautions to immunizations are good reasons not to receive a vaccine." Most contraindications and precautions are temporary; vaccinations often can be conducted later when the condition no longer exists.

Every vaccine has a list of contraindications based on the profile of the vaccine. For example, severely sick persons generally should not receive live vaccines. Also, the presence of moderate or severe acute illness and a personal or family history of seizures are precautions to the administration of vaccines.

Dr. Singh sees patients in Gainesville, and you can click here to schedule an appointment with him!