Monday, August 10, 2015

Be Brave, You'll Get A Sticker

This is a reminder that you have to have proof of vaccinations before you can enroll at most colleges, sometimes even at high schools. You need to find a paper (probably with doctor or nurse signatures) that shows you are up-to-date with your vaccinations. Your parents might have a baby book where they placed your vaccination records. If you can't find it at home, contact the doctor or clinic you received them from. *Tip: Once you have that document, make copies and keep them somewhere you can get your hands on them easily. Maybe with your FAFSA papers??

Did you know you need booster shots even though you had them as a baby? Yep. Here's a chart showing what shots you should have already had and what you need as a young adult:

On the bottom half of the chart, see where you should have had some additional vaccinations when you were about Middle School age, and what you should have when you are high school age.

The ones recommended for those of you entering college include:
  • Booster Tdap (you had them as children but you need a booster)
  • HPV series (this is three shots/doses, spaced 6 weeks apart)
  • MCV4 (this is for Spinal Meningitis)

What do the letters mean?
  • TDAP: Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  • HEPA: Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that sometimes cannot be cured
  • HPV: Human Papilloma Virus--a sexually transmitted disease. Both males and females should be vaccinated for HPV, even if they are not sexually active.
  • MCV4: Meningitis Conjugate Vaccine 4: For some reason, meningitis crops up in college students more frequently than the general population. This is an inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. Serious stuff.
  • MMR: Measles, Mumps, Rubella-sometimes there are outbreaks of measles in colleges also.
  • Varicella: The Chicken Pox vaccine. 
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate: For pneumonia, an infection of the lungs

Don't forget also to get a flu shot, if your doctor recommends one.
*Tip: If you plan on traveling to study or for a vacation, be aware that other vaccines may be recommended to protect you in other countries as well.

What is a vaccination? Note: The term "immunization" has the same meaning.  Usually, it's a tiny bit of the disease germ that's either very weak or dead, injected into the body, which produces antibodies to fight off the 'intruder.' This gives you immunity to the disease should it be introduced to your body in the future. Sometimes you only need one immunization, sometimes you need a booster to 'remind' your body how to fight it off. The other way to gain immunity is to actually have the disease--but preventing it with a vaccination is much safer.

Did you know that in the 1860s, the death rate for children under the age of 5 was 18%? So for every 100 babies born, 18 would die before they reached the age of 5, and while some of the deaths were from accidents, such as getting to close to a fire and being burned, injuries with farm equipment, weather, poor diet, or farming accidents, many of them were due to infectious diseases that we now have vaccines for, including tuberculosis and smallpox. The death rate now for children under age 5 is .06%. A huge, huge improvement.

However, in some countries, the death rate is still far too high because they don't have access to the vaccinations they need.

The smallpox vaccine did such a good job of eliminating the disease that the vaccination hasn't been required since 1972. If you see someone with a little scar like this, it's from a smallpox vaccination. It was applied with a series of little needle sticks that worked the vaccine into the skin in a circular motion. It was done frequently on the arm, sometimes the hip:

Read about some of the diseases and their symptoms:

People talk about what it's like to suffer from Chicken Pox, HPV that turned cancerous, even flu that became deadly:

Here is the National Center for Disease Control's website for more information:

Be sure you are up-to-date with your vaccinations. If not, call your doctor today and set up an appointment to get your shots!! You might get a cool bandaid or a sticker!

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