Vaccines

Diet and age at menopause: Is there a connection?

According to a recent study, there may be a connection between diet and age at menopause. Foods like legumes and oily fish appeared to delay the start of menopause, while refined pasta and rice were associated with an earlier start.

Meningitis vaccines: What parents need to know

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Most people who get viral meningitis get better without treatment, but bacterial meningitis is much more serious, and can be fatal. Meningitis vaccines can help protect against the most common bacteria responsible; two are given in infancy, and the third should be given before adolescence.

3 ways to help get more children immunized

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

In order to increase the number of children who receive all the recommended vaccinations, greater effort must be made in providing health care access to all children, and doctors must understand the wide range of reasons for parents’ resistance to vaccines.

Celebrities get shingles, too

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, though it can be dormant in a person for decades before flaring up suddenly. Not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles, but it is more common in those who are older or who have a weakened immune system.

Vaccinations: More than just kid stuff

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Some people think that once they reach adulthood they no longer need any vaccinations, but this is not true. Besides an annual flu shot (which everyone should get), adults should get several other vaccinations, and depending on current guidelines, may need an occasional booster shot or a new vaccine.

What’s new with the flu shot?

Dominic Wu, MD

Contributing Editor

If you are planning to get a flu shot but have not yet done so, it may be worth waiting a little longer, as data on patients from four recent flu seasons found that protection against the virus declined over the course of the winter.

Using social media to help parents get vaccine questions answered

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Doctors want their patients to have access to accurate and helpful health information, and today that means online. Researchers found that expectant mothers who used a website that provided information about vaccines were more likely to get their babies vaccinated.

Good news about the HPV vaccine

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The administration of the HPV vaccine has significantly lowered rates of infection among the population it is intended to protect, as well as among those who have not been vaccinated.

Flu shots during pregnancy

A recent small study linked the flu shot during pregnancy with an increased risk for miscarriage. However it did not establish that the flu shot causes miscarriage. Despite these results, pregnant women should be reassured that the benefits of getting a flu shot outweigh any potential risk.

10 things parents should know about flu shots

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Even though it’s only the beginning of September, parents should be thinking about scheduling flu shots for their children (and themselves). Here’s the latest information everyone needs to know about getting vaccinated.