DHEC: Before You Head Back to School, Head to Doctor’s Office

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and here in the Palmetto State, next week, August 14 through 21, is South Carolina Immunization Week.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is using the month to remind parents – who are getting their kids ready to head back to school – to make sure their little ones are up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Even so, DHEC says babies and young children aren’t the only ones that need immunizations. The agency says preteens and teens need immunizations to protect against whooping cough, meningitis and certain types of cancers, and adults and seniors need immunizations to protect against serious diseases such as influenza (flu), whooping cough, shingles, and pneumonia.

“There is a misconception among many adults that vaccines are just for children,” said Lilian Peake MD, MPH, DHEC Director of Public Health. “The truth is that you never outgrow the need for immunizations.”

Immunizations are important, Dr. Peake said, because they not only protect the person being immunized, but they also help prevent the spread of diseases to others. This is especially important to those who are at a higher risk for getting some diseases or having a more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults and those with health conditions.

The SC Immunization Coalition and its partners are urging all South Carolinians to contact their health care provider, health department or pharmacist to find out which vaccines are right for you and your family.

For more information on what immunizations you and your family need, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.