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Shots shots shots shots shots, everybody! No, I am not talking about alcohol. I’m referring to something even more exciting, vaccines!
I’m not afraid to say that I hate shots! I utterly despise needles and can’t bear to even think about them. But I’ve come to realize that sometimes you’ve gotta bite the bullet and endure a few seconds of discomfort to maintain your health and the health of those you love.
So vaccines might not seem that exciting (except maybe to health care professionals), but the exciting adventures in life can’t happen if you’re sick! So you can say they MAKE it possible to live an exciting life!
Which Vaccines Do I Need?Here are the vaccines recommended for young adults, age 19-26, by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
1. HPV vaccine – If there was a shot that could prevent cancer, wouldn’t you get it? Well, the HPV vaccine protects you from certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) – a sexually transmitted disease that can lead to genital warts and cervical cancer along with cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis and anus. If you did not start the HPV vaccine series (three shots) when you were 11 or 12, you should be vaccinated before you are 27 (if you are female) and before you are 22 (if you are male). Guys between the ages of 22 and 26, who have not gotten the shots before, should talk to their doctor about getting vaccinated.
2. Seasonal flu vaccine – I will admit that for years I refused to get the flu shot. I was young and healthy so I didn’t feel the need to subject myself to needle torture! But my outlook changed recently. I realized that while I might be able to fight off the flu within a couple days, my grandparents and other immunocompromised people that I might come into contact with may not be so fortunate. The flu could lead to complications such as bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia – which could be deadly for older adults, like my grandparents, or even infants. So now I get the flu shot to protect those around me. I don’t want to get anyone else sick. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine each flu season.
3. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine – I dare you to say that three times fast! But seriously, this vaccine protects against bacterial meningitis, an infection that causes the membranes surrounding the brain and spine to swell (it just sounds awful!). If you haven’t gotten vaccinated, do so--especially if you are going into your freshman year at college and plan on living in close quarters like the dorms!
4. Tdap vaccine – Lockjaw, throat/nose infection, whooping cough. Trust me, you don’t want any of those. That’s why you need to make sure you’ve had your Tdap shot! It will protect you from these serious diseases (their fancy names are tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis).If you haven’t gotten it yet do so ASAP. You should get a tetanus/diptheria (Td) vaccine booster every 10 years after you got Tdap.
5. Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine – If you’ve paid attention to the news recently, you can’t have missed stories about outbreaks of measles and mumps. Cases of mumps have even been reported on college campuses! To protect yourself from these potentially serious conditions (along with rubella) make sure you have gotten the MMR vaccine. The 1-2 doses of MMR are usually given to young children, but if you didn’t get it as a child talk to your doctor about getting it now.
Getting vaccinated not only protects your health, but also the health of anyone you come into contact with (family, friends, peer, co-workers, roommates etc.). While a vaccine-preventable disease might only cause you to be on bed rest for a week, it could be deadly for young children or older adults!
We get most of our shots when we are very young, but as much as it pains me to say this (both literally and figuratively) there are still some shots we need to get as young adults.
So call your doctor now and make the appointment, especially if you are going away to school soon. Bring this list to your appointment and talk to your doctor about what vaccines you may need.
What will you do with your health intact?
Tell us about your adventures in the comments!
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