Although August is often filled with sunny weather, it is still a great time to think about your vaccines. August is National Immunization Awareness Month and we are happy to provide you with all the information you need in order to make sure that you and your children are up to date.
Immunizations are not only beneficial to our own immune systems, but they are also beneficial for individuals that are unable to receive vaccines, such as patients with cancer, autoimmune conditions, and infants. This is referred to as herd immunity and the idea is that the more people that become vaccinated, the lower the risk is for the unvaccinated individuals. Preventing rare diseases, like smallpox, from becoming prevalent again will also protect our future children and grandchildren. The benefits are substantial!
You may be wondering which vaccines do I need? Since fall is right around the corner, the flu shot should be top of mind. When patients are infected with the flu, it can be debilitating and they may be forced to miss extended amounts of work or school. According to the CDC, by getting the flu vaccine, you reduce your risk of getting the flu by 74%! Flu season officially begins in October and can go right through the month of May. If you are interested in receiving your annual flu shot, this can be administered at your local pharmacy without a prescription to adults and children over the age of 18 or during an office visit with your physician.
There are other vaccines, such as the pneumonia and shingles shots, that are equally important to be up-to-date on year round. Higher risk patients may be eligible for these vaccines prior to the age of 65 and may need additional boosters. Information on high-risk patients can be found on the CDC website.
Last, but not least, it is important for children and adults to be up-to-date on the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine (Tdap). It is recommended that children around the age of 11 or 12 receive the Tdap vaccine and a Td booster every 10 years thereafter. Without vaccination, tetanus can progress to severe muscle tightening and stiffness, pertussis can progress to whooping cough and subsequently pneumonia, and diphtheria can cause serious respiratory issues. Although these conditions have become rare, it is still important to keep your Tdap up to date.
For more information on the vaccine schedules and the benefits of each vaccine, visit the CDC website using the link below. You can also discuss your vaccination eligibility with your health care practitioner and your local pharmacy.
For more information, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html