This week's Health Watch takes a look at the chickenpox vaccine, explores the benefits of volunteering, and examines a study linking fertility treatment and childhood cancer.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Facts about chickenpox vaccine
Recent news reports of a chickenpox outbreak at a Los Angeles-area elementary school have drawn attention to the childhood disease and raised awareness of the chickenpox vaccine. Unvaccinated children were asked to stay home after three cases of chickenpox occurred at the school, including one in a child who had received the vaccine, CBS reported.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who get vaccinated for chickenpox won’t develop the itchy, uncomfortable, blistering illness. If they do, it will likely be a mild case, with fewer blisters and a faster recovery, the CDC says. The vaccine is usually given in two doses, with the first between 12-15 months old and the second between 4-6 years old.
Although complications can arise from any vaccine, risks associated with the chickenpox vaccine are “extremely small,” the CDC says. “Getting chickenpox vaccine is much safer than getting chickenpox disease.”
Volunteering can provide health and wellness benefits
Across the country, companies give employees the opportunity to volunteer for worthy causes, even paying them to do so. These efforts can lead to some serious collective gains. For example, through the Health of America initiative, employees from the 36 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies volunteered more than 400,000 hours and donated over $11 million in 2016 alone.
Whatever program your employer has in place, here are some of the personal benefits that come with volunteering:
Health. Studies have found that people who regularly volunteer tend to lead healthier lives and have a reduced risk of heart disease.
Community. In our digital age when everyone is engrossed in their smartphones, connecting with others — whether it’s those in need or other volunteers — is more important than ever.
Family. Many people find that volunteering with their family creates an incredible bonding experience.
Study links fertility treatment and childhood cancer
Children conceived through fertility treatments may be at higher risk for developing childhood cancers, according to a study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.
The study of more than 242,000 children born between 1991 and 2013 found those born through in vitro fertilization were 2.5 times more likely to develop childhood cancer than children conceived naturally. Researchers concluded the association between fertility treatments and cancer was significant.
“With increasing numbers of offspring conceived after fertility treatments, it is important to follow up on their health,” Dr. Eyal Sheiner, vice dean of the university’s Faculty of Health Sciences and a member of its Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said in the university’s announcement of the research.
In 2015, 67,818 children were conceived and born through fertility treatments in the U.S., the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports.
Underweight female runners at risk for stress fractures
According to a new study by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, female runners who are underweight (a Body Mass Index of less than 19) are at a higher risk of developing stress fractures than those women with a BMI of more than 19. The study also found that underweight women who suffer a stress fracture took longer to recover from such injury. Researchers found that women whose BMI was 19 or higher took 13 weeks for recovery, while those with a BMI of less than 19 took 17 weeks.
— More Content Now