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What to Expect After a Suspicious Mammogram

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women with the exception of skin cancer. One in eight women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Women who get screening mammograms regularly are more likely to find cancer early and beat it. 

Why Women Over 40 Need a Mammogram

Some women are anxious about getting a mammogram, especially their first one. This is understandable as the unknown can be frightening, but it’s not a reason to skip the screening especially if you are over 40 and you have a family history of breast cancer. Most women will receive clear results. Only about 10 to 12 percent of women are called back for further testing after a mammogram.

What Happens if Your Mammogram is Suspicious

Even if you are called back for further testing after a mammogram, it’s not a reason to freak out. Most abnormalities found in mammograms are benign. 

The next step after a suspicious screening mammogram depends on your age and the type of screenings you’ve already had. In most instances, the next step is to undergo a diagnostic mammogram, which is a more in-depth mammogram, or a breast ultrasound. Depending on certain factors like the pattern of the abnormalities and medical history, your physician may also order an MRI of the breast or a biopsy. 

Growths found in the breast can be benign or malignant–most are benign or non-cancerous. Some benign breast conditions may cause pain or discomfort and require treatment while others are harmless and painless. However, many benign breast conditions mimic the warning signs of breast cancer, and a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis. 

Calcifications and microcalcifications are bits of calcium that may appear in mammograms. In fact, calcifications are common and appear in about half of all women over the age of 50. However, only about 1 in 10 younger women will have calcifications appear on their mammograms.

Most but not all calcifications are benign. Certain patterns such as tight clusters or lines of microcalcifications can be an early indication of cancer. The appearance of calcifications may be due to age, a past breast injury or surgery, an infection in the breast, or past radiation therapy. 

Malignant Test Results

Unfortunately, over 320,000 women in the United States will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. A cancer diagnosis still isn’t a reason to panic or expect the worst. Breast cancer treatments have come very far over the last several decades and deaths from breast cancer dropped 39 percent between 1989 and 2015. 

If you do have breast cancer, you will be diagnosed with one of two types–non-invasive breast cancer also known as ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS, or invasive breast cancer. DCIS occurs when abnormal cells grow in the milk ducts of the breast. Non-invasive breast cancer is considered non-invasive because the abnormal cells in the milk ducts haven’t spread to other parts of the breast or body. DCIS typically appears as a cluster of microcalcifications on a mammogram.

Invasive breast cancer happens when abnormal cells inside the milk ducts break out into nearby breast tissue and can even spread to the lymph nodes in the underarm. Invasive breast cancer does not mean metastatic breast cancer, although metastatic breast cancer is a form of invasive breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is when abnormal cells in the breast spread to other parts of the body. It is also known as stage IV or advanced-stage breast cancer. 

How to Get the Best Results from a Mammogram

You can’t prevent breast cancer, but you just might save your life if you start getting early mammogram screenings. Women between the ages of 40 and 44 should begin screening and have the option to get a mammogram each year. Women ages 45 – 54 should be screened each year. After age 55, women with low risks can switch to being screened every other year. 

Mammograms often follow routine women’s exams that include physical breast exams. If it’s been awhile since your last women’s exam and you are reaching the age of 40 or older, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Click here to request your women’s health appointment with Mantachie Rural Health Care today

Diabetes and Dental Hygiene

If you have diabetes, you know that high blood sugar takes its toll on the body–and that includes your teeth and gums. Left unchecked, high blood sugar levels can lead to a number of serious dental health problems such as:

