Nobody likes to get shots when visiting the doctor, but these immunizations are an important step in your and your children’s preventive healthcare plan.
According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, different vaccines work in different ways to help the body’s immune system to fight off infectious, and in some cases, potentially deadly, diseases. Some vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, even require an annual booster shot to help your body maintain its ability to defend itself.
August is Immunization Awareness Month. If you can’t remember the last time you’ve had a preventive vaccine, it could be time to schedule a visit with your primary care provider. Take the time to review your healthcare records and get up to date on your shots.
Some of the more common vaccines include:
- Tetanus: Wards against a bacteria that can cause painful muscle contractions, even lockjaw.
- Human Papillomavirus: Usually given to boys and girls, this vaccine fights against a virus linked to several kinds of cancer, including cervical cancer.
- Influenza: As many as 36,000 people in the United States die of the flu annually. An annual shot helps to save the lives of many, including the elderly, who are most susceptible to the flu.
- COVID-19: The most recent addition to global vaccine options was developed as a result of the worldwide pandemic.
- Shingles: Fights against the virus herpes zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox, which causes a painful rash and body aches. The vaccine is usually given in two separate doses, two to six months apart.
- MMR: Stands for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Commonly given to young children.
- Pertussis: Wards against whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory disease. This vaccine also protects against diphtheria and tetanus.
Most people experience low-grade side effects when given vaccines, and these usually disappear within 24 to 48 hours. Common side effects for most vaccines include:
- Muscle aches, especially around the shot site
- Lack of appetite
Your healthcare provider can discuss the pros and cons of any vaccines available as well as answer any questions you may have.
Flu season will be here sooner than we think. A prick in the arm, maybe a couple of days of minor discomfort, and you’ll be giving your body the chance to fight when infectious diseases are a real threat.