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Adolescent Vaccine-preventable Diseases

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The Immunizaton Action Coaltion website offers vaccine information statements with more detailed information about these vaccine-preventable diseases.

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Hepatitis A (Hep A): This disease is different from hepatitis B. Hepatitis A can be spread by eating contaminated foods that are not properly washed or cooked, or from inadequate hand washing after using the toilet or changing a diaper. It's recommended that all teens get two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine, if they did not receive this vaccine as a child. If you ever plan on traveling outside of the United States, you could be at higher risk of contracting hepatitis A. Talk to your health care provider about other vaccines that are recommended if you will be traveling internationally.

Hepatitis B (HepB): In the United States, most cases of hepatitis B occur in teens and young adults. One in twenty Americans will contract hepatitis B at some point in their lives. Hepatitis B can cause serious liver damage and death. This disease can be prevented with three shots, given over 4-6 months. If you are between 11 and 19, you need three doses of hepatitis B vaccine if you have not already received them.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Three doses of HPV vaccine are recommended for all adolescents for protection against the virus that causes most cases of cervical and anal cancer. There are two different HPV vaccines, and one of these vaccines also protects against genital warts. HPV vaccine is most effective when given before a person becomes sexually active. This vaccine can be given starting at 9 years of age.

Influenza (Flu): Do you want to help protect your friends, your family, and yourself from getting the flu Get a flu vaccine! Most teens can get the flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray instead of a shot. Influenza immunization is recommended every year for all adolescents.

Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR): The MMR shot can prevent all three of these diseases. Measles is especially contagious and can spread quickly in places like schools. Two doses of measles-containing vaccine are required for school and college in Oregon and many other states.

Meningococcal disease: All adolescents should receive two doses of meningococcal vaccine. This vaccine protects against four of the five most common types of meningococcal bacteria, which can cause serious bacterial infections of the blood or fluid around the brain and spinal cord, and meningitis.

Pneumococcal disease (pneumonia shot): Do you have a chronic health condition Check with your health care provider to see if you are one of the 340,000 Americans between ages 2-18 who should receive a pneumococcal shot.

Polio: Polio used to be common in this country. The vaccine helped eliminate this disease from the United States. But polio is still found in several countries around the world, and could spread again in the U.S. if people aren't vaccinated. Check with your parent or health care provider to see if you received all of your polio doses as a child.

Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap booster): This is another shot that can knock out three diseases at once. In addition to protecting against tetanus and diphtheria, Tdap protects against pertussis (whooping cough). There have been several pertussis outbreaks in Oregon teenagers in the past few years, because pertussis immunity wears off over time. Tdap helps prevents pertussis in teens, and helps prevent the spread of this disease to infants, who can be hospitalized or die from this disease. All adolescents need a booster dose of Tdap between the ages of 11-12 years. After that, a Td booster is needed every 10 years. Ask your parent or grandparent; they may be due for their Tdap shot, too!

Varicella (chickenpox): If you have never had chickenpox or have not been vaccinated, you should be vaccinated now. Although chickenpox is usually considered a mild childhood disease, it is more dangerous when contracted as a teen or adult and can cause serious complications. Although many teens received one dose of varicella before starting school, it is important that all teens have two doses if they never had chickenpox disease. Check with your parent or health care provider to make sure you received the second shot.

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