August is National Immunization Awareness Month
08.16.2017 | By Jeannie Peng Mansyur
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August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), a time when families scramble to book appointments to their doctors for last-minute immunizations to meet school requirements.
It’s also a time to remember the other types of vaccines and immunizations available to prevent serious, sometimes deadly, diseases. Dr. Alexander Okwonna, pharmacist and San Jacinto College dean of natural and health sciences, said some of the more common vaccines and immunizations include influenza; hepatitis A and hepatitis B; meningitis; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap); and pneumococcal. He offered additional information on each of these vaccines.
The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses can be detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.
Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines are recommended for College students, if not already received. The hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses are two members of a family of closely related diseases. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, and it can be serious or even life threatening.
The meningitis vaccine is recommended for all seventh-graders and first-time students entering college. Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. Most people recover from meningitis. However, permanent disabilities can result from the infection.
San Jacinto College has partnered with the Harris County Public Health Department and VaxANation to offer free and reduced cost meningitis vaccinations. For a schedule of times, dates and locations, visit http://www.sanjac.edu/san-jacinto-college/meningitis-information.
Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap)
It is recommended that everyone receive a Tdap booster vaccine every 10 years. Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria, which can invade the body and produce a toxin that causes painful muscle contractions, commonly known as “lockjaw." Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is caused by bacteria that leads to a highly contagious respiratory disease. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old. Diphtheria is an infection caused by bacteria that can lead to a thick covering in the back of the throat. This may lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and even death.
The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for all adults 65 years or older, for people ages 2 through 64 who may be at increased risk for disease due to certain medical conditions, and adults 19 through 64 years old who smoke cigarettes. The pneumococcal disease is caused by bacteria and can result in infections of the ears and sinuses, and pneumonia and bloodstream infections.
Students who enter the San Jacinto College pharmacy technician program are required to have vaccines for Tdap; measles, mumps and rubella; hepatitis B; varicella; flu; and a TB skin test. For more information about the San Jacinto College pharmacy technician program, visit http://www.sanjac.edu/career/pharmacy-technician.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Rising Star Award recipient and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers eight areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to four-year colleges or universities or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.