Wellness Wednesday: School starts soon— is your child fully vaccinated?

Sorry … but it’s true. It’s already August, which means back to school is just around the corner. Of course, this fact usually elicits different reactions from different groups of people, depending on age and whether or not you’re a parent.

VaccinationIf you are a parent, you know you have a pretty long to-do list for back to school. Just make sure vaccinations are on that list.

School-age children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. CDC has online resources and tools to help parents and doctors make sure all kids are up to date on recommended vaccines and protected from serious diseases.

Make sure your children are up-to-date on vaccines before sending them back to school. School-age children, from preschoolers, to middle schoolers, to college students, need vaccines. Use CDC’s online resources and tools to check the recommended vaccines for your children. Get your children to the doctor if you discover they need vaccines to protect them against serious diseases.

What All Parents Need To Know

Making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to ensure your children’s long-term health—as well as the health of friends, classmates and others in your community.

To keep children in schools healthy, your state may require children going to school to be vaccinated against certain diseases, such as pertussis (whooping cough). If you’re unsure of your state’s school requirements, now is the time to check with your child’s doctor, your child’s school, or your health department. That way, you can get your child any vaccines he needs before the back-to-school rush.


Immunization Requirements for Child Care and School

The CDC does not set immunization requirements for schools or child care centers. Instead, each state decides which immunizations are required for your child’s enrollment and attendance at a child care facility or school in that state.

  • Talk to a staff member to learn what vaccines are required at the school or child care facility in which you would like to enroll your child. They will be able to provide you with specific information about their requirements.
  • If you would like to know your state’s immunization requirements, contact your State’s Immunization Program or Department of Health.
  • CDC also has a tool to help find more information about your state’s school vaccination requirements. (Select your state under “Grantee” options, your child’s level, and click “Get Results” to view your state vaccination requirements.)

Disease Outbreaks Still Happen

It’s true that some vaccine-preventable diseases have become very rare thanks to vaccines. However, cases and outbreaks still happen. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases. From January 1 to August 1, 2014, there were 593 cases of measles reported in the U.S., with 18 outbreaks of this disease. From January 1 to June 16, 2014, almost 10,000 cases of whooping cough were reported to CDC by 50 states and Washington, D.C. These numbers represent a 24 percent increase compared with the same time period in 2013.

Outbreaks of whooping cough at middle and high schools can occur as protection from childhood vaccines fades. Those who are vaccinated against whooping cough but still get the disease are much more likely to have a mild illness compared to those who never received the vaccine.

Making sure your children stay up to date with vaccinations is the best way to protect your communities and schools from outbreaks that can cause unnecessary illnesses and deaths.

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible.

Vaccines for Your Young Children (Newborns through 6 years old)

2016 Combined Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons AgedDuring the early years of life, your children need vaccines to protect them from 14 diseases that can be serious, even life-threatening. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children increase the risk of disease not only for their own children, but also for other children and adults throughout the entire community. For example, vulnerable newborns too young to have received the maximum protection from the recommended doses of vaccines or people with weakened immune systems, such as some people with cancer and transplant recipients, are also at higher risk of disease.

Flu vaccines are recommended for kids in preschool and elementary school to help keep them healthy. In fact, all children 6 months and older should get flu vaccines. Getting all of your children vaccinated—as well as other family members and caregivers—can help protect infants younger than 6 months old. Ask your family’s doctor or nurse about getting flu shots or the nasal spray to protect against flu.

Parents can find out what vaccines their children need and when the doses should be given by reviewing CDC’s recommended Childhood Immunization Schedule.

Vaccines for Your Preteens and Teens (7 years old through 18 years old)

2017 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 YePreteens and teens need vaccines, too! As kids get older, they are still at risk for certain diseases. Before heading back to school, three vaccines are recommend for 11-12 year olds—HPV, Tdap, and meningococcal conjugate vaccine—for continued protection.

HPV vaccine is important because it can prevent HPV infections that can cause cancer later in life. For other diseases, like whooping cough, the protection from vaccine doses received in childhood fades over time. That’s why 11–12 year-olds are also recommended to get the booster shot called Tdap to help protect them from whooping cough, tetanus, and diphtheria. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine helps prevent two of the three most common causes of meningococcal disease, which can be very serious—even life-threatening.

It’s important to know that flu can be serious, even for healthy, young people. Preteens and teens are no exception. So older kids should get at least one flu vaccine (the shot or nasal spray for healthy kids) every year.

To learn more about vaccines for your preteens and teens, talk to your child’s healthcare provider or visit the preteen and teen vaccine pages. CDC provides a recommended immunization schedule for people ages 7 through 18 years for parents and doctors to follow to protect preteens and teens from vaccine-preventable disease. If your preteens or teens haven’t already gotten their vaccines, you should get them caught up as soon as possible.


The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program offers vaccines at no cost for eligible children through doctors enrolled in the program. Find out if your child qualifies. 


