What shots will I get while at my checkup?
The HPV vaccine helps prevent the most common STD in the United States, human papillomavirus. This vaccination (or shot) is approved for both males and females to prevent HPV. The HPV vaccine is a series of three injections, with a few months between each injection. If administered before contracting the virus, this vaccine helps prevent cervical and vaginal cancer in females and anal cancer and genital warts in both males and females.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, can cause muscle tightening and stiffness all over your body. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria introduced into your body through a puncture wound in your skin. Often times, this puncture or scratch in your skin, then becomes infected. If you have experienced a cut or wound inflicted by a dirty metal object, you may need an additional dose of tetanus to help protect you from any infection. It is important to know that this dose should be administered within 72 hours of experiencing this injury. 1 out of every 5 people who are infected with tetanus will die.
Diphtheria causes a thick coating to form in the back of your throat sometimes causing breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death. Diphtheria is spread from person to person through sputum from coughing or sneezing.
Pertussis or “whooping cough” causes the person to develop a severe cough. This cough can lead to complications like pneumonia or fractured ribs if it becomes so severe. Pertussis is spread from person to person through sputum from coughing or sneezing.
By the time you are 5 years old, you have completed your tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis series. At age 11 or 12 you will receive a booster dose of the Tdap vaccine to “boost” your immunity against these diseases.
The meningococcal vaccine is also referred to as “meningitis vaccine” or “MCV4”. Routinely, you will receive your first dose of MCV4 at the age of 11 or 12 and then a booster dose between the ages of 16-22. This vaccine protects you against 4 types of bacterial meningitis.
Meningitis is a bacterial infection affecting the covering of the brain and spinal cord. This disease is treated with antibiotics, even then, about 10-15% of infected people die. Even after surviving meningitis, 11-19% of people lose limbs, develop nervous system problems, suffer seizures, and/or become deaf. Meningitis is most common in infants less than one year of age and adolescents aged 16-21 years. Bacterial meningitis can be spread by infected sputum from the throat by coughing, sneezing, or kissing.
This vaccine protects you against a liver disease known as Hepatitis A. This disease can cause flu-like symptoms, yellowing of the skin/eyes (jaundice), and stomach pain with diarrhea. Hepatitis A can be spread through close personal contact and ingesting infected water or food. To complete this vaccination series, you must receive 2 doses of Hepatitis A. It is highly recommended that you receive this vaccine especially if you travel out of the country.
The influenza vaccine now comes in two forms; an injection and a nasal spray. The flu shot contains the inactivated influenza virus and the flu mist contains a weakened live virus. Both of these vaccines cause your body to create antibodies that fight against certain flu viruses. Although these vaccines are very effective, they are not 100% in protecting against the flu.
Sometimes after receiving a flu shot, your arm may be sore for a few days. This is nothing compared to being sick with the flu for 2-3 weeks!
It is important for you to get a flu vaccine each year because the protection that you get from one flu vaccine only lasts for that specific flu season. Also, it is possible for new strains of flu to develop and can be different each flu season.