| Don’t vaccinate your children? Science says otherwise…

There is controversy surrounding vaccines against childhood diseases, but a new study has shown that pneumococcal vaccines could be the reasons for the drop in ear infections.

South African statistics aren’t available, but ear infections in American kids dropped threefold over 10 years, compared to the 1980s, largely due to pneumococcal vaccines that protect against one type of bacteria that causes them, a new study suggests.

A shift in bacteria

However, the study, which tracked more than 600 children from 2006 to 2016, also found a shift in the bacteria now triggering greater numbers of ear infections. The investigators also found that these germs are not killed by amoxicillin, the top-recommended antibiotic for the condition.

“The magnitude of the drop in the occurrence of ear infections was more than I expected,” said study author Dr Michael Pichichero. He’s director of the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute in Rochester, New York.

“The second big finding is we’ve got this shift in the no 1 bacteria. If something is not done, I would expect ear infections to come back in frequency,” Pichichero added.

ear infections health 24

Common among children

Children in the United States experience more than 5 million ear infections each year, resulting in more than 10 million antibiotic prescriptions and about 30 million annual visits for medical care, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

At this stage, no published figures are available for the prevalence of ear infection in South African children.

Known medically as “acute otitis media”, ear infections are the most common condition treated with antibiotics. Streptococcus pneumoniae has been driving most of the infections, the study authors noted.

According to a Health24 article, cold, allergy, or upper respiratory infection (including the nose, sinuses, larynx or voice box, and throat) and the presence of bacteria or viruses lead to the accumulation of pus, inflammation, and mucus behind the eardrum, blocking the eustachian tubes (leading from the ear to the throat).

Minor surgical procedure

In the new study, Pichichero’s team determined the type of bacteria causing each case of ear infection among the participants by performing a minor surgical procedure in which a doctor drains the pus from behind the ear to relieve pain and remove infection.

During the study period, 23% of the children experienced at least one ear infection, and 3.6% had at least three ear infections by 12 months of age. By the age of three, about 60% of the children had one or more ear infections, and about 24% had three or more ear infections.

But those ear infection rates are drastically lower than three decades ago due to the pneumococcal vaccine, which wipes out Streptococcus pneumoniae, the researchers reported.

Effective vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine was introduced in 2000 and improved in 2010 with a version that enhanced its effectiveness by protecting for additional strains of the bacteria, Pichichero noted. The vaccine is administered routinely to babies in the United States as part of check-ups at two, four and six months of age, with a booster given at 12 to 15 months, he said. When older children or adults receive the vaccine, they require only one dose.

On the other hand, the pneumococcal vaccine has been so effective at reducing ear infections caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae that other bacteria have stepped up to become the main source of current ear infections, the study authors said.

The study was released online in advance of publication in the September print issue of the journal Pediatrics. | Ex Destiny’s Child singer talks about her post pregnancy urinary incontinence

It’s been months since you’ve had time with your girlfriends after having your bundle of joy. So tonight you left your baby with your husband to let your hair down for some adult conversation.

Someone cracks a joke and you burst out laughing. But as you do so, you realise you not only released a giggle but a bit of urine as well!

This was exactly what happened to Kelly Rowland. She recently opened up on the American daytime TV show The Real about her post pregnancy struggles with urinary incontinence. After becoming a first time mom, Rowland published a book called Whoa Baby! where she shares her personal stories and lessons learned since having her baby boy.

Many women, after giving birth vaginally, experience episodes of involuntary urination when they laugh, sneeze or cough. This is called urinary incontinence and occurs when these actions cause the uterus to place pressure on the bladder, and the weakened bladder muscles cause urine to leak out of the urethra. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that because there is no confirmed single event during vaginal birth found to be responsible for urinary incontinence, postpartum urinary incontinence probably arises from a multifactorial physiological injury.

                                                                                Illustration of urinal incontinence. 

Health24 explains that the treatment for urinary incontinence includes: 


  • Weight loss
  • Smoking cessation
  • Kegel or pelvic floor exercises
  • Vaginal weights
  • Biofeedback
  • Electrical stimulation


  • Oestrogen
  • Alpha-agonists
  • Combination of both


  • Periurethral injections of bulking agents
  • Suspension operations
  • Sling operations
  • Artificial urinary sphincters

Postpartum urinary incontinence can be treated with the help of your gynaecologist as well as a physiotherapist.

In order to strengthen your urethral sphincter function, you can do Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises. Speak to a medical professional to decide which of the treatment options would be best for you.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence you are not alone and according to Health24, exercise helps to bring relief from urinary incontinence for 50–80% of women. 

Watch the clip of Kelly Rowland explaining her episode of urinary incontinence here:

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Images by iStock and Wikipedia. | MY STORY: I made the brave choice to keep my leg

My name is Madimo Mokgosi back in 2013 I had a liver transplant and  my liver has been doing awesomely well, 2015 I was diagnosed with a rare disease called lymphadema. Lymphadema is a swelling in the arm or leg caused by lymphatics blockage. treatment can help but there is no cure for it, I wear a compression sock to compress the swelling down. I remember putting pressure on my doctor because I just did not like the comments I received regarding my leg. Came across people assuming that I had an artificial leg and that I was beautiful but the problem is that I had a leg bigger than the other one. My doctor asked me if I would rather amputate or keep the leg the way it is.

I then realized that often we tend to do things because of how people feel about us, which should never be the case because self acceptance matters more. I decided to keep my leg the way it is I do work out to keep the swelling from getting worse and have nicknamed myself to “uBabesWEsockis” which means girl in a sock. I am happy, I am confident and I hope my story encourages ladies who feel they need to hide behind any disease or how they look. If no one can accept you the way you look then they do not love you.

NEXT ON HEALTH24X | Real-life sleeping beauty sleeps for 16 hours a day

Meet the girl who’d possibly give Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty a run for her money – a rare disorder means Jade Frazier sleeps for an astounding 16 hours a day.

Ten-year-old Jade has Kleine-Levin syndrome, a neurological disorder characterised by recurring periods of excessive amounts of sleep, and the condition might continue for 10 years or more, according to the Kleine-Levin Syndrome Foundation.

The incurable disease causes Jade to take four naps every day – and if her mom, Dee, dares wake her she throws a tantrum.

The little girl walks around with permanent dark circles around her eyes and slips into an incoherent state after she’s had a sleeping episode.

She even missed Christmas Day after sleeping for 20 hours. Her mom was upset that she wasn’t able to open her presents because she was too disoriented after she woke up.

Jade has fallen asleep almost everywhere, even at the local water park.

“It doesn’t matter where we are. She suddenly gets really, really tired and her eyes sink in,” says Dee who’s a waitress.

Jade can’t partake in sports or any physical activity because doctors fear it might prolong her sleeping bouts.

“My heart breaks for her because she isn’t experiencing what a normal 10-year-old should be experiencing,” says Dee.

The mom-of-two first noticed Jade’s sleeping habits after she slept straight through the night as a newborn baby, which is quite unusual for such a young child, and later would fall asleep during school.

The syndrome also causes the youngster to have several developmental delays and affects her speech.

“She definitely sleeps more than other children and she misses out as a result,” says Dee.