The following is courtesy of the Livingston Nursing Division:
Thousands of adults in the United States each year become ill and some pass away from a disease that they could have been vaccinated against. The Nursing Department wishes to begin the new year of 2013 by sharing the newest information about the need for vaccines beyond the childhood years with our residents.
The first disease is the Shingles (Herpes Zoster) that is caused by the same virus that caused chickenpox and produces an itchy, blistering rash. Shingles can lead to serious secondary bacterial infections and more serious complications that are more common in adults than children. It is spread by coughing, sneezing and breathing infected droplets. People can also get the disease by touching the pox blisters.
The next vaccine preventable disease for adults is Pneumococcal disease, a bacterial infection that can in some serious cases cause a serious illness and severe consequences. The bacteria may be resistant to antibiotics making treatment difficult. Its spread through the air by: sneezing, coughing and breathing infected droplets. People can carry and spread the bacteria without being sick themselves. This disease can be very problematic for adults with respiratory or cardiac illness to recover from.
The last of the vaccine-preventable diseases is Pertussis (whopping cough). This is another bacterial infection of the respiratory tract which causes severe coughing. This coughing makes it difficult to breathe and a “whooping sound” is sometimes heard as the patient struggles to catch their breath. This virus is easily spread through coughing and sneezing which may persist for weeks to months. It is sometimes known as the 100 day disease. Recent studies indicate that protection against pertussis begins to decrease with time. This puts pre-teens, teens and adults at risk. To address this, and help continue the protection, one dose of a booster vaccination (called Tdap, containing tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis is required for all students in grade six or at age eleven. Tdap is also strongly suggested to be administered every 10yrs.for adults. We all know that Tetanus can be spread by a wound to the skin, often a puncture wound, or an animal bite, construction nails or barbed wire, and can cause muscle stiffness, spasms, fever, difficulty breathing, rapid pulse and changes in blood pressure and may take months to recover. This is an important vaccination for all adults.
This year, the Health Department will offer vaccinations for these preventable illnesses every Wednesdays between 10-12 a.m. at the Senior Center, 204 Hillside Avenue. You must call the office for an appointment to schedule your time, or if you have any questions. Call (973) 535-7961 ex 226, 227 or 228. The price for the pneumonia vaccine will be $30, the price for the Tdap vaccine will be $40 and the Shingles is $200. As always, we want you to discuss the vaccines with your physician. The Shingles vaccine requires a prescription from your MD.