Infants Should Receive Hepatitis B Vaccinations

Article excerpt

Dear Abby: Thank you for informing the public about hepatitis B by printing the excellent letter from Thelma King Thiel, president of the American Liver Foundation. I would like to add three points about this disease and the national recommendations for its prevention.

First, as a family physician, I want the public to know that in addition to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians also recommends the routine vaccination of all infants against hepatitis B.

Second, all pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B during pregnancy to make sure they are not silent carriers of this disease. If undetected, hepatitis B can be passed to their infants, and may cause liver failure or liver cancer. The testing of all pregnant women has been a national recommendation since 1988.

And third, please urge parents to check their babies' shot records to make sure they have been vaccinated against both hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenza B. These vaccines are both recommended for all infants. Although their names are similar, the vaccines are different. DEBORAH L. WEXLER, M.D. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR HEPATITIS B COALITION

Thank you for a valuable letter. Readers who want more information on hepatitis B should send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Hepatitis B Coalition, 417 University Avenue West, St. Paul, Minn. 55103.

Dear Abby: A neighbor of mine who is also a good friend had a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit. She promised her husband she wouldn't smoke anymore, so she started chewing tobacco as a substitute.

Abby, it's bad enough to see a tobacco-chewing man looking for someplace to spit, but seeing a woman do it is really disgusting. …

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