Saturday, July 24, 2010

Time For Shots

No, I am not talking about shots of Tequila (although if school does not start soon they may be on the list). I am talking about immunizations you may want to consider for your child.

There are serious diseases that kids are at increased risk for as they approach the teen years such as meningitis, whooping cough, and human papillomavirus (also known as HPV). Meningococcal infections are very serious and can result in long-term disability or even death; Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is not just a childhood disease—many teens are diagnosed with it each year; certain strains of HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, can cause cervical pre-cancer and cancer. Each year in the United States about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and nearly 4,000 women die from this disease

The three vaccines recommended specifically for kids age 11-12 to protect them from these diseases are Meningococcal vaccine, which protects against meningitis and its complications; Tdap vaccine, which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (this one is required in Volusia County for children going into 7th grade) and the HPV vaccine, which protects girls and women against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer

In addition, the CDC recommends that all kids 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine every year. Even healthy kids can get the flu and it can be serious (my daughter had it two years ago and it was quite horrible.)

Kids should also have a medical check-up during their pre-teen years in order to make sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations, recommend routine screening and discuss other ways to stay healthy with their doctor.

For families with health insurance, all or most of the cost of vaccines is usually covered. For families without insurance, children age 18 and younger may be eligible to get the vaccines for free through the Vaccines for Children program (VFC).

If you would like more information on the CDC's recommendations for your child their website has plenty of valuable information.

Visit the CDC Pre-teen Immunization Hub for a text-based versionVisit the CDC site for more information on pre-teen vaccines

I am writing this post as part of a CDC blogger outreach program. I may receive a small thank you gift from the CDC for my participation in raising awareness about pre-teen immunizations