  • Tooth decay. The higher the blood sugar levels, the higher the supply of sugars and starches in your mouth. Those sugars and starches produce acid that wears away at your teeth’s enamel and produces dental plaque that can develop into tartar. Tartar is hardened plaque around the gum lines, and it can only be removed by a dental professional like a dental hygienist or dentist. If left untreated, tartar can lead to serious teeth and gum problems such as periodontitis.
  • Early gum disease, or gingivitis. Diabetes reduces the mouth’s ability to fight bacteria, which is why it is crucial for diabetics to remove plaque from the gum line each day with regular brushing and flossing. Because people with diabetes have to fight harder against bacteria, they are vulnerable to early gum disease, known also as gingivitis.
  • Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis. Periodontitis destroys the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. It can eventually lead to tooth loss and the presence of an infection like periodontitis can also cause blood sugar levels to rise. 
  • Thrush. Thrush is a fungal yeast infection characterized by painful, red or white patches on the inside of the mouth or tongue. Again, people with diabetes have lower immune systems which makes them more susceptible to mouth problems like thrush.
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common issue among diabetics. A dry mouth makes teeth and gums more likely to develop decay or gum disease. 

How to Prevent Dental Problems with Dental Hygiene

The first step anyone with diabetes should take to better control their dental health, and overall health for that matter, is to learn how to properly manage diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels in check goes a long way in protecting your mouth’s health. In addition to controlling diabetes symptoms, diabetics should also practice good dental hygiene. 

Good dental hygiene begins with brushing your teeth at least twice a day, but also preferably after meals and snacks. Wait about a half-hour after eating to brush your teeth. The enamel of the teeth remains soft for about 30 minutes after eating and brushing too soon after a meal or snack can wear away the enamel. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and, if possible, an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes clean teeth and gums better and are especially helpful if you also have arthritis or other problems that make brushing more difficult.

You should also floss at least once a day as recommended by the American Dental Association. Flossing helps to remove plaque brushing can leave behind. Try the waxed variety or use floss with a handle if you have difficulty navigating the floss between your teeth. 

Good daily dental care isn’t the only step in your dental hygiene routine. Regularly scheduled visits with your dentist are also vital. Your dentist will recommend how many visits you need each year based on your physical and dental health, but most recommend visiting at least one to two times per year for a professional cleaning and exam. People with diabetes, especially those who are experiencing teeth and gum issues, may be asked to come more often to ensure good dental health. 

Finally, if you’re a smoker, you should stop. Not only does it lead to a variety of serious health problems and can make diabetes worse, smoking also destroys teeth and gums. Visit www. quit.com or www.smokefree.gov to get free help quitting the habit. Our health clinic can also provide assistance in quitting. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care is committed to providing healthcare to its rural surrounding communities. That’s why we have a dental clinic right along with our health clinic. By offering both types of care, we help those with diabetes take total care of their physical and dental health. We also offer diabetes education classes each month to help patients learn how to manage their diabetes and live better. Click here to learn more

The Truth About Childhood Obesity in Mississippi

Nearly one in five Mississippi children and teens are obese. On a nationwide scale, more than 14.4 million children and adults are severely overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to a number of serious or even deadly health conditions. We know eating healthy and staying active are the keys to a longer, healthier life, so why does obesity continue to affect so many?

Why Mississippi Children are Affected by Obesity

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, our children and teens are less active and eat less nutritious meals than in the past. In surveys conducted, nearly 10 percent of high school students went a week without eating vegetables. If that’s not frightening enough, nearly 80 percent of those students said they did not participate in at least one hour of physical activity a day. 

Other factors like the education level of children’s parents also impact obesity. Data by the Centers for Disease Control found that the prevalence of obesity was lower in households in which the head of household had higher education. 

The community environment plays a major role in the prevalence of obesity. The environmental factors include the availability of healthy food and physical activity options as well as the nutrition habits of schools, childcare centers, and the community in general. 

With all this in mind, however, genetics and behaviors are the greatest influences of obesity. Behaviors such as eating higher-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages, certain medications, and sleep routines all influence weight gain. Low physical activity and too much time spent on sedentary activities are also factors. 

Health Risks Associated with Childhood Obesity

High blood pressure and high cholesterol seem like adult problems but they can actually affect children who are overweight or obese, too. Both conditions are high risk factors for heart disease. Children and teens who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop impaired glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes. Obese children and teens are also at a higher risk of breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea. Joint and musculoskeletal discomfort, fatty liver disease, gallstone, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder(GERD)  are also more likely. 

