Julie Larson
John Manning

BRTT | According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S., vaccination programs have eliminated or significantly reduced many vaccine-preventable diseases. However, some of these diseases still exist and may once again become common — and deadly — if we don’t get the vaccinations we need and when we need them.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and Hancock County Health System would like to encourage you to care for yourself and your loved ones by reminding you of the importance of immunizations.

Immunizations aren’t just for youngsters. According to the CDC, we all need them to help protect us, our families, friends and co-workers from serious diseases and illness. In fact, the CDC said, everyone over the age of six months should have a seasonal flu shot every year as the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu.

"Getting vaccines for yourself and your children are more important now than ever," Julie Larson, ARNP, HCHS Provider said. "Prevention is key to protecting ourselves from diseases that can results in poor outcomes or even those that are life-threatening. In this way, we also protect our very young and our very old from life-threatening illnesses."

Other vaccinations work best when they are given at certain ages. Here are some general guidelines from the CDC:

Young children:

• Children under age six get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox and hepatitis.

Preteens:

• All 11- and 12-year-olds need shots to help protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and meningitis.

• Doctors recommend girls also get the HPV vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer.

Adults:

• All adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years.

• People age 65 need two pneumonia shots to cover strains of pneumococcal pneumonia.

Talk to your HCHS provider or HCHS Community Health nurse about which shots you and your family need.

Besides preventing you and others from getting sick, there’s another great benefit associated with getting immunized. For a complete list of immunizations and a schedule for receiving them, visit the CDC Immunization Schedules website.

Having a Primary Care Provider, who can coordinate your care, including preventive care and immunizations, is vital to your good health. If you don’t have a provider, finding one in Hancock County is easy - just call HCHS Clinics at 641-843-5050. HCHS has primary care clinics located in four communities: Britt, Garner, Kanawha and Wesley.

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