Adult Immunizations by Dr. Margaret Umah, M.D.- Family Physician

Dr. MArgaret Umah, M.D.

Vaccination programs for children have a proven track record. Few of us can remember epidemics of polio, measles, and other often fatal diseases. The overwhelming majority of young children receive the CDC recommended immunizations. However, the adult population often remains under-immunized. This may occur because many adults do not know that they would benefit from vaccines. While the adult vaccine schedule does not have as many immunizations as the child schedule, there are several vaccines that adults can benefit from to optimize their health.

The influenza (“flu shot”)vaccine is recommended for all adults, especially those with chronic disease (heart disease, diabetes), and pregnant women after the first trimester. The flu can lead to missed days of work or school, hospitalization, and in rare cases, death. Please discuss with your doctor if you have an allergy to eggs, as most vaccines have some small amounts of egg in the vaccine. Since the vaccine does not contain any live, or active virus, you CANNOT get the flu from the vaccine. If you get sick afterwards, it may be either an unrelated common cold, or you were already exposed to the flu virus before receiving the vaccine.

Every 10 years, it is recommended that adults receive a tetanus booster (Td vaccine) to prevent lockjaw. Because of recent outbreaks of whooping cough (a prolonged cough illness that can be fatal to infants), we now recommend that at least one tetanus booster be the form that also has a vaccine against whooping cough, or pertussis (Tdap vaccine). This Tdap booster is especially important for people who are around infants, such as young parents, grandparents, daycare teachers, and healthcare workers.

The shingles vaccine should be given to patients over 50 who have a history of chicken pox. It acts to decrease the chance of getting shingles, and may decrease the severity of a shingles outbreak if one still occurs.

Hepatitis is a contagious infection of the liver. It can lead to liver failure, and in extreme cases, liver cancer and death. Adults that are at risk for getting hepatitis include those who are in the healthcare industry, those in close contact with other with hepatitis, food preparers, homosexual men, and those who use intravenous drugs. Recent recommendations also encourage immunization of those with weakened immune systems, such as diabetics and people with heart disease.

There are other vaccines that may be indicated based on your personal medical history and profile. Please discuss with your primary care physician for a complete recommendation of immunizations needed.

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IT’S THE SEASON TO AVOID ANOTHER UNNEEDED ANTIBIOTIC-By Karen Rakers, M.D., Family Physician

‘Tis the season for cough, congestion and runny noses. Many people will develop symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (URI) this fall or winter, especially around the holidays.
Of course, no one wants to be sick, so they will request antibiotics from their physician thinking they will get better quicker. But, will the antibiotics really help and is it always a good idea to take them?

Medical research shows that, in most instances, antibiotics are not indicated for acute URIs. Most URIs including sinusitis and bronchitis, are caused by viruses, which do not respond to antibiotics at all. These infections tend to run their course in about a week, so generally patients should treat their symptoms with cough suppressants, decongestants, and expectorants and wait to see if their symptoms are resolved. Even the presence of yellow or green nasal discharge does not always mean there is a bacterial infection, which is a common misconception.

Circumstances that usually warrant antibiotic use include:
*Sinusitis symptoms that have persisted for at least 10 days.
*Tonsillitis that is either clinically consistent with strep throat or has a positive rapid strep test.
*Symptomatic acute otitis media (middle ear infection).
*Bronchitis, only if the suspected cause is pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
*Influenza infection, which usually causes acute onset of fever and muscle aches, should be treated with antiviral medication if initiated within 48 hours of symptom onset.

Antibiotics are not indicated for cases of the common cold or laryngitis.

Any time someone takes antibiotics, the bacteria causing the illness are killed, but so are the good bacteria that are needed to keep us healthy.

This is a common cause of vaginal yeast infection in women, but can cause much more serious infections as well.

Allergic reactions to antibiotics are common and can be as serious as anaphylaxis (an acute allergic reaction to an antigen, like a bee sting), and in general, overuse of antibiotics leads to resistance. If your doctor does decide that you would benefit from a course of antibiotics, make sure you follow the directions closely and take the entire course of medication.

So, the next time you get the sniffles, cough or congestion, resist the urge to request an antibiotic right away.
Your doctor can make suggestions on how to feel better with a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications and you can avoid taking another unnecessary antibiotic.

Hello from OakBend Medical Group

We welcome you to our new blog page. We hope that you will continue to visit and read our great articles that are to come. We will be providing an array of topics that will be interesting and educational to all. We aim at educating and getting to know all our blogging friends. Stay tuned to a great year of learning and getting to know one another! Cheers to 2013.