Sunday, July 15, 2012

YOUR TEEN AND IMMUNIZATIONS (Which ones do they really need?)

It is hard to believe, but school starts back in less than a month (at least here in Mississippi), so it is time to take a look at immunizations that are important for your teen/tween.
As mothers, it is up to us to provide our children with all they need (not all they want) to grow into healthy, happy adults - food, clothing, education, and immunizations.  I do know there are some mothers who do not agree with getting their children immunized, but I'm not here to debate this somewhat controversial topic. This is a personal decision that everyone has to make.

As our children grow into the tween/teen years, you may think you are finally finished with the immunizations, but there are some very important immunizations tweens/teens need to ensure they stay disease-free:


- Td vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria.
- Tdap vaccine is the first vaccine for adolescents and adults that protects against:
  1. Tetanus (Lock Jaw)
  • Causes painful muscle spasms, usually all over the body.
  • It can lead to tightening of the jaw muscles so the victim cannot open his/her mouth or swallow.
  • Tetanus kills about 1 out of 5 people who are infected.
     2.  Diphtheria:
  • Causes a thick covering in the back of the throat.
  • It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and death.
     3.  Pertussis (Whooping Cough):
  • Causes severe coughing spells, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
  • It can lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures, passing out from violent coughing, and pneumonia.
(These three diseases are all caused by bacteria.  Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person.  Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches or wounds.)

Routine: Adolescents 11-18
  • A dose of Tdap is recommended for adolescents who got the DTaP or DTP as children and have not yet gotten a booster dose of Td.   The preferred age is 11-12.
  • Adolescents who did not get all their scheduled doses of DTaP or DTP as children should complete this series using a combination of Td and Tdap.
  • Age 19 to adults should get a booster dose of Td every ten years.
Mild/Moderate Problems:

  • Pain (3 in 4)
  • Redness or swelling (about 1 in 5)
  • Mild fever (up to 1 in 25)
  • Fever over 102 (about 1 in 100)
  • Headache (about 4 in 10)
  • Tiredness (about 1 in 3)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache (up to 1 in 4)
  • Chills, body aches, sore joints, rash, swollen glands (uncommon)
  • Pain (up to about 8 in 10)
  • Redness or swelling (up to about 1 in 3)
  • Fever (up to about 1 in 15)
  • Fever over 102 (rare)
  • Headache or tiredness (uncommon)

  • Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial illness.  It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children ages 2-18.  Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
  • About 1,000-2,600 people get meningococcal disease in the U.S. each year.  
  • Even when treated with antibiotics, 10-15% of these people will die.  Of those who survive, another 11-19% lose their arms or legs, become deaf, have problems with their nervous systems, become mentally retarded, suffer seizures or stroke.
  • College freshman who live in dormitories and teenagers 15-19 have an increased risk of getting meningococcal disease.
  • Meningococcal infections can be treated with antibiotics.  Still, about 1 out of 10 people who get this disease dies from it, and many others are affected for life.  
  • This is why preventing the disease through use of meningococcal vaccine is important.
There are two kinds of meningococcal vaccine in the U.S.:
  1. Meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4) was licensed in 2005. Preferred vaccine for people 2-55 years of age.
  2. Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine (MPSV4) has been available since 1970s.  It is the only vaccine in people older than 55.
Both vaccines can prevent 4 types of meningococcal disease.  The vaccines cannot prevent all types of the disease, but both vaccines work well and protect about 90% of people who get them.

  • A dose of MCV4 is recommended for adolescents 11-18 years of age.
  • College freshman living in dormitories.
  • U.S. military recruits.
  • Anyone who has a damaged spleen or whose spleen has been removed.
  • Anyone who has an immune system disorder.
  • People who might have been exposed to meningitis during an outbreak.
Mild/Moderate Problems
  • Redness or pain at injection site (as many as half)
  • Fever (rare)
  • Serious allergic reactions within a few minutes to a few hours of the shot (very rare).
  • A serious nervous system disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) (rare).

  • Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S.
  • More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.
  • About 20 million people are currently infected.
  • Most HPV infections don't cause any symptoms, and go away on their own.
  • HPV can cause cervical cancer in women.
  • Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women.
  • In the U.S., about 10,000 women get cervical cancer and about 4,000 are expected to die from it.
  • HPV is associated with less common cancers, such as vaginal and vulva cancer in women and other types of cancer in men and women.
  • It can also cause genital warts and warts in the throat.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended for girls 11 or 12 years of age. It may be given to girls starting ate age 9. It is recommended at this young age, because it should be given before their first sexual contact.
  • Once a girl has been infected with the virus, the vaccine might not work as well or might not work at all.
  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of the HPV vaccine or anyone who is pregnant SHOULD NOT get the HPV vaccine.
Mild/Moderate Problems:
  • Pain in the injection site (about 9 in 10)
  • Redness and swelling at the injection site (about 1 in 2)
  • Fever of 99.5 or higher (about 1 in 8)
  • Headache or fatigue (about 1 in 2)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain (about 1 in 4)
  • Muscle or joint pain (up to 1 in 2)
  • Fainting
This post is getting a little long, so I'm going to condense these next few immunizations that tween/teens may need: 