What Parents Can Do to Help 

Parents have a greater impact on their children and obesity than you might think. The meals you serve at home and the physical activities you participate in yourself influence the food and activity choices your children will make. 

The best thing you can do as a parent is to learn how to improve nutrition for your entire family. Kids and teens need at least five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Screen time should be extremely limited and physical activity should be strongly encouraged.

If you are struggling with incorporating healthy habits and meals, a great place to look for help is right here at Mantachie Rural Health Care. Our dietitian Erica Witcher, RDE, CDE, can teach you how to create healthy meals and encourage more physical activity in your family. To learn more about how our dietitian can help you, dial 662-282-4226. 

FDA Approves Generic Swap for Brand Name Insulin

Good news came at the end of July 2021 for diabetic patients who are struggling to afford insulin. On July 28, 2021, FDA regulators took action to make a cheaper, near-duplicate of brand-name insulin more accessible. 

This approval could save diabetic patients and health plans millions each year. It could also encourage drug companies to create more biosimilar meds. Biosimilar is the term used for medicines that are near-duplicates of a brand-name drug. Diabetic patients who want to swap to the generic form of insulin must ask their provider to either specifically prescribe the biosimilar or okay a substitution for the brand-name insulin.

FDA approval for the new generic insulin came after the administration agreed that Viatris’ Semglee is interchangeable with Lantus, a fast-acting brand-name insulin. The generic Semglee was launched in the summer of 2020 after Mylan, N.V. merged with another company to form Viatris in December 2019. 

Why Generic Insulin Hasn’t Been Widely Available in the US

Research from health data company, IQVIA, projects that US savings from increasing the use of biosimilars will top $100 billion by 2024. So why aren’t more generic biosimilars already available in the US? Red tape, lengthy patents, and pushback from brand-name drug companies are mostly to blame for the limited sales of biosimilars. 

Despite delays, 29 biosimilars have been approved by the FDA including biosimilars for brand-name cancer and immune disorder drugs. Only 20 of those 29 are actually sold here at this time. 

What You Can Do to Help Increase Biosimilar Sales

As a patient, you have more power to enact change than you might think. If you are a diabetic patient using Lantus simply ask your prescriber to swap your medicine for the generic Semglee. The more patients who switch to the generic form, the more likely it is that other drug companies will begin offering more generic versions of costly brand-name meds.

The approval of Semglee as a swap for the brand-name insulin could change the lives of many diabetic patients who are not taking the proper amount of insulin they need each day in order to preserve their costly medicine. The cost of Semglee compared to the brand-name Lantus is less than half. Semglee will run around $150-$190 without insurance for a month’s supply while Lantus runs between $340-$520 a month. 

Are you a diabetic patient struggling to afford your insulin? Your Mantachie Rural Health Care provider can help by swapping your brand-name medicine for the new generic form. For more information or to request an appointment, click here.

What We Can Learn from Simone Biles’ Mental Health Battles

After a year’s delay due to covid-19, the Olympics finally returned in Tokyo on July 23, 2021. One of the first and most anticipated events to be televised was the women’s gymnastics team final. Sports fans across America and other parts of the globe gathered around the television to watch the young female competitors of Team USA. 

One gymnast, in particular, was at the top of everyone’s conversation. Simone Biles is a four-time Olympic gold medal winner and World Champion. Some consider her to be one of gymnastics’ greatest of all time. Fans waited with baited anticipation for Biles to take her turn in the team competition. But when Biles began her vault routine, it was clear that something was amiss with the world’s most decorated active gymnast. 

During her vault routine, Simone Biles began experiencing the “twisties,” a very real condition affecting gymnasts. The twisties is a loss of air awareness that can result in catastrophe for the gymnast. It was this event that led to Biles’ decision to pull out of the rest of the team competition’s events. 

