An Immunization Guide for the Upcoming School Year
It’s that time of year that we’ve all been waiting for…that’s right BACK 2 SCHOOL!! I just wanted to take the time to remind you of the importance of having up to date immunizations. This is important for those of you who will be headed to college as well as the general child and adult population as a whole. Here a few of the common vaccinations that you want to make sure you have and the reason why they are important. Most are free or inexpensive and can be received at your local health department.
MMR-Measles/Mumps/Rubella Vaccine- This is a “3 in 1” vaccine that protects against all three of the viruses. This vaccine is especially important to children. It comes in two doses; the first is administered when the child is 12-15 months and the second before the child enters Kindergarten.
Meningitis Vaccine- You have probably seen the commercials that show how seemingly healthy adolescents are terribly affected by Meningococcal Meningitis. This is a severe bacterial infection that affects the meninges (which is a thin covering of the brain and spinal cord). Students living in dormitories are advised to receive this vaccine because Meningitis is life threatening. The symptoms start as the normal “flu-like” symptoms and within days they can escalate and possibly cause death. Make sure you add this vaccine to your Back 2 School list!
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine- HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. There are different types of HPV, some types lead to cervical cancer, genital warts, and anal cancer. There is a common misconception that only young girls ages 9-26 should get the vaccine, however since it protects against two diseases (genital warts and anal cancer) that could affect the male population young men ages 9-26 are advised to get this vaccination as well. It is recommended that people get the vaccination before they become sexually active; however it is still effective if you receive the vaccine after you begin having sex. The vaccination is administered in three shots over a period of 6 months. Although, it is not a required immunization you may want to add this one to your Back 2 School list too.
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis- Tetanus is a disease of the nervous system that causes “lockjaw”. Diphtheria causes a thick covering to form on the throat and can lead to difficulty breathing or heart failure. Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough”. It is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection and can be fatal to infants. This is another “3 in 1” vaccine and it is important for the entire population. Most of us forget that we need to have a tetanus shot every ten years. If you have been out of school for a while chances are you are behind on this shot and you need to receive a booster dose.
This information and lots more can be found on the Center for Disease Website. www.cdc.gov