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Family Medicine of Vandalia - From Infants to Elderly: Immunizations Key for All Ages

Vaccinations Help Keep the Entire Family Healthy

DAYTON, Ohio (September 26, 2011) – Back-to-school season serves as a reminder for many parents to make sure their children are immunized. However, children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from vaccinations. A quick visit to a primary care physician benefits each member of the family.

“Many people associate immunizations with this time of year because, like physicals, they are a back-to-school ritual,” said Dr. Joseph Allen of Family Medicine of Vandalia. “In places such as schools where germs and bacteria can be passed around from person to person, immunizations help prevent sickness and the spread of viruses.”

Common vaccinations required for school-age children include: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP); hepatitis B; polio; and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). While schools require certain immunizations, parents are able to submit waivers if they prefer their children not be vaccinated. According to the National Vaccine Information Center, parents may choose to exempt their children from immunizations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. Each vaccination goes through years of testing before it can be licensed and even then, they are continually monitored for safety and efficacy. Even with all the precautions that are taken, some parents still question whether or not immunizations are safe. While there are some health concerns associated with immunizations, physicians believe the benefits outweigh the risks.

“Often times, parents are pressured to get their children immunized,” said Dr. Allen. “I try to educate parents and give them all the information they need to make an informed decision. While it is ultimately a parent’s personal decision whether or not to vaccinate his or her child, it is a practice that comes highly recommended in the medical community.”

While immunizations for children might be at the top of parents’ minds this time of year, it is just as important for adults to stay up-to-date on their vaccines. While the pneumonia vaccine is available year-round, the flu vaccine has already arrived in area physicians’ offices in preparation for flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advocates the immunization of patients six months of age and older against the flu. Conditions such as the flu and pneumonia can sometimes take a greater toll on the elderly than they do on young children. For that reason, it’s important for adults to maintain protection against these types of viruses and keep up on the necessary vaccinations and boosters.

“Regular well checks and physicals are an excellent way to ensure people receive the immunizations they need,” said Dr. Allen. “We tend to do a good job of making sure the very old and very young are vaccinated—it’s the years in between, when yearly doctor visits happen less often, that people don’t get the immunizations they need to stay healthy.”

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