Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
August 2019

Symptoms: To treat or not to treat?

To treat or not to treat - August 2019 Parents PACKFever. Chills. Coughing. Sneezing. Headache. Stuffy nose. 

Being sick is no fun. All you want is to feel better, or make your loved one feel better. Often, the first stop is the medicine cabinet or the “cough and cold” aisle of the local pharmacy. But is that really the best thing to do?

The instinct to treat the symptoms of illness makes sense. Over-the-counter medicines may make people feel better, but the reality is that, often, these medicines are just making the work of the immune system more difficult. This is because most symptoms are actually caused by the immune system’s response to an infection. Read on to find out what causes several of the common symptoms people experience when they are sick, and what to consider before opening the cap on that medicine bottle.

News & Notes

August is . . . a month of celebrations!

Although summer is winding down, it is not over yet!  As you are enjoying the last “lazy days of summer,” take a moment to note these immunization-related celebrations:

  • On August 30, 2019, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, one of the world’s most accomplished scientists, would have turned 100 years old. Although Dr. Hilleman died in 2005, his 100-year birthday is a great time to remember him because his work has touched all of us. He developed more than half of the routinely recommended vaccines that children receive in the first two years of life. 

    Dr. Hilleman was born in Montana near the end of the 1918 influenza pandemic. His twin sister and his mom died within days of his birth. Find out more about how this man, with the odds against him from birth, became an American hero at Check this site later in August for information about a special online event on August 30!
  • August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). As we collectively celebrate the success of vaccines, it is important to remember that vaccines protect against diseases that are still a threat and which can be severe, or even deadly. Vaccines are safe and effective, and they protect the best when received according to the recommended schedule.

How does measles vaccine help community immunity?

The Guardian created a graphic demonstration of how measles vaccine coverage can make a community more or less protected against a measles outbreak. Although the graphic, and accompanying article, was published during the measles outbreak that started in Disneyland in 2015, the graphic remains a useful demonstration of community immunity. While cases of measles have decreased in the current U.S. outbreaks, some people are still being diagnosed with the illness. 

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

The American Red Cross held a campaign to raise funds for distribution of what vaccine?  

  1. Polio
  2. Measles
  3. Hepatitis B
  4. Rotavirus
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