Common Vaccine Needs
Information courtesy of Morrow Family Medicine
Whooping Cough (Pertussis): This disease generally affects children. Infants and young children should receive the DTap (Tdap for older youth and adults) vaccination during their normal course of pediatric care before age 7. Parents and grandparents are recommended to get a whooping cough booster as well. It is easy to transmit the disease from adult to baby and this keeps everyone protected.
Chickenpox (Varicella): Chickenpox, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is very common among children. Once thought of as almost a rite of passage for growing up, the complications from this virus can cause several issues to lifelong health. Each year, chickenpox causes around 10,600 hospitalizations and 100 to 150 deaths. “Children should receive two doses of the vaccine-the first dose at 12 through 15 months old and a second dose at 4 through 6 years old,” according to the CDC.
Shingles: Chickenpox is the virus that can bite twice. Although you may have had chickenpox as a young child, which commonly was thought of as a one-time deal, adults 50 and older are in danger of developing shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) with age. Shingles occurs when the once dormant varicella-zoster virus awakens resulting in a painful rash most commonly on the face or body. Shingles can result in PHN, a debilitating pain condition that can be long-term. In rare shingles complications can also lead to pneumonia, hearing loss and even death. While the vaccine is available to adults 50 and over, it is recommended that you wait until after age 60 as the current vaccine is only effective for around 5 years.
HPV: This immunization protects again Human Papillomavirus or HPV. The Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease that can go un-diagnosed for years, even decades and presents a greater risk of cervical cancer in infected females. The immunization for HPV should be administered during a child’s early teen years and before they leave for college.
Meningococcal Meningitis: This disease can progress rapidly causing irreversible damage (including death) in a matter of days, so it is important for everyone to have this vaccine. College students, especially those living in dormitory housing, are urged to get the vaccine as the virus spreads easily in this environment.
*Influenza: While presently we are nearing the end of influenza (flu) season, it is important to note that everyone should get a yearly influenza vaccination (flu shot) when they become available. According to the CDC as many as 55,000 people die each year from influenza.
Do you fit into any of the categories above? Are you behind on your immunizations? With April 24 marking the kickoff of World Immunization Week, it is the perfect time to make sure you and your family are up to date on immunizations. Contact Morrow Family Medicine, for a shot in the right direction.