Biles’ decision stunned everyone from her teammates to sports announcers to the fans watching from home. Her choice stirred up even more controversy when she shared the reason behind her difficult decision. Biles decided to withdraw to “do what’s right for me and focus on my mental health.”

Biles’ initial statement didn’t give much away about what exactly happened, but she later took to Instagram to share more details. “Honestly petrifying trying to do a skill but not having your mind and body in sync. 10/10 do not recommend.” Along with her statement, Biles shared a video from practice that was later removed, in which she was clearly struggling on events she normally mastered. 

What We Can Learn from Simone’s Mental Health Struggles

In a later interview, Biles was asked what was the biggest misconception about her mental health. She responded, “That I was at no risk, and that mental health isn’t a serious issue.”

Perhaps it’s hard to believe that one of the greatest athletes of all time could possibly be struggling with mental health issues. But Biles experienced deep trauma as a sexual abuse victim of former Olympic physician, Dr. Larry Nassar, and has shared that she was depressed during the 2016 Olympics. 

Biles has clearly learned how important it is to take your mental health seriously. She made no commitments to compete in any further competitions at the Olympics until she felt stronger mentally. On Tuesday, August 3, 2021, Biles returned to the competition to compete in the balance beam event, an event for which she won a bronze medal.

Biles was initially unsure if she would return to the Tokyo games and made no apologies for putting her mental health first, despite the criticism she received from some commentators and fans. She understood that until she was able to improve herself mentally, she was no good to her team. 

Pressing the pause button to focus on her mental help was probably one of the best decisions Biles could have made. Burnout, depression, and anxiety are as real as any other mental health condition. 

If you are struggling to keep your head above water, and it’s affecting your normal day-to-day life, it is time to focus on your mental health. This may mean taking a temporary break from work or other life responsibilities to get well. You may receive criticism like Biles, but those who truly care and know you well should show support. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers behavioral health counseling and other services to help our patients get back on track. If you are struggling with mental health issues, don’t keep suffering alone. Click here to request your appointment with one of our mental health specialists. 

The Truth About Drug Addiction Overdose and Recovery

September is National Recovery Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to the importance of recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction or a mental health trauma. 

Why Addiction Recovery and Overdose Awareness is Important for Everyone

Since 1999, nearly 841,000 people have died from a drug overdose. In 2019 alone, over 70,500 overdose deaths occurred in the United States. That number continues to increase each year and our country hasn’t experienced a significant decrease in overdose deaths in many years.

If these numbers aren’t reason enough to care about drug addiction overdoses and recovery, perhaps understanding that drug addiction can affect any person from any walk of life will get your attention. That’s right, you and your family members are not exempt from experiencing drug or alcohol addiction no matter how good of a lifestyle you try to live. It can and does happen to all types of people.

Drug overdoses are a leading cause of injury death in the US among people ages 25 to 64. Adults aren’t the only ones at risk, however. More than 4,770 teens also died from a drug overdose in 2019. Nearly 3,320 teenage boys passed away from a drug overdose that year while just under 1,500 teen girls also died from the same cause. The overwhelming majority of these deaths were caused by opioids. 

What You Need to Know About Opioids and Overdoses

Opioids, especially synthetic opioids, are the number one cause of overdose deaths in the United States. Synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, accounted for nearly 73% of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2019. In total, opioids were involved in nearly 50,000 overdose deaths that same year. 

Overdoses typically occur within 1-3 hours of using the drug and despite what many falsely believe, an overdose can happen the very first time you use a substance like opioids or amphetamines. Mixing opiate drugs with other depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines greatly increases the risk of an overdose death as does combining them with a psychostimulant like methamphetamine. Using pure heroin after regularly using heroin that has been “cut” with another substance like sugar can also lead to an overdose.

The Truth About Recovery and Overdosing

Relapsing after spending time not using your drug of choice also increases your risk of overdose death. That’s why support during recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism is so important to success. Addicts are more likely to relapse if they feel they lack a support system or are still receiving criticism for their past choices from those who should be lending their support. 

