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Important Vaccines for Teen Girls
Ever gone in for a sports physical, yearly checkup or a doctor’s visit before college and been bombarded by your pediatrician requesting you to receive what seems like a dozen unnecessary shots? Ever had to make multiple trips to your doctor’s office to get second and third doses of a shot that made you feel a little sick afterword’s? It is enough to make someone refuse these recommended vaccines all together. Don’t! The immunization process may seem very confusing and frustrating when you do not really know what the benefits are but believe it or not these vaccinations are preventing you and your friends from uncomfortable and long lasting sicknesses and even saving your life.
One vaccine teens are commonly recommended by their pediatrician to get is the H1N1 shot, commonly known as the flu shot. You may think you don’t need it because you’re strong and healthy and can tough out a couple of days of the flu, but you should think twice before making this decision. Even if you have not gotten the flu in the past you are still susceptible to getting it. The flu is very easy to pick up by being near someone with the flu or touching an infected door knob, counter, or floor and then touching your face. The flu shot actually prevents against three types of flu viruses that can last up to 10 days, be very uncomfortable, and have no available medication (Tucker 1). Getting the flu shot is a personal decision but the choice to decline it will make young infants and people with egg allergies (flu shots have egg in them) more vulnerable to getting sick. There are rarely any side effects to the shot other than a tender arm for a couple hours. It may seem annoying but the quick prick of a needle could save you from causing yourself or a friend a week of uncomfortable illness.
A second shot you may have questions about is the HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccine. This vaccine is recommended for girls 13-26 and prevents against cervical cancer. Each year in the United States, about 19,000 cancers caused by HPV occur in women and cervical cancer is the most common (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1). HPV is a sexually transmitted disease so you may be thinking you do not need the shot. Believe it or not it is most effective to get a couple years before you become sexually active. Females who are already sexually active will still benefit from the vaccine but may get less benefit. Getting the vaccine at a younger age has no disadvantage because it last several years (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 2). Even though this shot is only recommended by local pediatricians it is extremely important to get because the shot prevents against something as serious as cancer and is so common in young women.
Another vaccine your doctor might mention you get is the meningococcal vaccine or meningitis. You may have heard of this vaccine or gotten a dose of it when you were younger. Another dose is required at 16 and can extend prevention into college years. The meningitis vaccine protects against a bacteria that can cause bloodstream infections and harm the inner lining of the brain (College of Philadelphia 1). Because this vaccine involves protection of the brain, one of the most important organs in your body, it is a very effective and important immunization to receive. The tetanus shot is another vaccine that is vital to your health and you should have in your teen years and before entering college. Tetanus results from infections in dirty wounds or cuts and between 10% and 25% of tetanus cases result in death (College of Philadelphia 1).
Due to the fact that vaccines are estimated to prevent 14 million infections and save 33,000 lives each year (Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1). Receiving not only the required but the recommended vaccines as a teen girl is critical to your overall health and being educated on the benefits of recommended shots can help the process seem easier and worthwhile. Hopefully this article gave you an informative perspective on different vaccines and can persuade you to prevent you and those around you from the discomfort and nuisance of these infectious diseases.
Adults’ flu shot can protect children, too. The News Tribune, 29 Dec. 2012. Web.
6 Jan. 2013. <http://blog.thenewstribune.com/opinion/2012/12/29/
Vaccines for Teenagers. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 2013. Web. 15
May 2013. <http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/articles/
What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations? Center for Disease Control and
Prevention, 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/