August is National Immunization Awareness Month

What if there was something you could do just once a year that could help protect our health?  There is – you can make sure you are up-to-date on vaccines to protect against a number of common diseases, some of which may be even more serious if you have a chronic condition like diabetes, heart disease, or COPD.  

Chronic conditions, even well managed ones, make it harder for your immune system to fight infections, so you may be at risk for more serious complications.  That’s why you should talk to your doctor to make sure you have all the vaccines you need.  

Getting vaccinated is easier than you think.  They are available in your doctors’ office, at your pharmacy, at community health clinics, and local health departments.  Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines.  

What vaccines do you need?  (1) Influenza vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu; (2) Pneumococcal vaccines to protect against pneumonia and other related diseases, and (3) Hepatitis B vaccine series to protect against hepatitis B.  Your healthcare provider might also recommend Tdap vaccine to protect against whooping cough and tetanus or Zoster vaccine to protect against shingles if you are 60 years and older.  

You may also consider other vaccines based on your age, health condition, occupation, and other factors.  The CDC offers a short quiz to help determine which vaccines are recommended for you.