Wellness Wednesday: Are Vaccinations on your back-to-school list?

VaccinationAll school-age children, from preschoolers to college students, need vaccines. The 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.

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  or she 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.)

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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.

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

2014 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6

During 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)

2015 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 Ye

Preteens 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 every year.

To learn more about vaccines for your preteens and teens, talk to your child’s healthcare provider or visit the CDC’s preteen and teen vaccine pages. 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.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Wellness Wednesday: Preventing Measles Breakouts with Vaccination

Measles is the most deadly of all childhood rash/fever illnesses. The disease spreads very easily, so it is important to protect against infection.

VaccineTo prevent measles, children (and some adults) should be vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Two doses of this vaccine are needed for complete protection. Children should be given the first dose of MMR vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age. The second dose can be given four (4) weeks later, but is usually given before the start of kindergarten at 4 to 6 years of age.

Measles starts with a fever. Soon after, it causes a cough, runny nose and red eyes. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. Measles can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis (swelling of the brain), and death. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected.

People in the U.S. still get measles, but it’s not very common because most people in this country are protected against measles through vaccination. However, measles is still common in other parts of the world, including many countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad and bring the disease into the U.S. and spread it to others.

Measles can spread quickly in communities where people are not vaccinated. Children and anyone else who is not protected against measles is at risk of getting infected. That’s why it is so important to be up to date on vaccinations, including before traveling abroad.

Measles

Protect your Child with Measles Vaccine

You can protect your child against measles with a combination vaccine that provides protection against three diseases: measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). The MMR vaccine is proven to be very safe and effective. CDC recommends that children get two doses:

  • the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
  • the second dose before entering school at 4 through 6 years of age.

Your child’s doctor may offer the MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chickenpox). MMRV vaccine is licensed for children 12 months through 12 years of age. It may be used in place of MMR vaccine if a child needs to have varicella vaccine in addition to measles, mumps and rubella vaccines. Your child’s doctor can help you decide which vaccine to use.

Make Sure Your Child is Protected Before Traveling Abroad

VaccineChildren six (6) months of age and older should be protected against measles before they travel abroad.

  • Infants six (6) months through 11 months of age should have one dose of measles vaccine. Infants who get one dose of measles vaccine before their first birthday should get two more doses of the vaccine (one dose at 12 through 15 months of age and another dose at least 28 days later).
  • Children 12 months of age or older should have two doses separated by at least 28 days.

Talk with your child’s doctor to see if he or she should be vaccinated before traveling abroad.

Some teens and adults need measles vaccine too. For more information, see Measles Vaccination: Who Needs It?

infographic-measles-contagious.png

Paying for Measles Vaccine

Most health insurance plans cover the cost of vaccines. But you may want to check with your health insurance provider before going to the doctor. Learn how to pay for vaccines.

If you don’t have insurance or if your insurance does not cover vaccines for your child, the Vaccines for Children Program may be able to help. This program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. To find out if your child is eligible, visit the VFC website or ask your child’s doctor. You can also contact your state VFC coordinator.

Helpful documents:

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


More Information:

Diseases and the vaccines that prevent them: measles

Measles Elimination

Measles CDC Fact Sheet

Measles Infographic

Wellness Wednesday: Teens and the meningococcal vaccine

Why does my child need meningococcal vaccine?

meningococcalMeningococcal vaccines help protect against the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. These infections don’t happen very often, but can be very dangerous when they do. Meningococcal disease refers to any illness that is caused by Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. The two most severe and common illnesses caused by these bacteria include infections of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicemia). Even if they get treatment, about 1 in 10 people with meningococcal disease will die from it.

Meningococcal disease can spread from person to person. The bacteria that cause this infection can spread when people have close or lengthy contact with someone’s saliva, like through kissing or coughing, especially if they are living in the same place. Teens and young adults are at increased risk for meningococcal disease.

Meningococcal disease can become very serious, very quickly. The meningococcal vaccine is the best way to protect teens from getting meningococcal disease.

When should my child be vaccinated?

Group Of Children Hanging Out Together In Mall

All 11 to 12 year olds should be vaccinated with a single dose of a quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate vaccine. Older teens need a second shot when they are 16 years old so they stay protected when their risk is the highest.

Teens received the meningococcal vaccine for the first time when they were 13, 14, or 15 years old should still get the booster shot when they are 16 years old. If your older teen didn’t get the meningococcal shot at all, you should talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) may also be vaccinated with a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine (2 or 3 doses depending on brand), preferably at 16 through 18 years old. If your older teen didn’t get the meningococcal shot at all, you should talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible. This is really important if they are about to move into a college residence hall as a first-year student or go into the military. Living in community settings like those can increase the risk of getting meningococcal disease.

