No one is busier than a CNA. Besides your demanding job, you may be responsible for getting children off to school, taking care of parents, church and sports activities, volunteer work, so there may not be a spare moment to consider your own health needs.
Schools can require that all students show proof of vaccinations. But did you know that YOU may need vaccinations, too? “Vaccination is as important for adults as it is for children, and yet many adults are not optimally vaccinated,” says William Schaffner, MD, President of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
With modern worldwide travel, a bacteria or virus can easily spread disease within a few hours. Adults of all ages should check with their providers and make sure all vaccinations are current. Some childhood vaccinations give lifelong immunity; others require boosters in adulthood. Several vaccinations are only given to older adults.
Here are seven situations when adults should be vaccinated:
1. All healthcare workers should have the Hepatitis B series. Depending on your state and facility, it may be required. Hepatitis B (HBV) is a serious viral disease that attacks the liver; it can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Healthcare workers are at greater risk for HBV. Most employers offer the vaccine without cost. The series includes three doses, plus a follow-up blood test to determine if the series was successful.
2. Not all vaccines provide life-long protection. Some vaccines, such as tetanus, require boosters every ten years. Depending on the birth year, several vaccines, including mumps, may have been ineffective when given, and need to be re-administered.
3. Vaccinations records may be incomplete. People born before 1957 are considered to be immune to measles and mumps. Otherwise, people without a complete documented vaccination record, or laboratory proof of immunity, may need to undergo a complete schedule, especially if they have medical conditions.
4. Some vaccines are only for adults. For people who have had chicken pox, a one-time zoster vaccination is recommended after age 60. After age 65, all adults should complete the pneumococcal series.
5. Everyone should get a flu shot, every year. The CDC recommends that after the age of six months, all people should get an annual flu shot. Not only does it build antibodies against the anticipated worst 3-4 strains of influenza during the coming year, it protects infants and those who aren’t medically able to receive the injection.
6. Adults with chronic diseases need additional protection. People with heart disease, COPD, kidney disease, diabetes, or HIV can have severe complications from flu or pneumonia. Providers may decide to administer vaccinations, such as pneumococcal, earlier in adulthood.
7. Vaccinations help keep everyone safe, especially babies and immune-compromised people. Before infants are able to be vaccinated, they are extremely vulnerable. Some children and adults are not able to tolerate vaccines, and depend on the community to help them stay healthy. “We call that creating a cocoon of protection...” Dr. Schaffner says.
Take time to review your own immunization records. If you’re due, or overdue, for a vaccine, call your provider today. After all, you’re too busy to get sick!
Try reviewing the course material on the spread of micro organisms from our course library.
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