This month is National Immunization Awareness Month. As summer is winding down and kids are getting ready to go back to school, be sure to check immunization requirements, especially for kindergartners and seventh graders. It’s also a good time to check records for everyone in your family. Getting immunized is a safe and important step to protecting our families and ourselves against serious and even deadly diseases throughout our lives.
What vaccines do we need, and when?
Check with your doctor, or visit www.immunizeidaho.com for immunization schedules for all age groups, including adults. Remember that immunizations not only protect the people who receive the vaccines, they also help protect those not able to be vaccinated because they have weakened immune systems, as well as those who are most vulnerable for serious complications, such as infants and young children, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions.
What types of immunizations do adults need to get?
Generally, it’s recommended that all adults get the flu vaccine every year, as well as the Tdap vaccine one time as an adult to protect against whooping cough, also called pertussis. It’s also recommended that women get Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably in the third trimester, to protect their babies until they are old enough to start getting vaccines. In addition to Tdap, adults also need to get their Td booster every 10 years to renew protection against tetanus and diphtheria.
School starts soon. What are the immunization requirements for students?
There are specific immunization requirements for students to attend school in Idaho because some diseases spread more easily in those conditions. Highly contagious diseases like whooping cough and measles can spread easily not only at school, but also at home where there may be babies who are too young for vaccinations. Whooping cough is a particular concern for babies. You can talk to your doctor about the vaccines your child needs for school attendance and read more about the school immunization requirements at www.immunizeidaho.com. Idaho children must be in compliance with our state immunization laws to attend school.
What about college kids?
College students also should be sure they’re up-to-date on their immunizations, including the flu, MMR, Tdap, and HPV vaccines. MMR is important because it protects against measles, mumps and rubella, and you may remember there was a mumps outbreak just a couple years ago among Idaho college students. The HPV vaccine can prevent certain types of cancer and is recommended for boys and girls starting at ages 11-12, but females can get the vaccine until they are 26, while males can be vaccinated for HPV until they are 21. The meningitis vaccine also is recommended for young adults, especially those who will be living in residence halls or participating in sports programs.
(Editor’s note: A Closer Look At Your Health airs at 6:50 a.m. most Tuesdays on KBOI News Radio 670. This is an edited transcript of the segment from Aug. 16. Join us next week!)