What Vaccines Should You and Your Family Have?
Many diseases can be prevented by
getting vaccinated against them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
vaccination schedules that you and your family can follow to make sure you are protected.
Getting vaccines when advised may help prevent the spread of these diseases.
Specific vaccine recommendations vary by your age, where you live, and the risk factors you may have.
Many basic vaccines are often given in
combination to reduce the number of injections needed. The following diseases may be
prevented by following the CDC guidelines for vaccines:
Diphtheria. This is a serious
disease caused by a poison (toxin) made by bacteria. It may damage the heart, lungs
and nerves. It can be fatal.
Haemophilus influenzae type B
(Hib). This is a bacterial infection that leads to serious conditions such as
meningitis, pneumonia, and epiglottitis.
Hepatitis A. This is a viral
disease of the liver. You can get it by eating food or drinking water contaminated
with feces. Or you can get it by coming in contact with someone who has the
infection. Symptoms may include upset stomach, extreme tiredness (fatigue), and
yellowing of the skin (jaundice). But some people have no symptoms. This is
especially true in younger children.
Hepatitis B (hep B). This type
of hepatitis is spread through blood and other body fluids. It is also spread in
childbirth from an infected mother. Symptoms may include fever, fatigue, digestive
problems, joint pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Symptoms can last from
weeks to months. Hepatitis B is more severe than hepatitis A because hepatitis B can
become long-term (chronic). This can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
HPV. This is a very common
sexually transmitted disease. It can cause genital warts. It can lead to cervical
cancer and other less common but serious cancers.
Flu (influenza). This is a
highly contagious disease that affects your lungs. It is caused by different strains
of flu viruses. The flu causes mild to severe illness. It may lead to pneumonia and
can be deadly in some cases.
Measles (rubeola). Measles is a
highly contagious viral infection. It causes fever, cough, runny nose, and a rash all
over the body.
Meningococcal meningitis. This
is a severe bacterial infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal
cord (meninges). It can be life-threatening. Symptoms can include fever, headache, a
stiff neck, nausea, and mental confusion.
Mumps. Mumps is a virus that
causes a painful infection in the salivary or parotid glands. It sometimes affects
other areas of the body. In rare cases, it can cause sterility in men.
Pertussis (whooping cough). This is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It causes severe, high-pitched coughing spasms that continue for long periods.
Pneumococcal pneumonia. This is a serious lung infection caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Polio. This is a highly
infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system. Symptoms may include a
flu-like illness and stiffness in the neck and back, with pain in the arms and legs.
In the worst case, the infection can cause lifelong (permanent) paralysis, often in
Rotavirus. This is a highly contagious virus. It is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children.
Rubella (German measles). This is a contagious disease caused by a virus. Symptoms include a rash and fever. It can cause birth defects if a woman who is pregnant catches it.
Tetanus (lockjaw). This is a
disease of the nervous system caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani.
Symptoms include painful muscle contractions. These contractions can progress to
seizure-like motion and nervous system disorders.
Varicella (chickenpox). This is a contagious disease caused
by the varicella-zoster virus. It causes a skin rash. It is most common in
Shingles (zoster). This is a painful skin rash with
blisters caused by the varicella zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes
chickenpox. After a chickenpox infection, the virus remain for life in nerve cells.
It can come back years later as shingles.