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Getting immunized from diseases has helped reduce death rates from many viruses and other conditions for years. It reduces 2-3 million deaths worldwide, has prevented 21.1 million deaths from measles over a near 20-year period, and reduces flu risks by 40-60% every season. Vaccinations are the reason why people no longer get smallpox, and why diseases like diphtheria, mumps, and rubella are nearly nonexistent. Over time, however, new diseases and viruses (along with new strains of old conditions) come along that need treatment, so the need for vaccination is as important as ever.

Residents of the Panama City, Florida area who need vaccinations have Dr. Roman Nation of Nation’s Best Family Health Care to rely on for vaccinations and a variety of other medical treatments.

How vaccines protect you

Vaccines are designed to train your immune system to recognize and fight viral or bacterial pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) in your body. When you become infected with a disease or virus, your body produces immunoglobulins (antibodies). These are proteins that eliminate antigens (molecules in pathogens that trigger your body’s immune response) from your body. Antigens are the way your body knows there is a threat to the body that needs fighting.

Vaccines contain antigens from the illness to trigger your body’s immune response, allowing your body to create antibodies to fight it. This also means when that same condition reappears, your body recognizes it and works to eliminate it.

Why vaccines are so important

In addition to helping your body fight illness, vaccines also help prevent you from getting them in the first place. But, even if you’ve been vaccinated, viruses mutate and change, making them harder to treat the same way twice. This is why doctors always recommend you get a flu shot every season: The vaccine you get is designed to treat multiple strains of the flu expected to be a threat that year. Vaccines are a safe and simple way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of getting other people sick.

Vaccines you should get

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) break down the vaccines you should get by age category:

Adults 19-26

The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended, along with a Td or Tdap vaccine. This shot covers diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, or whooping cough. If you haven’t already been vaccinated for HPV (human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease), it is also recommended.

Adults 50 or older

Both the flu and Tdap vaccines are still recommended, but advancing in age will also increase the risk of conditions like shingles, something for which you may be at higher risk if you’ve had chickenpox. You should also get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23), which will fight meningitis and other bloodstream infections. The PPSV23 vaccine is especially good for people either 65 and older or between 50-65 if you have specific health conditions. The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is also recommended to protect against pneumonia and conditions that weaken the immune system.

Conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, HIV infection, liver infection, renal disease, and lung disease may also require you to get vaccines to help with the risks of other conditions. Your health and lifestyle will also help determine what vaccines you may need.

For women planning on getting pregnant, the MMR vaccine (which covers measles, mumps and rubella) will help prevent the birth defects or possible miscarriage that could result from getting rubella.

There are some vaccines that everyone should get, but what you need will also change as you get older. If you need your vaccinations, make an appointment with Dr. Nation and Nation’s Best Family Health Care today to get started.

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