With summer break coming to an end, most children will be back to school beginning in August. This is a perfect time to reiterate the importance of vaccinations with August being National Immunization Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dedicated the month of August to educate the public and stress the importance of maintaining an immunization schedule proposed by the CDC. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being immunized against infectious diseases.
With the invention and constant evolution of vaccinations, many of the diseases that were common in century’s prior, such as small pox and polio, have been virtually eliminated from the U.S. population. However, with constant population increase and the invention of air travel, it is important to reduce exposure to other existing diseases that might not be prominent in the U.S., as well as other common diseases that still remain active in our country by receiving the appropriate immunizations on schedule. The month of August includes weekly immunization observances by the Nation Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC).
- A Healthy Start-August 3rd-9th, 2014 is A Healthy Start Week. Protect the pregnant mother by ensuring all her immunizations are up to date. For babies (birth to 2 years old) vaccines also give protection from 14 serious diseases such as the flu, measles and whooping cough that can be life threatening for newborns and young babies/toddlers. Keeping your child on the proper immunization schedule during these first 2 years is imperative. Speak to your OB/GYN or Pediatrician if you have any questions.
- Back to School-August 10th-16th is Back to School Week. Preparing for Back to School should consist of more tasks than purchasing clothing and supplies…it should also include ensuring your child is up to date with their immunization schedule for their age. Schools are highly susceptible to infection disease outbreaks due to poor hand washing and highly populated classrooms. Most schools will inform parents if their child needs an updated proof of immunization.
- Off to the Future-August 17th-23rd is Off to the Future Week. Immunizations are not only for young children, but are also important to maintain throughout the adult life to stay healthy. Immunity from childhood vaccinations wears off over time. Students who are going off to college to college may need to update their vaccinations to ensure they are not susceptible to diseases that are often spread in college dorms and densely populated lecture halls.
- Not Just for Kids-August 24th is Not Just for Kids Week. Even adults need to maintain their vaccine schedule and receive updated vaccinations when available. Ensuring proper immunization is increasingly important for those over 60 years old and who have medical conditions such as COPD, asthma and heart disease.
Vaccination is extremely important for healthcare workers as they are often exposed to various contagious illnesses as they are treating their patients. Other service-oriented professions who work with the general public should also be cautious of obtaining updated immunizations. If you have any questions regarding vaccinations, contact your healthcare professional today. You may want to inquire regarding scheduling a yearly well-man or well-women examination which includes a physical examination, as well as updates to needed immunizations and general blood work.
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