Sunday, June 25, 2017

HEALTHIER YOU: Give it a shot: Why vaccinations are now more important than ever

Give it a shot: Why vaccinations are now more important than ever

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES

DR. ANNETTE MAYES

With children returning to school in the coming weeks, it is an important time for parents to protect kids’ health by making sure their immunizations are up-to-date.

Infant immunizations may have become a subject of intensifying controversy in recent years, but officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have stressed repeatedly that vaccinations are vital to protecting people of all ages from serious but preventable diseases — many of which can put lives at risk.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots.

Everyone can make a difference in helping people understand why vaccinations should be prioritized. For example, you can make it a point to:

• Talk to friends and family members about how vaccines aren’t just for kids. People of all ages can get shots to protect them from serious diseases.

• Encourage people in your community to get the flu vaccine every year.

• Invite a doctor or a nurse to speak to parents about why it’s important for all children to get vaccinated.

It is important to realize that vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common in this country. Vaccines have reduced — and in some cases, all but eliminated — many diseases that once routinely killed or harmed tens of thousands of infants, children and adults. The viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine- preventable diseases and death still exist, and can infect people who are not protected by vaccines. These diseases have a costly impact, resulting in doctors’ visits, hospitalizations and premature deaths. Sick children can also cause parents to lose time from work.

The basic things to keep in mind are:

• Encourage parents of young children to get recommended immunizations by age two.

• Help parents make sure older children (preteens) all receive their recommended vaccines by the time they go back to school.

• Remind college students to catch up on immunizations before they move into dormitories.

• Educate adults, including health care workers, about vaccines and boosters they may need.

• Educate pregnant women about getting vaccinated to protect newborns from diseases like whooping cough (pertussis).

• Remind everyone that the next flu season is only a few months away.

• Check with your local health department to see if they have additional immunization resources you can use during National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM).

We have to make a strong effort to protect ourselves and others from harmful diseases. It is also important to note that some people cannot receive immunization vaccines due to preexisting health conditions. So, when we protect our own health by staying up-to-date on the recommended vaccines, we are also protecting others who have not been immunized.

For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.

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