It is much easier to prevent a disease than to treat it. That is exactly what immunizations aim to do. August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
And since many families are getting ready to go back to school, we want to remind you about
the immunizations your child will need to attend public and private schools in Arkansas. Your family doctor’s office or local health unit can check to see if your shots are up-to-date.
Below two examples of immunizations required in Arkansas.
· Seventh graders must have one dose of vaccine to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap vaccine).
· Kindergarten children must have two doses of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine even if they have already had chickenpox.
Making sure that children of all ages receive all their vaccinations on time is one of the most important things parents can do to ensure their children's long-term health, as well as the health of friends, classmates, and others in the community.
Because of immunizations, we've seen the near eradication of polio and smallpox. Over the years immunizations have thwarted epidemics of once common infectious diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough.
However, outbreaks still happen. For example, preliminary data showed more than 21,000 cases of "whooping cough" (pertussis) in this country in 2010. Twenty-six deaths were reported. Additionally, from January 1 to May 20, 2011, there were 118 cases of measles reported in the United States--- more than any year since 1996. Measles spreads easily and it can be serious, causing hospitalization and even death. Young children are at highest risk for serious complications from measles.
Immunizations do not end after graduation. Adults need immunizations, too. All adults should have these vaccines:
· Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) – one dose is recommended after age 18
· Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). If you were born after 1957 and have never had measles, mumps or rubella vaccine, you are at risk of infection.
For a complete schedule of recommended vaccines visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html.
And for more information on immunizations in Arkansas visit the Arkansas Department of Health website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.