52 Weeks to Health: Week 33, National Immunization Month

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National Immunization Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the importance of getting recommended vaccines throughout your life. We know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, including your ability to attend important appointments and receive routine vaccinations. During NIAM, we encourage you to talk to your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional to ensure you and your family are protected against serious diseases by getting caught up on routine vaccinations.  Immunizations are public health’s great success story with the disappearance of many infectious diseases.

Immunization shots, or vaccinations, are essential to maintaining health. They protect against infections like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A and B, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Immunizations are also important for adults, especially those against pneumonia, influenza and shingles.

Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing antibodies to combat them. Once it does, the immune system “remembers” the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity.

Before vaccines, people became immune only by actually getting a disease and surviving it. Immunizations are an easier and less risky way to become immune.

It is important to point out that Kentucky is one of the unhealthiest states in our nation; but, a few healthy lifestyle choices could change this. First, eating normally proportioned helpings of nutritious foods including at least five fruits and vegetables a day can lower weight and reduce heart disease and diabetes. Second, exercising about 30 minutes per day can lower blood pressure. Third, avoiding the use of tobacco products can reduce several types of cancer. Finally, making sure you get your needed preventive screenings can detect diseases early and greatly increase your chances for a positive health outcomes, while receiving your recommended vaccinations can prevent acquiring disease in the first place.

Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Press Release: Week-33-National-Immunization-Month