We’re well into the school year and speeding toward winter break, now it’s time to do your homework and make sure your entire family is up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports there are 16 diseases currently preventable with childhood vaccines, including chickenpox, diphtheria, seasonal flu, hepatitis A and B, human papillomavirus (HPV), measles, mumps, rotavirus, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, and polio.
Children under age 6 get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis. Pre-teens need additional vaccines around age 11 or 12 to protect them from diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, tetanus and HPV. Teenagers need a booster shot at age 16 for meningitis.
Looking for a cheat sheet? The CDC has one that details recommended immunizations from age 7 to age 18.
It’s important to remember that children and teens aren’t the only ones who need to stay up to date on their vaccinations. We all (yes, even adults) need shots to help protect us from serious diseases and illnesses.
Adults need a booster shot every decade for tetanus and diphtheria. You may hear your health care provider refer to this as the Td or Tdap vaccine. Everyone over age 65 should have a one-time pneumonia shot.
If you’ve been putting off getting your annual flu shot, it’s not hard to understand why. Last year the flu season didn’t really hit until February (2012). But just because you’ve managed to stay healthy so far doesn’t mean your luck will hold until the spring thaw. Now is the time to make arrangements to get your flu shot. You can find a location offering the vaccine through HealthMap’s Vaccine Finder.
Now that you’re an expert on vaccinations, put your knowledge to the test! Take the CDC’s Adolescent and Adult Vaccine Quiz. Take the quiz and you’ll get a list of vaccines you may need. You can take that list to your next appointment and review it with your health care team.