Saturday, April 25, 2020

Adult vaccinations

Just because you’re grown doesn’t mean you’re immune from certain illnesses. Vaccinations are important in staying healthy as an adult. Adults aren’t good about getting vaccinated. Many adults don’t know they need adult vaccines.

Path to improved well being

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for adults:

Flu: All adults should receive a flu shot once a year. It can reduce the risk of flu by up to 50%. How well it works depends on the type of flu that is spreading. It takes about two weeks after vaccination to protect against flu. The best time to get vaccinated is early fall. This is before flu season begins. The CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. While getting the vaccine earlier is better, getting it later is still effective. Getting the vaccine even in January or February can still provide some protection.

Tdap: This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These bacterial infections can be prevented with a vaccine. It’s typically given at age 11 or 12. If you did not receive it as a child, you need it as an adult.

Td: This vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria. These are bacterial infections. If you got the vaccination as a child, you need a booster dose every 10 years. If you haven’t had one for a while, get one if you’ve experienced a severe or dirty wound or burn. Everyone needs a Td booster dose every 10 years.

Zoster: This vaccination protects against the shingles virus. The shingles virus causes a painful rash. It appears as blisters that develop on one side of the body. It often appears on the face or torso. It can result in long-term pain even after the rash goes away. Older people are most at risk for the virus. The CDC recommends adults 50 years and older get two doses of the vaccine. The doses should be 2 to 6 months apart.

Pneumococcal Conjugate: This vaccine protects against pneumonia. Pneumonia is a serious bacterial infection. It spreads from close, person-to-person contact. The infection is common in adults. Beyond children, adults 65 and older are urged to get the vaccine. It also may be recommended by your doctor that you get this vaccine if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or COPD.

HPV: This vaccine protects against human papillomavirus (HPV). People who are sexually active are at risk of HPV. The vaccine is given to pre-teens. However, adults can benefit from getting it later in life. The vaccine requires three doses. If you only got one or two doses as a child, you need still need the final dose.

Meningococcal: This vaccine protects against meningococcal disease. This bacterial infection affects the lining of the brain, spinal cord, and bloodstream. It is spread through coughs, kissing, and living in close quarters. Your doctor will tell you if you should receive this vaccine.

MMR: This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Adults born after 1957 who never got the vaccine should get it.

Varicella: This vaccine protects against chickenpox. Adults who have not had chickenpox or the vaccine should get it.

Hepatitis A: This is a highly contagious liver infection. It is spread through contact with feces (poop). Adults who are at risk for the infection should get the vaccine. Risk factors include living or traveling to areas of the world where the infection is common, exposure to childcare centers, and living with someone who has Hep A.

Hepatitis B: This is an infection of the liver. It is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids. Adults exposed to certain risk factors should get the vaccine. Risk factors include jobs that expose you to others with the infection, a diagnosis of diabetes, end-stage kidney disease, chronic liver disease, or drug/sexual behavior that increases risk.

Hib: Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacterial infection. It infects the lining of the brain and causes meningitis. Adults with certain risk factors should get the vaccine. This includes people with a diagnosis of sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, removal of the spleen, bone marrow transplant, or cancer treatment.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cat and Dog Bites

Cat and dog bites are common injuries. A family pet or a stray could bite you. Below are tips to treat and prevent animal bites.
Path to safety

If a cat or dog bites you, you should:
  • Wash the wound gently with soap and water.
  • Apply pressure with a clean towel to the injured area to stop any bleeding.
  • Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
  • Keep the wound elevated above your heart to prevent swelling and infection.

Severe bites may require additional medical attention. Call your doctor if:
  • your bite becomes infected. Symptoms include redness, swelling, warmth, and pus. You also may have a fever.
  • bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of pressure.
  • you think you have a broken bone, nerve damage, or serious injury.
  • you have diabetes or a condition that weakens your immune system. This includes liver or lung disease, cancer, or AIDS.
  • your last tetanus vaccine was more than 5 years ago. If so, you may need a booster shot.
  • you got bit by a wild or stray animal.
  • you got bit by a pet of unknown vaccination status.