Addicts are considered in remission from substance addiction five years after addiction recovery begins. If you relapse and survive, don’t let your recurrence be a reason to wallow in your addiction. Recurrence is normal for most addicts but doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of staying sober. It can take time for an addict to adjust to their new life post-addiction. The important thing to remember is not to give up hope no matter if you are an addict or a loved one of an addict.

Like with other health conditions, early intervention can lead to earlier remission from addiction. If you or someone you love has recently started a new drug addiction, there is still time to get on the path to a faster recovery. 

You should know that there is no one perfect path to recovery. Many addicts find pharmacological, social, and psychological treatments to be helpful while some are able to recover without formal help. Any of these options are acceptable as long as they truly lead to remission. 

Addiction treatment and counseling is one of several behavioral health services we offer at Mantachie Rural Health Care. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.

Gastroparesis and Diabetes

Gastroparesis, or gastric emptying, is a serious medical condition affecting the digestive system. It is characterized by the delayed emptying of food contents in the stomach.  Gastroparesis and diabetes are often connected.

Gastroparesis occurs when the stomach nerves are damaged or stop working. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract. Diabetes can damage this nerve if blood glucose levels remain too high for a long period of time. 

Symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting undigested food
  • Feeling full when you haven’t eaten much
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Erratic blood glucose levels
  • Poor appetite
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Stomach wall spasms

Gastroparesis symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the patient.

Complications from gastroparesis can be severe and even dangerous. Bacterial overgrowth can occur from the fermentation of food leftover in the stomach. Hardened, solid masses of food known as bezoars can also develop and cause nausea, vomiting, and obstructions in the digestive system. Bezoars become dangerous when they block food from passing through the small intestine.

When food finally passes into the small intestine, blood glucose levels rise. Erratic blood glucose levels caused by gastroparesis can make diabetes worse. 

What You Can Do to Treat Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis is a chronic illness that cannot be cured. In most cases, however, it can be controlled through proper treatment. The primary goal for treating diabetes-related gastroparesis is to regain control of blood glucose levels. Treatments for gastroparesis include insulin, oral meds, and changes in diet. Severe cases may require a feeding tube and intravenous feeding.

Diabetics with gastroparesis may need to take insulin more often to help control blood glucose levels. Your provider may advise you to take insulin before you eat a meal instead of after. You may also need to check your insulin levels more often. 

Are you concerned about gastroparesis symptoms? It’s time to talk with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider about your concerns and find out what’s next. Click here to request a visit now. 

How Food Choices Affect Your Cancer Risk

“You are what you eat!” We’ve all heard that phrase at some point in our lives and thought it might sound silly, the phrase couldn’t be more true. What we eat influences our health greater than any other influences like our diet, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors. The foods we consume affect every part of our bodies from our brains to our bones. Diet choices can lead to certain health conditions or make them worse. Type II diabetes is a great example of a health condition affected by food choices. Another serious disease your diet can lead to is cancer. That’s right. Your daily food choices affect your cancer risk. 

How Unhealthy Food Choices Affect Your Cancer

Science and the medical community still have many unanswered questions about the links between food choices and cancer. One link we are sure of is between red or processed meat and cancer. Consuming any amount of processed meat and more than eighteen ounces of red meat each week strongly influences your cancer risk. Red meats include beef, pork, or lamb. Processed meats include but are not limited to bacon, sausage, lunch meats, and hot dogs. 

Processed sugar is another food strongly linked to higher cancer risk. Diets that are high in sugary beverages such as sodas, juices, and sports drinks, as well as processed sugary snacks like cookies and candies are bad for your health in a number of ways. Even “healthier” choices like granola and fruit and grain bars as well as “sugar-free” beverages are still high in sugar or artificial sweeteners. 

