When was the last time you checked to see if your immune system is up to date? This August, National Immunization Awareness Month raises awareness and encourages everyone to make sure they are current on the necessary vaccinations for potentially harmful diseases. Many diseases can be easily prevented by administering vaccines, and thus, protecting you from unseen viruses.
The need for vaccines does not go away with age. In fact, there are specific ages in your adult life when vaccinations are recommended. Also, protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off over time, and there are more vaccines available now. Take the necessary precautions with a simple call to your doctor, and avoid potential harm while leading a healthy, happy life.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH
- Call your doctor – The only way to be absolutely certain about what vaccinations you’ve received is to gather your medical records. Contact your doctor and request your immunization records to determine whether or not you are up to date.
- Encourage friends to do the same – Just because you feel healthy doesn’t mean you don’t need to be vaccinated. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them. When you check your immunization records, encourage friends to do the same, and you can all make sure you are up to date.
- Know your family history – A family medical history can reveal the history of disease in your family and help a doctor identify patterns that might be relevant to your own health. This will allow the doctor to be best informed about recommending vaccines for immunization.
WHICH VACCINES ARE RIGHT FOR YOU
The vaccines you need as an adult are determined by many factors including your age, lifestyle, health condition, and which vaccines you’ve received during your life. As an adult, vaccines are recommended for protection against:
- Seasonal influenza (flu) – Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year as the best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications.
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough – The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is recommended for women during each pregnancy and once for all adults who have not previously received it.
- Tetanus and diphtheria – The Td vaccine is recommended every 10 years.
- Shingles – The herpes zoster vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years and older.
- Pneumococcal disease – Two pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for adults 65 years and older. One or both vaccines may be recommended for adults younger than 65 who have specific health conditions or who smoke cigarettes.
WHY IMMUNIZATION AWARENESS MONTH IS IMPORTANT
- Immunization protects our health – Vaccination protects your health from serious illness and complications of many diseases, including amputation of an arm or leg, paralysis of limbs, hearing loss, convulsions, brain damage, and death.
- Immunization is safe – Vaccination is safe and effective. All vaccines undergo long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and the federal government to make sure they are safe.
- We owe it to everyone – We all have a public health obligation to our communities to protect ourselves as well as others from potential health risks. By getting vaccinated, we eliminate diseases before they have a chance to spread.
WHERE CAN YOU GET VACCINATED?
You can get vaccines by a primary care physician at The Medical Group of South Florida, pharmacies, and other health departments. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines.