National Immunization Month
With more and more health information available at our fingertips, and with every expert hopping up with their tip or trick for wellness, it can be easy to lose sight of some of the simplest things we can do to stay healthy. One of the simplest things is ensuring you and your family stay on top of your immunizations.
Infants and Small Children
Unvaccinated children are not only at risk for disease, but they risk spreading that same disease to infants (who are often too young to receive the vaccine) or the elderly (who may not be able to receive the vaccine due to cancer or autoimmune diseases). In order to keep everyone protected, it’s important to follow the vaccine schedule your doctor prescribes. If you do, your baby will be protected from 14 diseases by the time they are two years old. If you do accidentally fall behind on the schedule, a doctor can “catch up” before adolescence.
With school right around the corner, it’s important to ensure your children are protected. Remember: kids share everything, germs included. In Maryland, the state requires all students have vaccines for Whooping Cough, Polio, Measles/Mumps/Rubella, Hepatitis B and Chickenpox.
Last year, a new policy went into effect requiring children to have 2 doses of Chickenpox for entry into Kindergarten and First Grade.
Pre-Teens and Teens
As Middle School rolls around, it will be time to re-evaluate your growing student’s vaccination needs. In Maryland, students require 1 additional dose of Tdap for entry into seventh and eighth grade, as well as 1 dose of Meningococcal. And while it is not legally required, both the CDC and the National Public Health Information Coalition strongly suggest the HPV vaccine to prevent against cancers that may be caused by HPV. Additionally, they suggest a yearly flu vaccine for added protection.
All adults should get the recommended vaccines in order to protect their health; also, to avoid becoming a carrier and risking infecting others. It does not matter how healthy you are; we all need to protect ourselves. Ideally, everyone would get a Flu vaccine yearly, a Tetanus shot once every 10 years and a Whooping Cough vaccine if you intend on being around small children.
If you are over the age of 65, it’s also recommended that you receive the Shingles vaccine as well as the Pneumonia vaccine.
From time to time, you may also require specialized vaccines for travel purposes. This is something we specialize in and would be happy to help you navigate.
It can be difficult to keep track of all you need to do as you navigate your pregnancy. However, if you’ve been keeping up to date on your vaccines, it won’t be difficult to follow the recommended guidelines. If you’ve left some vaccines lapse, you should do your best to catch back up before pregnancy. Then, during your pregnancy you should get Whooping Cough and Flu. Doing so during your pregnancy will allow you to pass some protection on to the baby and avoid illness/complication.
At One World Health, we realize you are busy and know that – at first glance – this might seem like a lot to keep track of. But remember, the majority of these are covered by most large insurance companies, and your doctors can help you keep track of what you’ve already had and what you still need to take care of. Even better, we do all of our vaccinations on site. So, if you’d like to go over your record, or if you know there are a few you need to catch up on, please call us to set up an appointment at 410-730-7040.