And there's a lot you should be aware of
August, which seems to come all too fast in the midst of summer, is the time when families with school-age children – ranging from preschool to college – have to make sure that everyone is up-to-date with his or her vaccinations. That's why this last full month of summer is recognized each year as Immunization Awareness Month. It's a good time to remember and promote the importance, year long, of immunizations as a safe, highly effective and proven way to protect against a variety of infectious diseases.
But the preventive health value of immunizations goes beyond students getting ready for the new school year. In fact, vaccine-preventable diseases affect people of all ages and virtually everyone can benefit from timely immunizations to safeguard their health. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is at least six months of age get a seasonal flu shot, particularly people with greater risk factors related to seasonal flu, including men and women over 65.
Because we work in a healthcare environment that may include direct contact with the patient population, many of whom may also be at high risk for developing serious complications from flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases, we have an added responsibility. Beyond the clear need to protect ourselves and, thereby protect the people in our care, a healthy and productive Riverside workforce is directly related to the health of our community.
Other immunizations that adults may need include:
- Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- Varicella (chicken pox)
- Meningococcal (meningitis)
- HPV (prevention of human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer)
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis
- Tetanus and zoster (prevention of shingles)
Pregnant women may also require certain types of vaccinations that will not cause harm to the baby.
Immunization has long been viewed as one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century, and one that continues to impact our health in a positive way well into the 21st century. It's vitally important that during Immunization Awareness Month and every month you know about the vaccines that are recommended for infants, children, adolescents and adults of all ages.
But even more important, make sure you receive those immunizations to protect yourself and others from disease including, your family, the community and the patients and families that Riverside serves. It's good preventive care. And it's the right thing to do.
- CDC recommended immunizations for adults: click here.
- CDC immunization schedule for children: click here.
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