HEPATITIS B VACCINE - Hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects the liver.  It is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). All children should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and should have completed the vaccine series by 6-18 months.  It is recommended that children and adolescents that  did not get the vaccine when they were younger should be vaccinated.  Hepatitis B can cause:
  • Loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • pain in muscles, joints, and stomach
  • diarrhea and vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Liver cancer
  • Death
PNEUMOCOCCAL POLYSACCHARIDE VACCINE - Pneumococcal disease is caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria.  It is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable illnesses and death in the U.S.  Pneumococcal disease can cause:
  • Blood infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Death
This vaccine is recommended for anyone 2 - 64 years of age who has long-term health problems, such as:
  • heart disease
  • lung disease
  • sickle cell disease
  • diabetes
  • cirrhosis
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymphoma or leukemia
  • Kidney failure
  • multiple myeloma
  • HIV or AIDS
  • damaged spleen
  • organ transplant
  • receiving certain cancer drugs
  • radiation.
INFLUENZA VACCINE is a contagious disease and is spread by coughing, sneezing or nasal secretions.  The influenza vaccine is recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and certain health conditions, such as:
  • Heart, lung or kidney disease
  • a weakened immune system
(A severe allergic reaction could occur after any vaccine.  They are estimated to occur less than once in a million doses.)

In my opinion (and again, I am not an expert):
  • All tweens/teens (and adults) should get a tetanus boost every ten years. 
  • No one should hesitate to get their tween/teen the meningococcal vaccine.  Meningitis is a very serious disease.  There are several strands, but acute bacterial meningitis is the most common.   Approximately 80 percent of all cases are acute bacterial meningitis. Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening. The infection can cause the tissues around the brain to swell. This in turn interferes with blood flow and can result in paralysis or even stroke. The onset of symptoms is fast, within 24 hours. If allowed to progress, you can die from bacterial meningitis.  
  • When it comes to the HPV, personally, if you know your tween/teen is not sexually active, I wouldn't get this vaccine (and I'm sure there are a lot of people who would disagree with me).
  • As far as the other vaccines, influenza and pneumonia, if your tween/teen has a serious, life threatening illness or weaken immune system, they definitely need these two vaccines.  The influenza vaccine is given yearly, but the pneumococcal vaccine is a one time shot.

How important are immunizations to you and your family?

*Picture by The Bridge Medical Service, LLC


OMG! Yummy said...

Thanks for the recap. Saying hi from SITs. I am comfortable with immunizations and think they are important. I am slightly on the fence about the teen girl HPV one but think we will do it. I think the risks of most diseases far outweigh the risks of the immunizations. I was comforted to find out that the autism link was a scam - particularly since my son has Aspergers.

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

I think immunizations are Extremely Important. But I agree with you about the HPV vaccine. The virus in itself isn't life threatening and can be prevented with awareness and good education. My girls were already into their teens when it came out and we chose to skip it.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the info!! I'm not quite there yet, but it's definitely good info to have!! Thanks for stopping by the Sit & Relax weekend hop! Have a wonderful Mother's Day!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I have heard the shot for shingles is great when you get into your sixties. I am not there yet, but I plan to get it.

Thanks your for your kinds words celebrating my SITS day!

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Good info. My nephew's girlfriend died from meningitis. She died in less than 24 hours. Very shocking. Thanks for the info and thanks for visiting me on my SITS day.

Melanie said...

Found you at vB. Thanks for the recap!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. I think I am holding off on the HPV but not100% sure. Found you on Voice Boks

Erin said...

Laura, what a GREAT post! I wish I had had someone remind me of all of these things when my kids were little. This is going to be a big help to lots of parents!
Love it!

Carrie said...

What an informative and useful post! I do not have children yet, but I am in my early 20's so alot of these vaccines have information applicable to myself!

michelle said...

Great info. I have an 11 yr old that I had no idea could benefit from some of these shots. Jotted them down and am taking them with me to his well check up next wk.

Dominique@Dominique's Desk said...

I gave all my kids these shots when they were babies as it is mandatory here where we live. They do have follow up shots in elementary school but it will be done in school so I don't need to worry about it.

Wendy said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I have 2 teens and just can't believe that it is only a month before they go back to school. Will definitely be calling our dr to see what they need to have before going back.

Courtney G said...

I'm always very cautious about vaccines, but it really is a very personal choice. I always wonder if small pox will come again mutated, just because they cut that one off for my age and younger. It's all so very complicated, isn't it. Really informative post!

Carla Karam said...

Laura... thank you so much for the updates and information. I find it amazing that when I was a child I may have only needed 5 to 7 vaccines... my sons were born in 87 and 91 and probably received twice as many.... however my baby girl born in 06 already has had as many as my sons and isn't done. I am definitely picking and choosing from here on out. This is getting out of hand. Blessings and thank you for sharing.

Alicia Smith-Turley said...

What a great blog! So much great information. Thank you for sharing with SITS!
I will definitely be following your blog.
Thank you!

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