When was the last time you had your shots updated? Even if you were vaccinated once you may need to boost them later on. Preventative medicine is the best form of medicine and by becoming vaccinated you can protect yourself and others. The more people that get vaccinated, the less of a chance there is of the disease spreading. That’s why today some diseases like whooping cough, measles, polio, and rubella are now almost unheard of. Vaccinations in effect save thousands of lives every year.
Tetanus, also known as lockjaw enters the body through a cut or scrape. Bacteria usually found in soil cause it. The bacteria create a poison that causes the muscles of the body to tighten painfully. This is very serious infection that can cause life-threatening problems, especially if it affects the breathing muscles. 1-5 people who get tetanus will die.
Diphtheria is a serious infection that occurs in the nose and throat. It is spread by contact or through the air and results in severe breathing problems, heart failure and paralysis. About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria will die.
Most people are not protected against Tetanus and Diphtheria. Even if you have had them at some point in your life chances are it might be time to get it boosted as these shots need to be boosted about every 10 years. The vaccine may also be given to people with serious cuts or deep wounds whose last tetanus vaccine was given 5 or more years ago. The good news is that both of these shots are free!
Pneumonia is a lung infection that can make you very sick. You may cough, run a fever, and have a hard time breathing. For most healthy individuals the infection will stabilize within 3-6 days, while it may be weeks before all symptoms to subside. The infection, however, can be quite dangerous for the elderly or those with a weakened immune system or other health issues.
There are two vaccinations to prevent pneumonia. Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13. Pneumovax is usually available to those who are 65 years or older for free however, it is now recommended that people get the paid Prevnar 13 before as a preventative measure, especially for those at higher risk such as those with immune suppression, liver or kidney disease or respiratory condition. These two vaccines should not be given at the same time. When both vaccines are recommended, you should receive a dose of Prevnar 13 first, followed by a dose of Pneumovax 23 at another visit.
Shingles is an infection of a nerve area caused by the varicella-zoster virus (the same virus that causes chickenpox). It causes pain and a rash along a band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. After you get better from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in your nerve roots. In some people, it stays dormant forever. In others, the virus “wakes up” when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune Symptoms usually go within 2-4 weeks.
Zostavax is a vaccine that protects against shingles. It is available to anyone over the age of 50 however it is currently recommended for those over the age of 60 whether or not they have had shingles.
If you are uncertain whether or not these or any of your other vaccinations are up to date one of our Orchard Remedy’s Rx pharmacists in Kelowna would be happy to help you go through your vaccination history and make sure you have all the vaccinations that are right for you and that they are up to date.