Immunizations are important for all agesBy Veita Bland, M.D. / March 18, 2016
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We all know that infants and children receive many immunizations that are targeted to keep them healthy. Some parents do not want their children to receive these immunizations. If one is objective and looks at how immunizations have improved the lives of children and the public at large, the data is irrefutable.
Gone are the polio epidemics and the children with paralysis of limbs and lungs. Much decreased is the harm we saw from patients with measles, mumps or rubella. Yes, we may see episodic break outs but nothing of the sequela of past.
We are quite aware that as people get older there is a complete list of immunizations that are suggested to prevent illness. Here we want to elongate life by preventing pneumonia, decrease suffering and maintain eye sight with other immunizations.
What about those who fall in the middle? They are not children and they are not elderly. Are they forgotten after childhood and no more immunizations are needed until they turn sixty? The number of immunizations is lower but this group is not forgotten.
The immunizations are very few for the population between 19 and 60-years-old if they have received their previous immunizations. There are special groups that include those who have no record of immunizations or no proof from laboratory studies of immunizations. Others would include those who’ve had medical problems such as lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or immune compromised persons. These conditions would suggest that patients be administered certain immunizations
Another group to be concerned about would be if you worked or lived with a person who had immune system problems. One last group would be people with lifestyles that place them at risk for illnesses such as men having sex with other men, sexually active persons seeking care for sexually transmitted diseases or having more than one sexual partner in six months.
An annual flu shot is recommended for everyone. A tetanus shot is recommended every ten years. The HPV, (human papillomavirus) immunizations is recommended up to age twenty six in females and twenty two in males to prevent the spread of viruses associated with cervical cancer. The shingles immunization is approved starting at age fifty but most insurances will not cover the cost until the age of sixty. Pneumonia immunizations are appropriate for those with medical problems that affect the immune system. Immunizations for Hepatitis A and B are also important.
Immunizations are to protect your health. If you have a chronic disease speak to your health care provider to see what immunizations are appropriate for you.
If you live with or work with people who are immune compromised, see what immunizations are appropriate for you so you will not be a danger to those individuals.
To thine own self be true. If your lifestyle puts you in danger, find a healthcare provider you feel comfortable with and get the immunizations you need to stay healthy.
Veita Bland is a board certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Email Dr. Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.