Measles, mumps, tuberculosis, and whooping cough seem like quaint old illnesses confined to 19th century novels. But outbreaks of contagious diseases like measles and mumps have caused problems recently, especially in schools and on college campuses where large numbers of people are together in close quarters.
Missing a shot may not seem like a bad thing — nobody wakes up in the morning thinking they'd love to go out and get a jab in the arm. But missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems. For example, older teens and adults who get diseases like mumps may not feel too sick — but they could still be at risk for side effects of the illness, such as infertility (the inability to have children).
People sometimes mistakenly think that vaccinations are only for little kids or that they are for diseases that only kids get. But many of the diseases that we are vaccinated against when we're kids — like hepatitis B or tetanus — actually affect way more adults than kids. And those "kid diseases" like chickenpox? Anyone can get them — and they are far more dangerous to teens and adults than they are to little kids.
The best reason to get shots is because they could save your life. Hepatitis B attacks the liver and can eventually kill. The new HPV vaccine can protect girls from certain types of cervical cancer. And another great reason to stay current on your shots is because scientists are constantly working on new vaccines against diseases like HIV.
So which vaccines should you be getting? Doctors now recommend that all teens should have received a full course of vaccination against the following diseases:
Ideally, people should be fully vaccinated against these diseases by the age of 11 or 12. But because new vaccines come on the market all the time (the HPV vaccine was only approved in 2006), there's a chance teens may have missed getting at least one of these. The good news is you can still get a shot if you've missed it. And if you've missed some shots in a series of vaccines, you don't need to get the whole series again — you can simply pick up where you left off.
Like any medicine, vaccines may cause side effects, but receiving one is far safer than getting the disease it prevents. The most common reactions include soreness, redness, and swelling in the area of the shot or a low-grade fever. Usually acetaminophen or ibuprofen will take care of these side effects. It's rare to have any kind of bad reaction to a vaccine. If you've had reactions to vaccines in the past, let your doctor know.
Websites Created and Maintained byMD Practice Consulting, Inc
Copyright © Southwest Orlando Family Medicine, P.L. 2013. All Rights Reserved