What to Eat to Lower Your Cancer Risk

Healthy eating habits aren’t just good for your waistline, they can actually lower your risk of developing certain health conditions and diseases including cancer. A healthy diet is rich in plant-based foods, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. A healthy dinner plate is filled with colorful veggies and fruit, whole grains, and one protein-filled food like fish, poultry, or beans. 

Plant-based foods are your best fighters against cancer and other diseases. These foods contain naturally occurring substances called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients include:

  • Carotenoids, or carotenes, found in red, orange, yellow, and some dark green veggies
  • Polyphenols, found in herbs, spices, veggies, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, berries, apples, onions, and other sources
  • Allium compounds, found in chives, garlic, leeks, and onions

Plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect against oxidants, which cause cellular damage and increases your risk of cancer. Examples of antioxidants include beta carotene, selenium, and vitamins C and E. Other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iodine, and vitamins A, D, K, and B also contain antioxidants.

Dietary fiber is also essential for lowering cancer risks. Fiber helps nourish a healthy community of microbes, better known as microbiomes. Healthy microbiomes are linked to lower cancer risk. Foods that are high in dietary fiber include whole grains and seeds, whole-grain bread and pasta, beans, lentils, split peas, and fruits and veggies.

Shopping Tips for a Healthier Diet

Before we go, we’ll leave you with a shopping tip for your next grocery store visit. Stick to shopping the outer aisles. Fresh foods like produce, meats, and dairy products are always found in the outer aisles or boundaries of grocery stores. The inner aisles are where you will find the majority of processed, sugary, and high-fat foods. The only inner aisles you should visit are aisles containing coffee, tea, and dry beans and peas. Don’t tempt yourself by visiting other inner aisles like the baking and snack aisles. 

One more shopping tip for healthier eating habits is to make a list before you head to the grocery stores. Sure, you may remember to restock the milk and bananas but keeping a list will help you stay on track and away from impulse buys that often come with unhealthy food choices. If grocery pick-up or delivery is available in your area, consider these options, too. You can shop online according to your list without the temptations of unhealthy foods being all around you. Plus, pick-up and delivery will save you time that could be spent on cultivating a garden of fresh fruits and vegetables or preparing healthy meals for your family. 

Have more questions about your diet and cancer risk? Your healthcare provider is an excellent source of information and advice. Annual wellness visits are the perfect time to discuss diet changes and health concerns with your provider. As an added bonus, patients of Mantachie Rural Health Care can request to speak with our registered dietitian during their appointment for no extra cost. Click here to request a visit with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider today. 

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How Vaccines Have Improved Over the Years

Vaccines have come a long way since the “father of vaccines” Edward Jenner first successfully developed a smallpox vaccine in 1796. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1940s that the smallpox vaccine and a vaccine to prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis were mass-produced. By the late 1960s, vaccines for polio, measles, mumps, and rubella were also developed and distributed. Vaccines have improved over the years as new studies and developments revealed the need for changes.

As happy as people were to finally have protection against some of the world’s most devastating illnesses, many became concerned about the safety of vaccines.

Patients began to express concern about the possible adverse effects of vaccines and some claimed that they or someone they knew had become injured or ill after being inoculated. By the time the 1970s rolled around, demand for better regulation on vaccines surged. Citizens also wanted more understanding and transparency on vaccine safety.

The US’s Response to the Demand for Better Vaccine Safety

The demand for better vaccine safety resulted in the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). The NCVIA established several programs and regulations for physicians and government agencies to protect patients and provide education about vaccines and their safety. Programs and regulations established as a result of the NCVIA include:

  • The founding of the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPC). The NVPC coordinates all vaccine-related activities between Department of Human Services (DHS) agencies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 
  • The requirement of physicians and healthcare providers who administer vaccines to provide vaccine information statements with each and every vaccine. This requirement is included for multiple doses of vaccines, which means you should receive one of these statements every time you get an immunization, even if it’s a second or third required dose.
  • The requirement of providers and physicians to report any adverse events occurring in patients following inoculation. This is required even if the provider is unsure that the adverse event and the vaccine administration are related. 
  • The establishment of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which helps patients and their families after having an adverse reaction or event due to a vaccine. 
  • The formation of a committee within the Institute of Medicine that reviews the literature on vaccine reactions. 

