Drs. Oz & Roizen: The vaccine that saved lives

April 28, 2014 

About 120 years ago in Asbury Park, N.J., 3 in One Household Oil hit hardware store shelves. It's been used to restore everything from rusty bicycle chains to squeaky door hinges.

And 26 years ago, another 3-in-1 household health-restorer became available: The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine has spared parents and kids terrible misery while saving countless lives. All three vaccines were developed (separately) in the 1960s, and were bundled in 1988. Before the vaccine, there were more than 200,000 cases of mumps in North America annually. In 1962, 3,000-plus people died from measles.

But the vaccines virtually eradicated these highly communicable diseases - until now.

British Columbia reported 350 cases of measles from January through March. In Columbus, Ohio, 116 cases of mumps were reported during the same period. This is alarming, because it reflects the growing number of un- or under-vaccinated people in North America and how global travel exposes the unprotected to infection from places where the diseases are still rampant. While no vaccine is absolutely safe, the benefits outweigh the risk by more than 10,000 to 1.

Children's first MMR vaccine is at 12-18 months; the second at ages 4-6. Anyone up to 55 who's unvaccinated also can get one. Getting a childhood disease as an adult doesn't make you younger, and you don't want to roll back the clock on your children's health.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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