Friday, August 25, 2017

DO YOU HAVE A PRETEEN OR TEEN? PROTECT THEIR FUTURE WITH VACCINES.


National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives.

Taking them to their sports physical, making sure they eat healthy and get plenty of sleep…you know these are crucial to your child’s health. But did you also you know your preteens and teens need vaccines to stay healthy and protected against serious diseases?

To celebrate the importance of immunizations for people of all ages – and make sure preteens and teens are protected with all the vaccines they need – Nurses Who Vaccinate joined with partners nationwide in recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month.

As they get older, preteens and teens are at increased risk for some infections. Plus the protection provided by some of the childhood vaccines begins to wear off, so preteens need an additional dose (booster) to “boost” immunity. You may have heard about whooping cough (pertussis) outbreaks recently. Vaccine-preventable diseases are still around and very real. The vaccines for preteens and teens can help protect your kids, as well as their friends, community, and other family members.








There are four vaccines recommended for all preteens at ages 11 to 12:

Meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which protects against four types of the bacteria that cause meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is an uncommon but serious disease that can cause infections of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and blood (septicemia). Since protection decreases over time, a booster dose is recommended at age 16 so teens continue to have protection during the ages when they are at highest risk for getting meningococcal disease. Teens and young adults (16 through 23 year olds) may also receive a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine, preferably at 16 through 18 years old.

HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. HPV can cause future cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women and cancers of the penis in men. In both women and men, HPV also causes cancers in the back of the throat (including base of the tongue and tonsils), anal cancer and genital warts.

Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Tetanus and diphtheria are uncommon now because of vaccines, but they can be very serious. Whooping cough is common and on the rise in the United States. It can keep kids out of school and activities for weeks, but it is most dangerous — and sometimes even deadly — for babies who can catch it from family members, including older siblings.

Influenza (flu) vaccine, because even healthy kids can get the flu, and it can be serious. All kids, including your preteens and teens, should get the flu vaccine every year. Parents should also get vaccinated to protect themselves and to help protect their children from the flu.



You can use any health care visit, including sports or camp physicals, checkups or some sick visits, to get the shots your kids need. Talk with your child’s health care professional to find out which vaccines your preteens and teens need. Vaccines are a crucial step in keeping your kids healthy.

Want to learn more about the vaccines for preteens and teens? Check out www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens or call 1-800-CDC-INFO


The National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC) is an independent organization of professionals sought after to improve America's health through public health communications.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Why Nurses Need to Advocate for Patients to Recieve Chickenpox Vaccine

Nurses, do you have unpleasant memories of getting the chickenpox when you were young? Some of us may remember having an uncomfortable rash, staying home from school for a week, and trying not to scratch the scabs. Some may even remember the oatmeal baths that did not work as promised.

Many nurses were told that "It is a rite of passage" because all of their friends got it—It was just "part of growing up." With chickenpox being as contagious as it it, it was no wonder so many caught it. One child can spread it to another from 1 to 2 days before they get the rash until all their chickenpox blisters have formed scabs (usually 5-7 days).

But, now, our patients don’t have to suffer the way we did, because there’s a vaccine to protect them against chickenpox.


Before the chickenpox vaccine became available in 1995, nearly 11,000 people were hospitalized every year and about 50 children died. The disease can cause serious complications, even in healthy children. These complications include skin infections, lung infections (pneumonia), swelling of the brain, bleeding problems, blood stream infections (sepsis), and dehydration. In Pakistan, 2017 has brought at least 17 deaths from chickenpox, and the year is only half way. Earlier this year, a 6 year old girl died enroute to a London hospital from complications associated with varicella. 

“The most important thing to remember is that we cannot predict which child will get a serious case or have complications from the chickenpox,” explained Dr. Stephanie Bialek at the CDC. “The chickenpox vaccine is very safe, and about 90% of kids who get both recommended doses of the chickenpox vaccine are protected against the disease. Therefore, we recommend that children get vaccinated.”

CDC recommends pediatric patients receive the first dose of the chickenpox vaccine at age 12 through 15 months old and the second at age 4 through 6 years. Some children do get the disease even after they are vaccinated, but it’s usually milder. Children who get chickenpox after vaccination typically have fewer red spots or blisters and mild or no fever. The chickenpox vaccine prevents almost all cases of severe disease. If a patient has only received one dose in the past, check to see if they can qualify for a second dose.

Have an adult patient questioning whether they should get the varicella vaccine? All adults who never received the chickenpox vaccine and never had the chickenpox should receive the vaccine. If they are unsure about their vaccine statues, it's recommended by experts that they receive the vaccine. Adults who are at higher risk of exposure should especially consider vaccination. They include healthcare workers, college students, teachers, and daycare workers. 



Nurses need to be strong advocates in encouraging patients and families to vaccinate for chickenpox. A strong recommendation can go a long way in preventing unnecessary suffering and even death.

If you have questions about the childhood immunization schedule, you can find more information about vaccines here. Looking for more information about chickenpox? Click here.