Improvements of Vaccines Through the Years

All vaccines, even the oldest vaccines, continued to be studied for safety and efficacy. These continued studies have resulted in changes and improvements to vaccines over the years. The first major change occurred with the introduction of a new, more purified acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP). The DTaP vaccine replaced the original whole pertussis vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. This new version of the vaccine was proven to be more effective in preventing illnesses and had fewer mild and severe side effects. 

Another big change that improved the safety of a vaccine was the changes in when the vaccine is scheduled to be administered. These changes resulted in fewer reported adverse events following inoculation. The first change established a schedule that included sequential administration of an inactivated vaccine and an oral polio vaccine. Later, it was found that the inactivated polio vaccine had better prevention results and fewer side effects. The inactivated polio vaccine is the only type of polio vaccine administered today. 

It’s important to know that all vaccines go through intense research and development phases that include multiple small and large study trials before they are considered for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Once vaccines are licensed by the FDA, the ACIP must review and establish recommendations on how to use the vaccine for disease control in the United States. 

Vaccines have saved many lives and prevented many severe illnesses since their inception centuries ago. As you can see, approved vaccines must go through a rigorous process before they are ever considered for the open market. Even vaccines against acute illnesses like the flu and covid-19 must go through this process. 

We hope today’s article helps you understand vaccines and the safety of vaccines better. Vaccines are developed for your protection and we want you to feel safe about getting inoculated yourself or having your children vaccinated. Your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider is an excellent source of information regarding vaccines. To learn more about vaccines or to schedule yourself or your children for a vaccine, call us at 662-282-4226.

The Delta Covid-19 Variant in Mississippi

On the day this article was written, at least 12 children were in an intensive care unit. Seven of those children were on life support as a result of the delta covid-19 variant in Mississippi. 

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs shared this information on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, and encouraged Mississippi residents to take the new delta variant seriously. Dobbs stated that the delta variant is the most common type of covid-19 that’s been recently diagnosed in Mississippi. Most cases are occurring in non-vaccinated residents. He also reminded residents that we are currently seeing a surge in covid-19 cases and precautions should be established to help curb this uptick.

On the same day that Dr. Dobbs tweeted this new information, the Mississippi Department of Health reported more than 200 new cases of covid-19 and released new public health guidance. These recommendations include:

  • Asking those 65 and older and residents with underlying medical conditions, even those who have been vaccinated, to avoid large indoor gatherings. 
  • Asking all Mississippi residents aged 12 years or older to get vaccinated. 
  • Requesting unvaccinated residents to wear a mask during all public outings.

Why the Delta Variant is Rising in Mississippi

At this time, only 33.5% of the state has been fully vaccinated against covid-19. A large portion of those unvaccinated in Mississippi are children and the delta variant seems to have a strong transmission among younger people. 

Children aren’t the only ones at risk. Anyone unvaccinated, is 65 or older, or has an underlying medical condition is at a greater risk for contracting covid-19. These same groups are also at a greater risk for serious illness or death from the disease. 

What You Can Do to Help Stop the Spread

After enjoying several months of “freedom” from masks and social distancing, it’s time to dust off the mask and implement some social distancing rules again. We don’t expect the state to go into a shutdown but you can help stop the spread of this latest variant by practicing your own safety guidelines. Keep washing your hands often and avoid large crowds. Wear a mask if you aren’t vaccinated and consider getting inoculated soon. 

If you do develop covid-9 symptoms, isolate yourself right away and get a proper diagnosis from your provider. It is extremely important to get tested for covid-19 as soon as you notice symptoms. An early diagnosis and treatment can save your life and the lives of those around you. 

If you are experiencing covid-19 symptoms, contact Mantachie Rural Healthcare today at 662-282-4226 to get help. 


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