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Thursday, August 29, 2013 - Immunizations Important Part of Preventive Medicine

Immunizations Important Part of Preventive Medicine
Physician encourages area families to be up-to-date

Staying up-to-date on immunizations offers protection against major health problems for children and adults.

West Shore Medical Center internal medicine and pediatrics specialist William Weiner, M.D., encourages area families, young and old, to check with their physicians to ensure all the recommended vaccinations are covered.

“There are more recommended immunizations now than there were 10 years ago,” he said. “It’s important that preventive measures are in place to ensure not only one’s own health but also the health of our loved ones.”

Some recommended vaccinations are:
• Meningococcal vaccine to prevent meningococcal disease
• Polio vaccine
• DTaP or Tdap for protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough)
• Hib for protection against Haemophilus influenza type b, which causes spinal meningitis
• MMR for protection against measles, mumps, and rubella
• Pneumococcocal vaccine for protection against pneumonia, infection in blood, and meningitis
• Varicella for protection against chicken pox
• RotaTeq to prevent gastritis in infants
• Hep A and Hep B for protection against viral infection in the liver
• HPV for protection from human papillomavirus, which is linked to cervical cancer

While vaccination medications may cause reactions, typically a sore arm or in some instances a low-grade fever, the benefit from the vaccination exceeds the risks of the disease.

“One of the things that is important to remember is how devastating some diseases used to be in our nation and how they were greatly diminished through immunization,” Weiner said. “Now we are seeing whooping cough and the measles make a comeback because of lack of immunization in communities.”

West Shore Medical Center family physicians, pediatricians, and internal medicine specialists all offer immunizations in their offices. For specific questions about an immunization, area residents should contact their local health care provider. Those who do not have a provider should call HealthLink at 1-800-533-5520.