August is National Immunization Awareness Month. This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. You have the power to protect yourself and your family against serious diseases (like whooping cough, cancers caused by HPV, and pneumonia) through vaccination.
Receiving vaccines, allows your body to build natural immunity to a disease before you get sick. With most types of vaccines, a weakened form of the disease is injected into the body. At this point, your body detects invading germs and produces antibodies to fight them. The good thing about those antibodies is that they can stay in your body for an extended amount of time (sometimes the rest of your life). This means that if you ever get exposed to the disease, your body can fight it off, you will not get sick or pass it to anyone else.
Some illnesses, like some forms of cold viruses, are often quite mild. But other illnesses, like smallpox or polio, can cause permanent injury or even death. This is why preventing your body from contracting these illnesses is very important for your health, and the health of others.
Some vaccines, such as flu and Tdap are recommended during pregnancy to help protect you and your baby. Pregnant women who get vaccinated pass antibodies to their developing babies, which protects them in the first few months of life. Getting a Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of pregnancy prevents more than 3 in 4 cases of whooping cough in babies younger than 2 months old. Check with your prenatal care provider to be sure you are up to date on your vaccines.
Parents need to remember that well-child visits are essential. Vaccination helps provide immunity before children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases. Vaccinations can protect your child against 14 serious childhood diseases, like measles and whooping cough.
Yes, adults need to stay on top of vaccinations as well. You may need vaccines based on your age, health conditions, job, or other factors. If you have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, getting sick with vaccine-preventable diseases like flu and pneumonia can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Protect yourself – get vaccinated. Diabetes, even if it is well managed, can make it harder for your immune system to fight infections. You may be at greater risk of more serious problems from an illness compared to people without diabetes.
Blue Sky MD Health encourages you talk to your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional to ensure you, your child, and your family are up to date on all recommended vaccines. If you are in need of a new health care provider, come see us at Blue Sky MD Health. Whether you need updated immunizations, basic family healthcare, or specialty care, call us at 828-693-3344 or click here to schedule an appointment online.