All Set with Your Flu Shot?

What about other vaccines for preventable diseases?

 OTTAWA COUNTY – You’re ready for this flu season, but are you and your family up-to-date on other vaccinations? Immunizations protect our community from dangerous infectious diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and more. Remember years ago almost everyone got chickenpox? It was one of the most common childhood diseases and unfortunately it caused many to suffer through itchy blister-like rashes. Thankfully, chickenpox vaccine has changed all that. Chickenpox vaccine protects you against a very uncomfortable and sometimes serious disease. Chickenpox used to be very common in the United States. About 4 million people would get the disease each year. Also, about 10,600 people were hospitalized and 100 to 150 died each year because of chickenpox, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral illness that most commonly lasts about 5-10 days. The classic symptom of chickenpox is a rash that turns into itchy, fluid-filled blisters that eventually turn into scabs. The rash may first show up on the face, chest, and back then spread to the rest of the body, including inside the mouth, eyelids, or genital area. A person can have 250 to 500 blisters. It usually takes about one week for all the blisters to become scabs. Children usually miss 5 to 6 days of school or childcare due to their chickenpox.The CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children (12 months of age or older), adolescents, and adults. Two doses of the vaccine are about 98% effective at preventing chickenpox. Some people who are vaccinated against chickenpox may still get the disease. However, it is usually milder with fewer blisters and little or no fever. Complications from chickenpox can occur, but they are not as common in otherwise healthy people who get the disease. People who may have more severe symptoms and may be at high risk for complications leading to hospital stays or even death include infants, adolescents, those with HIV/AIDS, on chemotherapy, or pregnant. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in a dormant (inactive) state. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.

Immunizations are safe and effective. Currently in Michigan, thousands of children become ill from various types of diseases that could have been prevented. If you have any questions about your children’s immunizations or need to schedule an appointment, please contact your pediatrician or health care provider. For more information, visit Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH)

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“Vaccines are among the safest and most successful public health tools available for preventing diseases and death”
– Walter A. Orenstein, M.D.,
Director of the CDC’s National Immunization Program