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Tetanus and Superstorm Sandy

Disasters Like Super Storm Sandy Increase Risk of Getting the Flu.

Over the summer, we talked about how August was deemed National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) in order to spread awareness of how important immunizations are for both children and adults. The CDC supports and encourages the efforts of state and local health departments to use NIAM to promote back to school immunizations for children as well as college-aged students. It also serves as a reminder to all ages that influenza season is quickly approaching.

Since most parents choose to strictly follow the guidelines set for by the CDC or a modified schedule agreed upon by themselves and the child’s pediatrician, the average school-age child is protected from 16 potentially harmful diseasesWhile parents are expected to keep up to date on the importance of vaccinations for their children, many adults fail to keep up with their own vaccinations, thinking that the vaccinations they had as a child “last forever.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. Immunizations are just as important throughout your adult life in order to protect yourself against the flu, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, shingles, pneumococcal and HPV.

The importance of keeping up with your immunizations became headline news right after the East Coast was hit by Superstorm Sandy.  New York State strongly recommended a Tetanus vaccination to anybody participating in any kind of storm cleanup. Since lacerations are common while dealing with dirty debris or repairing homes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged anyone working on storm repair and cleanup projects  to check and make he or she has been immunized for tetanus within the last 10 years.Current vaccinations are important for the healthy and are especially vital to the elderly and those who have a compromised immune system. The CDC has made it easy to view their recommendations for adults ages 19 – 65+ In addition, if you will be traveling out of the country in the near future, the CDC recommends seeing your doctor 4 – 6 weeks prior to your trip to ensure you are up to date on vaccinations needed to keep you healthy. This checklist will help determine if a visit to the doc is necessary.

The bottom line is, you do have a choice as to whether you continue to receive vaccinations as an adult. Whatever decision you choose to make, just be sure it is a educated one. Don’t wait until a disaster like Superstorm Sandy to serve as reminder. Prevention is always the best medicine.