Staying up to date on vaccinations is about more than protecting yourself against illnesses. It also protects those around you – whether it is your child, spouse, co-worker or simply the person standing nearby when you sneeze. Many of the diseases that vaccines prevent can be dangerous, sometimes deadly. Vaccines reduce the risk of infection by working with the body's natural defenses to develop immunity to disease. Vaccines have been extensively monitored and are safe and effective. So, what immunizations are recommended for your family?
Starting at birth, vaccinations shield children from a long list of illnesses, ranging from chickenpox and polio to Hepatitis A and B. Talk to a pediatrician about all of the recommended immunizations, the risks of not vaccinating and the health benefits of the following vaccinations for your children:
Diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (Dtap/Tdap) – protects against serious infections including pertussis (whooping cough), which can be life threatening, especially in infants.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) – protects against several strains of HPV, which can lead to cancer of the cervix, mouth and throat. Recommended for both males and females, this vaccine is most effective when given during the pre-teen or teenage years.
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) – protects against measles, which is a highly contagious and life-threatening disease. Between 2013-2014, U.S. measles cases tripled, largely due to unvaccinated individuals.
Many vaccinations now routinely provided to children – including chickenpox, Tdap, and MMR – are also beneficial to adults who never received them. Have a conversation with your primary care doctor about which immunizations are right for you based on your age and health condition. Also consider getting these important vaccinations:
Influenza (flu shot) – protects against seasonal influenza - a highly contagious viral disease that can cause coughing, fever and severe illness. Pregnant women, young children and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk and should get vaccinated annually.
Pneumococcal (PPV) – protects against several types of infections, including meningitis and pneumonia.
Shingles – protects against a painful skin rash (often with blisters), triggered by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The vaccine is recommended for people 60 years or older.
MEET YOUR PHYSICIAN
David W. Jones, MD
Sandy Springs Medical Office
Dr. David W. Jones is assistant chief of pediatrics for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, the state's largest not-for-profit health plan serving 280,000 members through 26 medical centers across Metro Atlanta and Athens. Read more about Dr. Jones at kp.org/medical staff.
Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente | www.kaiserpermanente.org