Why immunizations are important for the entire family

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? This has been a hot topic for years, debated by doctors, celebrities, politicians, parents and even kids. 

The proven, science-based fact is this: immunizations are crucial to your health.

Immunizations protect our children from many of the infectious diseases that killed or disabled children just a few decades ago. They also help the vaccinated individual protect others who are unvaccinated, such as babies, and protect those who need protection from infectious disease such as pregnant women, cancer patients and immunocompromised individuals. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are very safe and only given to children after careful review by scientists, doctors and healthcare professionals.

But what about immunizations for adults, you ask? They are just as important.

Being a grown up is an endless cycle of multitasking. Sometimes we forget to add water to the coffee machine or show up to the office with our shirts inside out. So, it’s not surprising that some of us may forget or just skip our own vaccinations. 

Every year, thousands of adults become ill from the flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases. Some vaccines can wear off over time, while others are recommended for certain age groups. 

Organizations like the CDC and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend the following immunizations:

  • Flu: yearly, all adults
  • Tdap: every 10 years, all adults
  • HPV: single dose, adults under age 26
  • Shingles: single dose, adults over 50
  • Pneumococcal: two doses, adults over 65

The vaccine is one of the most important medical discoveries of our lifetime and one of the greatest public health success stories. Vaccines have greatly reduced the infection rate of diseases like measles, diphtheria whooping cough, and they will continue to be our most important tool in the fight against preventable disease in the future.

For more information, visit the CDC Vaccines and Immunizations website.

Your family health history: knowing is half the battle

In 2013, Angelina Jolie published a powerful op-ed in The New York Times about how her mother’s battle with ovarian cancer prompted Jolie to test herself for the BRCA1 gene, which greatly increases a person’s risk of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The results of the test were positive, so she elected to undergo a mastectomy – a decision which couldn’t have been easy, but ultimately reduced her risk of breast cancer from 85 percent to less than five percent.

This is a perfect demonstration of what a powerful tool your family health history can be.

Knowing and keeping track of your family history will help you create a complete picture of the factors that might impact your health – and sharing this important background can help your doctor determine whether you, and future generations of your family, may be at risk for certain diseases. 

Information like major medical conditions, age of onset and cause of death can make all the difference in planning your own health path. Having this information for immediate family is a huge help, but it’s important to gather as much information as possible from second- and third-degree relatives, too. This can include:

·     Grandparents

·     Aunts and uncles

·     Nieces, nephews and grandchildren

·     First cousins

Armed with this information, your doctors can recommend lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, or, as in Angelina Jolie’s case, prescribe early screening tests. 

To help compile your family history, the CDC suggests you ask a lot of questions and look at medical records and death certificates. It is also beneficial to discuss health information at family gatherings, especially when several generations converge. 

Knowing your family health history can help you collaborate with your doctors and take control of your well-being. So, get the family together and ask those questions! 

With Nano, you can add your history details to your Nano profile, share them directly with your doctors and receive personalized recommendations to maximize your unique wellness. To get on the Nano app waitlist, visit mynano.com