Vaccines The overwhelming majority of Americans agree with public health policies that encourage childhood and flu vaccinations as a means of maintaining personal and public health safety. These policies protect children in schools and daycare, erect barriers against the threat of pandemics, and reduce national healthcare costs tremendously. Beyond the more familiar vaccinations mentioned above, there are several other shots which Americans should take in order to add to the defenses for personal and public health.
Make Awareness a Priority
Very few vaccinations are actually mandatory. Required vaccinations primarily apply to newborns and small children. America is still a country where people have a great deal of freedom with their own health in this regard. However, people’s vaccination choices are not always clear to them. Considering the options available to children and adults can assist in protecting yourself and those around you from diseases which can be prevented through regular vaccinations. The best protections against any known disease are education and prevention.
The Td Vaccine
The tetanus and diphtheria Td vaccine is available for both adults and children. The majority of individuals have had this vaccine at some point in their lives. It protects against whooping cough, a highly contagious disease, and tetanus. The immunity it provides does where off over time, however. Adults may find it prudent to have a booster shot every 10 years. Whooping cough does not pose much of a threat in adults. Although, it can be a deadly disease should it be transferred to an infant. Individuals with regular exposure to infants are recommended to have this vaccine every two years.
The Pneumococcal Vaccine
Individuals suffering from pneumonia can quickly become susceptible to one of its many complications, including meningitis. The pneumococcal vaccine serves as a safeguard against the initial disease and any problems that may result from the condition. The elderly and the very young are the best candidates for this vaccination. In addition to these groups of individuals, serious health problems increase the need for this injection. People with asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease have an increased risk for contracting pneumonia. This segment of the population should take this vaccine as a precautionary measure.
The MMR Vaccination
The MMR vaccination is becoming more essential as the rate of international travel increases. This vaccine guards against rubella, mumps, and measles. The United States sees very few outbreaks of this kind. However, international cases have appeared worldwide over the past decade.
The Herpes Zoster Vaccine
Shingles causes the most problems among adults that are 60 years of age and above. This susceptibility is due to the decline in the abilities of their immune system with age. Shingles is actually a manifestation of the chicken pox virus. Anyone that contracts chicken pox never fully purges their system of the disease. If it reawakens later in life, the result is shingles. Close to 98 percent of the American population has had exposure to this disease, making the herpes zoster vaccine essential.
The Many Faces of the Flu
The flu vaccine is one which requires continual maintenance. The common strains of the flu mutate and change in prevalence each year. It is important that young children and adults get the shot that will provide the most protection given the environmental circumstances. Consultation with your doctor or local pharmacist should provide the information relevant to making the most appropriate choice in vaccine.
Vaccinations are always the first line of defense when it comes to public health. Even when a disease seems to be virtually eradicated, it is wise to maintain caution as we move forward as a society. The health of ourselves and our neighbors begins with the choices we make as individuals.