Importance of flu shots
Did you know that a flu shot is your single best bet to avoid catching the flu? In fact, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccinations for every person — with few exceptions — age 6 months and older.
Don’t worry: You cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The flu vaccine uses dead viruses that trigger your immune system to produce antibodies. These new antibodies then help protect you if you’re exposed to the flu. Unfortunately, last year's vaccine may not protect you from this year's flu, because the viruses mutate and evolve. This is why new flu vaccines are needed each year.
Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including pregnant women, older adults and young children. Other chronic medical conditions also increase the risk of complications from the flu:
- Cancer or cancer treatment
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney or liver disease
Importance of childhood immunizations
Why get your child immunized? Vaccines not only help prevent certain deadly diseases in infants, children and teens — they are the most effective means to fight and eliminate infectious diseases. In fact, the elimination of smallpox is a direct result of widespread, worldwide vaccinations. As are the major reduction of polio, measles and tetanus. The safety and effectiveness of vaccinations have been widely studied and verified. Since the 1880s, when Louis Pasteur first introduced vaccines for chicken cholera, rabies and anthrax, we have developed vaccines for 18 dangerous and/or deadly diseases.
Dangers of Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Hopefully, you’ve heard about HPV. Approximately 14 million people contract it each year. This includes teenagers. The scary part is, HPV infections are directly linked to six types of cancer — cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal and throat. That’s why the CDC recommends girls and boys get HPV vaccination at age 11 or 12, before they become sexually active. Yes, even just kissing.
Protect yourself and your family. Get all recommended vaccinations.