It’s Not Too Late

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides children with the best protection possible. If a child misses a shot, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to catch up. To help, CDC and colleagues at Georgia Tech have developed the Catch-Up Immunization Scheduler, an online tool that shows parents and healthcare providers the best options for getting children 6 years of age and younger back on schedule.

Or, parents and healthcare providers can use the Adolescent Immunization Scheduler to determine what vaccines are needed for children 7 through 18 years of age.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

banner_school

Advertisements

Wellness Wednesday: Finding Cervical Cancer Early

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. No one wants to talk about cervical cancer; but we should. Because it is highly preventable and when found early, it is also one of the most treatable cancer types.

Multiracial group of mature woman at fitness centerMore than 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 of women die. Cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide. But because it develops over time, it is also one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Cancer starts when cells in the body begin to grow out of control. Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer, and can spread to other areas of the body. Cervical cancer starts in the cells lining the cervix—the lower part of the uterus. These cells do not suddenly change into cancer. Instead, the normal cells of the cervix first gradually develop pre-cancerous changes that turn into cancer.

Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes, only some will develop into cancer. It usually takes several years for cervical pre-cancer to change to cervical cancer, but it also can happen in less than a year. Cervical pre-cancers are diagnosed far more often than invasive cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 40 years, the cervical cancer death rate has gone down by more than 50 percent. The main reason for this change was the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure can find changes in the cervix before cancer develops. It can also find cervical cancer early—when it is in its most curable stage.

The American Cancer Society′s estimates for cervical cancer in the U.S. for 2017 are:

  • About 12,820 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed.
  • About 4,210 women will die from cervical cancer.

Risk Factors

Friends having funThere are many risk factors which may increase the odds of developing cervical cancer. Some of these include:

Screening Recommendations

The American Cancer Society recommends that women follow these guidelines to help find cervical cancer early. Following these guidelines can also find pre-cancers, which can be treated to keep cervical cancer from forming.

  • Women aged 21 to 29, should have a Pap test every 3 years. HPV testing should not be used for screening in this age group (it may be used as a part of follow-up for an abnormal Pap test).
  • Beginning at age 30, the preferred way to screen is with a Pap test combined with an HPV test every 5 years. This should continue until age 65.
  • Another reasonable option for women 30 to 65 is to get tested every 3 years with just the Pap test.

Sources: NCCC, American Cancer Society


More Information

MHS Health Library: Cervical Cancer

NCCC Cervical Cancer

CDC Cervical Cancer

American Cancer Society Cervical Cancer Guide

Wellness Wednesday: Why Vaccines are Important for You

adult-vaccinesIn the U.S., vaccines have greatly reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease and death still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines.

You May Be at Risk for Serious Disease

Every year thousands of adults in the U.S. still suffer serious illness, are hospitalized, and even die due to disease for which vaccines are available.

Even if you were fully vaccinated as a child, the protection from some vaccines you received can wear off. You may also be at risk for other disease due to your job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions. Find out what vaccines you may need based on different risk factors.

2015 Easy to read recommended immunizations for adults by health condition
2015 Easy to read recommended immunizations for adults by health condition

You Can Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Disease

VaccineColumnVaccines can reduce your chance of getting certain diseases.

Vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease and reduce your chances of getting certain diseases and suffering from their complications. For instance:

  • Hepatitis B vaccine can also reduce your risk of liver cancer.
  • HPV vaccine reduces your risk of cervical cancer.
  • Flu vaccine reduces your risk of influenza-related heart attacks or other flu related complications from existing health conditions like diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Vaccines reduce your chance of spreading disease.

  • Some people in your family or community may not be able to get certain vaccines due to their age or health condition so they rely on you to help prevent the spread of disease.
  • Infant, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious disease. For example, newborns are too young to be vaccinated against whooping cough but it can be very dangerous or even deadly for them. That is why anyone in contact with young babies, especially expectant mothers, get Tdap vaccine to help protect them.

Read more about how vaccines work 

Vaccines are Very Safe

  • Vaccines are tested and monitored. Vaccines are tested before being licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccines after they are licensed.
  • Vaccine side effects are usually mild and temporary. The most common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Severe side effects are very rare.
  • Vaccines are one of the safest ways to protect your health. Even people taking prescription medications can be vaccinated. However, if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system talk with your doctor before being vaccinated, as some vaccines may not be recommended for you.

You Can’t Afford to Get Sick

You have a busy life and too much responsibility to risk getting sick. Vaccines can help you stay healthy so you don’t miss work and you have time for your family, friends and hobbies.

Getting your recommended vaccines can give you the peace of mind that you have the best possible protection available against a number of serious diseases.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Do you know which adult vaccines you need? Take the quiz. Don't wait. Vaccinate. CDC


More information about adult vaccines (PDF files):

Recommended Immunizations for Adults

3 Important Reasons for Adults to Get Vaccinated

Vaccines: Know What You Need

What You Need to Know About Heart Disease and Adult Vaccinations

What You Need to Know About Shingles and the Shingles Vaccine

FBcover_Adults