Wellness Series: 5 Facts About Immunizations

Immunizations are incredibly important to ensuring one’s health. HealthTap’s Dr. Robert Kwok provides a thorough list of immunizations common for people in the United States. His recommendations:

  • During infancy: Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Pneumococcal, Hemophilus, Rotavirus, Polio, and Influenza
  • During childhood: Chicken Pox, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Hepatitis
  • For teens: Meningococcal and Papilloma virus vaccines

This may seem like a lot of immunizations, but obtaining the proper vaccines can help you and the people around you remain healthy. Here are 5 more facts about immunizations.


What is an immunization?

“The body is artificially exposed to a dead or weakened organism of a type able to cause disease. The body fights the organism and learns to protect itself, so disease will not develop if the virulent, wild-type organism is met.” – Dr. Ed Friedlander

Is there a link between immunizations and autism?

“No. There is no scientifically validated link between immunizations and autism. There have been ‘accusations’ that the preservative (thimerosol) previously present in many vaccines and/or administration of the MMR as a combination vaccine increased the risk of autism, but many well-performed studies show that no link exists.” – Dr. Thomas McDonagh


What is the immunization schedule for a healthy adult?

“For someone who has had all recommended childhood vaccines the following are recommended for adults: dt (diphtheria tetanus) every 10 years, with 1 dose of dtap (diphtheria tetanus pertussis); hpv (3 shots) for women and men under 26; shingles for adults 60 and older (once); pneumococcal at 65 or older (once); and flu every year. Ask your doctor if you’re at risk for other preventable infections.” – Dr. Janet Greenhut

If my child gets an immunization, can he still get the disease he is protected against?

“Yes – though not common, it is possible to get the illness the vaccine is designed to protect against. However, if this occurs, it is typical that the illness is a much milder form of the disease. It is much better to get an attenuated form of the illness due to partial immunity rather than the “full blown” disease itself.” – Dr. Lisa Roberts


What can I do to ease the pain after receiving and immunization shot?

“When our bodies sustain an injury, the immediate response is inflammation (red, hot, pain, swelling). This is the body increasing the blood flow to the injury to bring healing factors to the area and also the veins expand to carry bad stuff away. The key is to do things that reduce the parts of inflammation such as ice, compression, elevation and anti-inflammatory medications in the first 24-36hrs.” – Dr. Michael Miller

We encourage you to visit the Immunization topic page on HealthTap for more tips, checklists, and news.  As always, our 62,000 doctors are ready to answer your health questions any time. Ask today!

On Robin Williams and Mental Health

robinOur HealthTap team was extremely saddened by the news of actor and comedian Robin Williams’ passing, and our thoughts are with his loved ones during this difficult time. News outlets have shared that Williams was battling depression, a factor that may have led to his death. Depression is a very serious disorder in the United States; according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, it affects nearly 7% of Americans annually. We’ve put together a few facts about depression below. For more information, visit the Depression page on the HealthTap site.

What is depression?

“Includes being down or sad most of the time, loss of interest/pleasure in usual activities, unintended increase or decrease in appetite/weight, sleeping more or less than usual, being agitated or lethargic, feeling worthless or inappropriately guilty or self critical, having difficulty concentrating or making decisions, & thinking of death & dying. Suicidal thoughts/plans require immediate help.” – Dr. Bob Stewart

What is the difference between depression and chronic depression?

“You can be depressed over something that is happening in your life and it will last for a day or a week.That is not clinical or major depression. Chronic depression or major depression last for more than 2 weeks and generally much longer than that with only brief periods of relief. That kind of depression needs professional treatment. See your MD, or a psychologist or psychiatrist.” – Dr. Kathryn Seifert

How does one treat clinical depression?

“First you need to have a thorough evaluation by your family doctor, and if appropriate by a psychiatrist next. There are medical reasons for depression (e.g. Thyroid disease, diabetes, others). Once the diagnosis is made, there are two effective treatments: cognitive behavioral therapy and ssri/snri medications. The best is to use both.” – Dr. John O’Malley

What are symptoms of depression?

“Symptoms of depression can include: feeling sad, irritable or angry. There can be a decrease in sex drive. Energy level & motivation levels may drop. One may socially isolate or stop involvement in normal activities. Sleep may increase or decrease. Weight can change in relation to increase or decrease in appetite. Concentration or memory may decline. There can be an absence of joy as well as feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. Self esteem may plummet and feelings of guilt may rise. There may be crying spells or thoughts about death or suicide. Confidence in making decisions may drop.” – Dr. Heidi Fowler

Depression is a treatable disorder; if you or a loved one are dealing with depression, there are ways to help. You are not alone. To learn more, visit HealthTap to ask a question today.

Keeping Ebola Fears in Perspective

Five Bigger Health Threats than Ebola to Americans Right Now—And What You Can Do About Them

While we all watch the Ebola outbreak in West Africa with justified concern—and while some observers have even expressed concern about the risk of bringing Americans with the disease home to the US—it’s worth remembering that we already know where Americans who are really worried about health risks should be focusing their concerns if they want to stay healthy: Disease prevention and health screenings, safe driving, and adopting healthy lifestyles.

