(NAPSI)—While most Americans know they need an annual flu shot, not everyone is aware of all the other viruses easily preventable by immunization. Here are some answers.
One problem is that the United States is experiencing its most severe whooping cough outbreak in 50 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there have been at least 10,000 more cases than last year. Yet a recent Walgreens survey suggests that fewer than one-third of Americans have been immunized against it, and just under half of respondents say they would be likely to adhere to the CDC’s recommendation for the vaccine. Another is that the aging baby boomer population means thousands of U.S. adults are at greater risk for shingles every day. Shingles, a painful rash on the body caused by a long-dormant chicken pox virus, will affect one in three Americans at some point, the CDC says.
The only proactive, preventive measure you can take to help prevent shingles, along with maintaining a strong immune system, is the Zostavax vaccine. Despite the growing risks associated with these viruses, more than 40 percent of American adults surveyed don’t know what immunizations are currently recommended and which ones they may need, according to the Walgreens Immunization Index. This general lack of awareness may also mean that millions of Americans are left unprotected.
To protect yourself and those around you, have a regular dialogue with your doctor, pharmacist or other clinician and keep immunizations up to date.
Vaccinations Made Easier
To make it more convenient for adults to learn which immunizations they may be due or even overdue for, Walgreens offers an immunization assessment, free with every flu shot at its pharmacies. The assessment is one of the ways the pharmacy chain is working to educate adults about immunizations, CDC recommendations and the latest, most important health information.
What you can do to help your pharmacist provide you with the best care:
- Don’t wait until the last minute. When your kids encounter the flu, it may be too late to protect yourself and your family. It takes two weeks to build up full immunity after getting a flu shot, so don’t wait-shots now protect you throughout the season.
- Have your insurance card or information. Flu shots are covered by Medicare Part B as well as many insurance plans-often with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient and available to be billed directly to your provider.
- Check the schedule. There are helpful resources such as the CDC at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/ that list recommended vaccines. You can also ask your doctor or get a free immunizations assessment through Walgreens, which offers flu shots and other immunizations daily.
Learn more about vaccines from your doctor and online at www.walgreens.com/flu.