Vac­ci­na­tions aren’t just for kids

The McLeod River Post - - Family, Farm & Garden -

Au­thor: Diella Juneau, RN,

MScN

Pro­gram/ Ser­vice Beaver­lodge Pub­lic Health Nurse Al­berta Health Ser­vices

Maybe you think vac­ci­na­tions are just for kids, but the fact is you never out­grow the need to keep your shots up to date. It pro­tects not only your­self but oth­ers like in­fants and per­sons with weak­ened im­mune sys­tems. This is called com­mu­nity or “herd” im­mu­nity.

The vac­cines rec­om­mended for you are based on your age, health con­di­tion, and other fac­tors like your job or where you travel. Even if you were vac­ci­nated as a kid, the pro­tec­tion from dis­eases you had back then may have de­creased over time.

Adults re­quire a tetanus, diph­the­ria and whoop­ing cough booster every ten years, and should re­ceive the in­fluenza vac­cine on a yearly ba­sis. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada in 2014, less than 10 per cent of Cana­dian adults are ac­tu­ally up to date with im­mu­niza­tions.

As we age we of­ten de­velop chronic health con­di­tions like di­a­betes and heart and lung con­di­tions and our im­mune sys­tems may get weaker. This puts us at a greater risk for cer­tain pre­ventable dis­eases, like in­fluenza, pneu­mo­nia and shin­gles.

Peo­ple with di­a­betes can de­velop some se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions from vac­cine pre­ventable dis­eases. In­fluenza can in­crease your blood sugar lev­els to dan­ger­ously high lev­els. And di­a­bet­ics are at in­creased risk for de­vel­op­ing and dy­ing from pneu­mo­nia.

But what about side af­fects you may ask. Vac­cine side ef­fects are usu­ally mild and go away on their own. Se­vere side ef­fects are very rare. You are much more likely to de­velop a vac­cine pre­ventable dis­ease than from ex­pe­ri­enc­ing any is­sues from vac­ci­na­tions.

The great news is that there are “shots” that can pro­tect you from hav­ing to deal with any of th­ese health is­sues. Your best de­fense is to get all rec­om­mended vac­cines at the right time. Vac­cines are one of the safest and most ef­fec­tive ways to pro­tect your health.

Talk to your lo­cal pub­lic health nurse to see what you need to do to be fully pro­tected.

Call Health Link at 811 to be di­rected to your lo­cal pub­lic health nurs­ing of­fice.

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