AA0422601. Inaction

Inaction is our biggest threat when it comes to preventing disease and serious health threats. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, optimal use of nine clinical interventions including colonoscopies, screening and treatment for high blood pressure, and the flu vaccine could prevent up to 100,000 deaths per year in people under 80 years old, and up to 40,000 deaths per year in people under 65. Yet only about a quarter of adults ages 50 to 65 are up to date on recommended immunizations and cancer screening tests, the CDC reports. HealthTap doctors offer more information on health screenings here.

2. Heart disease

This disease kills more Americans than any other disease every year. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease, which causes heart attacks and strokes, kills more people than all forms of cancer combined, and Americans can reduce their risk immediately by quitting smoking, managing high blood pressure, losing excess weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. HealthTap doctors weigh in on risk factors here.

3. Cancer

Cancer risk can be significantly reduced by lifestyle choices—not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, using sunscreen and by getting regular cancer screenings recommended by your doctor. For more information about the most common types of cancer, risk factors, tests and tips, visit the Cancer Topic Page on HealthTap.

4. Stroke

Stroke is the number three cause of death in women, and the number four cause of death in men and, like heart disease, stroke-related risks can be reduced by making healthy life choices that include not smoking, staying active and exercising more, losing weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. Learn about risk factors from our HealthTap doctors here.

5. Traffic Accidents

Traffic Accidents are the leading cause of fatal injuries in both men and women according to the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control. By wearing your seat belt, adopting a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking and driving, and putting your cell phone away so you never drive while distracted by phone calls or texts, you’ll be reducing your risk of injury or death on the road.

Keeping health risks in perspective is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Americans concerned about their health can be proactive about preventing and detecting the risks that are the greatest threats to their health.

Got more questions about staying healthy? Get free answers to your health questions from 62,000 HealthTap doctors now.

HealthTap Prime Featured on Good Morning America!

We’re excited to share that HealthTap and HealthTap Prime were just featured on Good Morning America, the most popular morning show in the United States. GMA Anchor Amy Robach introduced the segment by saying, “Doctor house calls are making a come-back with a high-tech twist.” Rebecca Jarvis, GMA correspondent, conducted her interview via live virtual consult with one of the doctors in our network, and a long-time HealthTap customer spoke enthusiastically about the service.

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AppRx: Top 8 Android Anatomy Apps

Every week, we bring you AppRx—high-quality health, fitness and wellness apps reviewed and recommended by HealthTap’s network of 62,000 top doctors. In this week’s edition, we take a look at 10 Best Anatomy Apps.


1. Visual Anatomy FreeAppRx | Visual Anatomy Free | HealthTap

Description: This app’s primary use is as a learning tool, but it can also be used for any professional who needs the occasional reminder. Additionally, this app is ideal for physicians, educators or professionals, allowing them to visually show detailed areas to their patients or students – helping to educate or explain conditions, ailments and injuries. Learn More.

Recommended By: 202 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE


2. Anatomy QuizAppRx | Anatomy Quiz | HealthTap

Description: “Anatomy Quiz” is a quiz which invites you to test your knowledge of human anatomy. It may be used for testing and educational purposes for people well-informed about the anatomy. Game consists of 150 illustrated questions. Learn More.

Recommended By: 31 Doctors

Available On: Android - $1.99


3. Speed Bones MDAppRx | Speed Bones MD | HealthTap

Description: How fast can you point to your trapezium, trapezoid or triquetrum? Speed Bones MD is a fun an addictive quiz game that tests your speed and challenges your memory. Learn More.

Recommended By: 16 Doctors

Available On: Android – $1.99


4. Pocket Atlas of Anatomy TRAppRx | Pocket Atlas of Anatomy TR | HealthTap

Description: This pocket atlas is your best way to reference anatomy on the go! It combines definitions from Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary with illustrations from Gray’s Anatomy for Students, for an unprecedented level of accuracy and visual clarity. An ideal guide to structures and their definitions - great for quick consultation in the dissection lab as well as for convenient study anytime, anywhere! Learn More.

Recommended By: 10 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE

 5. The Muscular System Manual

AppRx | The Muscular System Manual | HealthTapDescription: The Muscular System Manual by Dr. Joseph E. Muscolino makes the study of musculoskeletal anatomy easier and more engaging with a highly visual approach! This innovative, vibrantly illustrated atlas details the muscles and bones of the human body with unrivaled clarity and helps you build the strong anatomic understanding needed for success in practice. Learn More.

Recommended By: 8 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE

 6. Rays Anatomy Skeletal System

AppRx | Rays Anatomy Skeletal System | HealthTapDescription:  Create knowledge about the symphony of your bones with this superbly simple and small app on skeletons and bones. Learn More.

Recommended By: 6 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE

 7. Male Anatomy 3D – Anatronica

AppRx | Male Anatomy 3D - Anatronica | HealthTapDescription: A free 3D educational guide to the male human anatomy featuring an advanced interactive 3D touch interface. Wikipedia and Grays anatomy info available. Learn More.

Recommended By: 4 Doctors

Available On: Android – $4.99

 8. Anatomy of the Ankle Joint

AppRx | Anatomy of the Ankle Joint | HealthTapDescription: This series of lectures is aimed at anyone who is studying human anatomy. They are ideal for medical or nursing students, biological studies students and physiotherapists or doctors looking to refresh their knowledge. Learn More.

Recommended By: 2 Doctors

Available On: Android – FREE


For more Anatomy apps, visit HealthTap today!  And stay tuned for next week’s edition, 10 Best Baby apps!