Thursday, August 07, 2014

Immunizations: why you need to stay up to date

Imagine that there’s a virus that makes you very sick, or may even kill you. This virus is easy to spread to other people. And because it’s a virus, antibiotics don’t work against it. Wouldn’t you do whatever you could to avoid getting sick from that virus? And wouldn’t you want to protect your family, friends and co-workers? 

No imagination needed. There are viruses that cause diseases like the one described above, such as measles, mumps, influenza, chickenpox and polio. The good news is that we can protect ourselves and those around us from many diseases by staying up to date on required immunizations.

What is immunization? It’s another way of saying that you have been vaccinated against a certain disease. There are two ways to think about how immunization protects us. The first way is that immunization against a certain disease protects you from the bug that causes the disease. The second way immunization protects is that if you’re immunized, you won’t be spreading the disease to others. Immunization “breaks the chain” by helping you to not catch or spread the disease from or to other people. 

So check your immunization record — even if you’re an adult! — and records for your children and pets. If the immunization record is not up to date or is incomplete, take care of that as soon as possible.

Check out APHA’s Get Ready website for more information on how you can do your part to stay protected from diseases that can be prevented through immunization.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Get free resources and materials to share in your community. 

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