This August is National Immunization Awareness Month, celebrating the cornerstone of disease prevention. Although we place great medical emphasis on the vaccination of children and young adults, adults and seniors tend not to be given the necessary attention, with regard to the health of their immune systems, that they need. As a result, thousands of American citizens yearly fall victim to completely preventable diseases. In addition, vaccines provide a key level of immune protection to those who already suffer from a condition that can compromise their health, such as asthma or COPD. In fact, these vaccinations are key in preventing them from falling victim to more severe diseases that would prey upon this weakness. These diseases, usually respiratory in nature, include pneumonia and influenza. Chronic lung disease was, in fact, the most commonly reported of underlying medical conditions for those over the age of 18 who went to the hospital for the flue in 2016-2017. Fewer than fifty percent of those between the ages of 18 and 65 who suffer from these respiratory disabilities properly immunize themselves against the flu and pneumonia,
This month, private nonprofits, one of which is the American Association for Respiratory Care, are working in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control to inform the public on the dangers caused by insufficient immunization of the public. Another Organization, the National Public Health Coalition, is working with the CDC and prioritizing communication with handy toolkits to help spread the word. These are catered, with various messages suited to various audiences. Included in these kits are simple messages, social and visual media tools, and plenty of internet-based informational opportunities. They suggest that parents be kept reminded of the key part that vaccines play with regard to the ensurance of their children’s well being. In addition, coordination with a pediatrician is key to maintain a proper vaccination schedule for one’s children. Pregnant women, too, should make sure that their vaccinations are up to date, so that their newborns face no unnecessary risks.
Vaccines work by training the body to fight a certain disease by mimicking it. When injected into the body, they act or look like the disease- as far as the immune system goes- without posing any life threatening risks. They have played a huge part in the eradication and control of countless diseases, many of which used to be a massive hindrance to society. Polio used to run rampant through society, maiming millions, but thanks to microbiology and widespread vaccinations, it has been eradicated in many countries, saving and improving millions of lives. Nonetheless, many of the diseases that cause such horrible afflictions still exist in the world, and one would be wise to stay protected against them, in case one came into contact with them. So, this month, make sure that you and your children are up to date on your immunizations. Also make sure to inform as many people as you can of this necessity, to protect yourselves and everyone around you.