What else should I know about the vaccine?

Meningococcal vaccine has been studied very carefully and is safe and effective. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.

Like many vaccines, the meningococcal shot may cause mild side effects, like redness and soreness where the shot was given (usually in the arm). A few people who get the vaccine will get a fever. Some preteens and teens might faint after getting meningococcal vaccine or any shot. To help avoid fainting, preteens and teens should sit or lie down when they get a shot and then for about 15 minutes after getting the shot. Serious side effects from meningococcal vaccine are rare.

Where can I learn more?

Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse to learn more about meningococcal vaccine and the other vaccines that your child may need. You can also find out more about these vaccines on CDC’s Vaccines for Preteens and Teens website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens.

To learn about who should and should not get this vaccine, when they should be vaccinated, and the risks and benefits of this vaccine, consult the meningococcal vaccine information statement.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


More Information:

Meningococcal Vaccines for Preteens and Teens

Meningococcal Vaccination for Preteens and Teens: Questions and Answers

Meningococcal Disease: CDC

 

Wellness Wednesday: Vaccinate to protect your family

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The importance of vaccination has been debated back and forth over the last decade, with some parents deciding to forgo vaccinating their children. For some, it is concerns about side effects; others think since many of these diseases appear to be eradicated, why bother? Well, the reason we see less and less of these communicable diseases is because of vaccination.

Diseases are becoming rare due to vaccinations

VaccinesSome diseases (like polio and diphtheria) have become very rare in the U.S., largely because we have been vaccinating against them. However, this isn’t true everywhere in the world.

Only one disease—smallpox—has been totally erased from the planet. Polio no longer occurs in the U.S., but it is still paralyzing children in several African countries. More than 350,000 cases of measles were reported from around the world in 2011, with outbreaks in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Europe. In that same year, 90% of measles cases in the U.S. were associated with cases imported from another country. Only the fact that most Americans are vaccinated prevented these clusters of cases from becoming epidemics.

Immunize until disease is eliminated

Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, diseases that are almost unknown would stage a comeback. Before long we would see epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today and we will undo the progress we have made over the years.

How do vaccines work?

The-Importance-of-VaccinationVaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, a measles vaccine contains measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease.

Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection, but this “imitation” infection does not cause illness. It does, however, cause the immune system to develop the same response as it does to a real infection so the body can recognize and fight the vaccine-preventable disease in the future.

In other words, a vaccine is a safer substitute for a child’s first exposure to a disease. The child gets protection without having to get sick. Through vaccination, children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


More Information:

2016 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old

2016 Recommended Immunizations for Children 7-18 Years Old

Parents’ Guide to Childhood Immunizations

Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines in the United States

Making the Vaccine Decision

Wellness Wednesday: Making New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

HappyNewYearIt’s that time again. A new year is just ahead and millions of people vow to lose weight, get fit, stop smoking, etc. It’s the New Year’s Resolution, which often includes new gym memberships and weight loss program sign-ups that are forgotten by February.

But you don’t have to fall into this trap. You can make small resolutions that are easier to keep and can help you down the path towards a better you.

Make healthier food choices. Grab a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts, or low-fat cheese. Maybe switch out one ‘bad’ treat a day for a good treat. You might start to feel better and have more energy. And if you splurge once in a while, don’t give up. All is not lost.

Be more active to improve overall health. You don’t need to join a gym to get healthier. Try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Park farther away from your office so you have to walk a little more. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. That’s roughly 20 minutes a day. Maybe take a 10 minute walk at lunch time and another 10 minutes of activity in the evening.

iStock_000018054489_LargeBe smoke-free. If you are ready to quit, call 1.800.QUIT.NOW (1.800.784.8669) for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.

Get enough sleep. Remember that sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Your body heals itself and recuperates during sleep.

Always use seat belts and use child safety seats and booster seats that are appropriate for your child’s age and weight.

Lower the risk of foodborne illness as you prepare meals for your family.

Gather and share family health history. It’s important for you and your family to keep track of illnesses or disease and to know about any family health risks.

iStock_000040286742_LargeGet pets vaccinated and keep pets healthy. Our pets are part of our family. Keeping them healthy helps ensure they will be by your side for a while.

Make an appointment for an annual check-up, vaccination or screening.

Wash your hands often with soap and water to prevent the spread of infection and illness. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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

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Wellness Wednesday: School Starts Soon—Is Your Child Fully Vaccinated?

VaccinationSchool-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)

2014 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old

During 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)

2015 Recommended Immunizations for Children from 7 Through 18 Years Old

Preteens 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

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