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A quick and easy dose of fruits


Yogurt Shake

½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
¾ cup plain low fat yogurt
1½ cups frozen, unsweetened strawberries

Add ingredients, in order listed, to blender container. Puree at medium speed, until thick and smooth.

Source: www.cdc.gov/nutrition

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Walk right in

No appointment necessary these days and times

MGH Cox 5
55 Fruit Street, Boston
T, Th, F: 8:30 - 11:00 a.m.
W: 1-3 p.m.

Chelsea Health Center
151 Everett Avenue, Chelsea
T: 1:30- 3:30 p.m.
Th: 3-6 p.m.

Getting the right dose

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock
The first day of school seems very far away when the hunt is on for a slice of shade to cool down from summer’s heat. Yet every parent knows that day is coming. Along with new clothes and calculators, one essential for kids heading back to school is vaccinations to help them stay healthy. That’s also true for babies and younger children who won’t be cracking the books.

Why should I vaccinate my child?

“Vaccines protect all of our children against dangerous diseases like polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and measles,” said Jan Cook, medical director of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “Many younger people have never known anyone who has had these diseases because the vaccines work very well. They’re especially important in the early years of a child’s life before the immune defenses that fight off bacteria and viruses are well-developed.”

When you vaccinate your child you protect others, too. Babies, young children, elderly people and anyone with an immune system compromised by illness may become very sick, or even die, if exposed to certain diseases vaccines help prevent. For pregnant women, such exposure might harm a growing fetus.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that most of the recommended childhood vaccines are 85 to 95 percent effective.

Which vaccines does my child need?

Discuss the right vaccines for your child with your pediatrician. Recommendations change as new information flows in and new vaccines become available. Your child’s age, health issues and other factors affect which vaccines your doctor recommends. Additional vaccines or particular formulations may be suggested for children considered at high risk due to certain illnesses, such as sickle cell disease. If your child has missed some vaccines or skipped doses, your doctor can choose the best catch-up schedule.

The CDC recommends several vaccines for most children and teens between birth and age 18. Many vaccines require a few doses given weeks, months or years apart to help develop strong immunity. So even if your child had a specific vaccine before age 2, he or she may need another shot between ages 4-6 or 11-12 to get full benefits. Because immunity can wear off over time, booster shots may be recommended at later ages, too. Odds are good that you are familiar with certain vaccines, such as those that protect against polio or measles. You might scratch your head about others like the pneumococcal vaccine (it helps block bacteria that can cause pneumonia and infections in the blood, brain and spinal cord), or the rotavirus vaccine (it helps prevent infection with a contagious virus that is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children, prompting dehydration and sometimes hospitalizations). If you have questions, talk to your health care provider. Or learn more about vaccines through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts website, www.ahealthyme.com.

What about side effects?

All medicines, including vaccines, may have side effects. These vary depending on the vaccine and not every child will experience them. Common examples are a low fever, rash or soreness at the spot where a shot was given. Serious reactions like seizures, severe allergic responses or brain swelling are rare, generally occurring once per thousands to millions of doses, according to the CDC.

Vaccines have been successful enough that many people have never experienced the dangers of certain diseases. Comparing risks to benefits may help ease fears about side effects. Diphtheria, for example, coats the back of the throat with a thick covering that can prompt breathing problems, paralysis and heart failure. Tetanus (lockjaw) can painfully tighten muscles all over the body and thus may prevent opening the mouth or swallowing. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that causes violent coughing fits and difficulty breathing. Deaths stemming from actual cases of diphtheria (1 in 20), tetanus (1 in 10) and pertussis (1 in 1,500) far outstrip deaths from the DTaP vaccine (none proven) that protects against these diseases.

Some parents worry that vaccinations could trigger conditions like sudden infant death syndrome, autism or diabetes weeks or even years afterward. However, a 2011 report from the U.S. Institute of Medicine investigating these claims found no evidence to support these concerns.

Other immunization schedules