Most parents understand how important vaccines are during early childhood, but many do not know how important adolescent immunizations are in preventing infectious diseases. Teens can be an important bridge for diseases spread between the elderly and very young. Unfortunately, because teens are so healthy, they don't go to the doctor for preventive care. Physicians may also forget to check their immunization records.
All adolescents should have their immunizations reviewed when they are 11 or 12 years old (or as soon as possible). Adolescents who have not received the following vaccinations should get them:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B (HBV)
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
There are several new vaccines that every adolescent should receive, including one for meningitis (MCV4) and (for females) HPV (Gardasil). Meningococcal disease (meningitis) strikes most often in very young children and teens. It appears with flu-like symptoms, but advances rapidly and can end in death or leave the victim with hearing loss and cognitive defects. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a sexually transmitted disease that can result in genital warts, cancers of the reproductive tract, and anal cancer.
Finally, Adolescents should get a flu shot each year. Adolescents are more than three times more likely to get the flu than adults and more than half of the flu cases each year are in people less than 19 years of age.
Disclaimer: This content is the opinion of the author(s) and not necessarily that of your health care provider, the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation or Sutter Health. This information is provided for your general information and education only, and should not be relied upon for personal diagnosis or treatment. If you feel like you have an illness or need emotional support for a problem, please contact you personal physician NOW.
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