Treatment for cat and dog bites varies. It is based on the situation and severity of your injury. Below are some things your doctor may do.
Examine your wound for nerve, tendon, or bone damage.
Check for signs of infection.
Clean your wound with a special solution and remove any damaged tissue.
Use stitches to close your wound. However, open wounds often heal faster and are less likely to get infected.
Prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Give you a tetanus shot if your last vaccine was more than 5 years ago.

Most people who have cat and dog bites do not need a rabies shot. The disease is uncommon in cats and dogs in the United States. However, it is common in wild animals, like raccoons, skunks, bats, and coyotes. If you know the owner of the cat or dog that bit you, ask for their health records. They will show the pet’s vaccination records. It may be a good idea to isolate the pet and monitor it for signs of rabies. If the animal does show signs, a veterinarian will test it for the disease. If positive, you will need to get a series of rabies shots. You’ll get 2 shots right away and 3 more shots over a 14-day period.

If the cat or dog that bit you is a stray, call animal control. They will try to find the animal to test it for rabies. In this situation, your doctor may or may not recommend the rabies shots. If needed, report your bite incident to the proper authority. This could be animal control or the police.

Your doctor may want you to follow up with them. If your wound gets worse or infection starts, call your doctor right away. You may need to see a specialist if your injury is severe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Burns: Preventing Burns in Your Home

Prevent burns by preventing fires and other accidents that cause burns in your home. Fires and burns often happen unexpectedly. However, you can take precautions to help prevent them. Be prepared and know what to do if a fire or accident causes burns in your home.
Path to improved health

Not all burns happen because of fires. Household chemicals, scalding water, and household appliances can also cause burns. Here are some fire and burn prevention and safety tips for your home:

General fire safety
Put smoke alarms in your home. Check them monthly. If they run on batteries, put in new batteries every 6 months.
Think about how you would get out of your home in a fire emergency. Make a family escape plan and have regular fire drills at home. Designate a meeting place outside your home in case there is a fire.
Have a professional electrician check the wiring in your home at least once every 10 years.
Have a professional inspect and clean your chimney and fireplace once a year.
Learn how and when to use a fire extinguisher. Keep one or more in your home.

Preventing different types of fires or burns in your home
Prevent chemical burns by wearing gloves and other protective clothing when you handle chemicals. Store chemicals, including gasoline, out of the reach of children.
To prevent electrical burns, put covers on any electrical outlets that are within a child’s reach. Throw out electrical cords that are frayed or damaged.
Use space heaters carefully. Teach children to stay away from them.
Store matches and lighters in a locked cabinet, away from children.
Never leave candles unattended. Blow them out when you leave the room.
If you smoke, don’t smoke in bed. Get rid of used cigarettes carefully. Fires caused by smoking materials are the leading cause of deaths in house fires.
Before putting a child younger than age 1 into a car seat, touch the seat to see if it is hot. Hot seat-belt straps or buckles can cause second-degree burns on small children. Cover the car seat with a towel when you park in the sun.
Don’t let small children play near the stove or help you cook at the stove.
Don’t wear clothing with long, loose sleeves when you are cooking.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of house fires. Put out a small fire on a stove by sliding a lid over the flames.
Do not use a microwave oven to warm baby bottles. The liquid heats unevenly and can scald your baby’s mouth.
Unplug hot irons (clothing and curling irons). Keep them out of reach of children.

Preventing hot water burns in your home
Test the water temperature before you or your children get into the tub or shower. Don’t let young children touch the faucet handles during a bath.
Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees F, or use the “low-medium” setting. Water that is hotter than this can cause burns in 2 to 3 seconds.
Turn the handles of pots and pans toward the side of the stove, or use the back burners.
Use cool-water humidifiers or vaporizers. If you use hot-steam vaporizers, keep them out of the reach of children.

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