Vaccination: What to Do?

With the recent report of measles in the Collingwood area, we’ve been fielding many questions from local parents. Is my kid at risk of measles if they are vaccinated? What about the kids who aren’t vaccinated?  Are they at risk? Are they increasing the risk of infection for my child?

There is much emotion in the media, with arguments on both sides.  The “Pro-Vaxers” blame the “Anti-Vaxers” for the current outbreak, and the Anti-Vaxers point fingers at the profit motive for big pharma to not publish the real risks of vaccines.

Vaccines are risk management tools. There are no zero-risk vaccines. There are no zero-risk diseases. And there’s no right answer. The risk profile for every disease and every vaccine is different. What we know for each ranges from decades of testing and research, to very little. You have to decide on the risks and benefits yourself.

The parents we work with at StoneTree are neither purely anti- or pro-vaccine. What they are is pro-informed choice They want to have all the information they can get to manage the risk of both the disease AND the vaccine for their children.

There is no absolute right answer that fits everyone. Getting the best, most unbiased information is the only way to come up with the right answer for you and your kids.

Here are the resources that we most often recommend to our patients.

  • Site: Dr. Katia Bailetti, ND – Dr. Bailetti ND, is a naturopathic doctor who had to make the decision for her own child and went into an intensive investigation of the data. She has written two books on the subject and offers parents consultations and seminars on this issue. Her site has a number of vaccination resources.

How Good is the Evidence?

One of Dr. Tara’s family members was recently the recipient of a double lung and liver transplant. The miracle of him breathing with someone else’s lungs only five days after receiving them could not have happened without research, drugs and technology. Truly amazing.

One of the things we’re complimented on here at StoneTree is that we’re not anti-conventional medicine, and tend to be very analytical in our approach to assessment and diagnosis. Medical research has made enormous leaps, and we would never want to go back to a time when antibiotics were not available to deal with serious infections, or to a time when the medicine responsible for saving you from a heart attack did not exist.

There is the other side to the research coin though, when it comes to the drug management of chronic diseases, particularly those that are attributed to poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and chronic stress. These research studies, or at least how they are reported, may not what they seem.

Dr. Ben Goldacre MD, delivers a TEDtalk on the topic that is absolutely worth a listen:

How Can You Use This as a Patient?

1.  Be a skeptic and ask lots of questions. You are the expert on your own body.  If something doesn’t make sense to you keep asking questions until it does. You’re entitled to answers that you understand, and that make sense.

2.  Get to the root cause of your chronic disease. Eat real food, exercise, drink clean water, sleep and deal with your stress. The vast majority of chronic diseases, like Type II Diabetes, are lifestyle based. If you can change your lifestyle, you can avoid the use of the drugs in the first place. Then the evidence no longer matters.

What Are You Addicted To?

12861374_sTis the season for spring-cleaning, and it is not uncommon for the StoneTree naturopaths to start recommending a good spring detox.

Some of our patients tackle a change-of-season cleanse with great enthusiasm, but for many of us the thought of giving up booze, coffee, sugar, or gluten–just to name a few–seems a little more daunting.

We hear a lot of:

  • “But I only have one glass of wine a night”
  • “I’m just too busy to go gluten-free”
  • “I can’t wake up without a cup of coffee and it’s ONLY one, maybe two”
  • “But I heard chocolate is actually good for you”.

The great Wikipedia defines addiction as “the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences”, and these things would seem to fit the definition in many cases. Despite the fact that intake of these daily substances is causing weight gain, trouble sleeping, digestive complaints, or mood imbalances, we tend to stick with them.

Doctor, Heal Thyself: What Are The StoneTree Docs Addicted To?

As doctors, it’s so easy to see where our patients are getting in their own way. But what about us? During one recent case conference we focused the magnifying glass back on ourselves. Were any of us engaging in any repetitive behaviors despite adverse consequences? I think you can guess what the answer was. 🙂

Dr. Tara, a life-long coffee lover, has been having sleep issues. This is a brand new thing for the girl who could sleep in the middle of a raging house party. After months of telling her patients with insomnia to eliminate caffeine, it was time to face the facts. Could it be that her beloved morning coffee was actually the cause? Could it be that “one, maybe two cups in the morning” had gradually been creeping up and the odd post-lunch caffeine hit was becoming far too common?

One sure way to find out: Ditch the caffeine for 30 days and see what happens to the sleep.

Her strategy:

  1. Commit to it and tell everyone she is doing it. Her family knows (and they are scared), her friends know, her patients know, the hamster knows. For Tara this helps her stayed committed because she wants to keep her word.
  2. Find a substitute. The morning ritual of sharing a hot cup of coffee with her best guy is not something she was willing to give up. So she found a coffee substitute–Dandy Blend (available at Pure vegan restaurant).
  3. Monitor her original symptoms. Giving up something you are biochemically dependent on can lead to symptoms of withdrawal–in this case headaches, brain fog, and morning fatigue. Don’t forget to focus on the reason you are doing it in the first place–better sleep and decreased anxiety.
  4. Ask for support. The StoneTree team is a great support for getting the job done. The challenge was taken up by others on the team and we are all helping each other through it. It also helps that her hubby has stopped the coffee at home too….no early morning temptation…

Good luck with your spring cleaning!