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    Vaccines: A Booster to Worker Health and Productivity

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    Vaccines: A Booster to Worker Health and Productivity

    Post by Admin on Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:43 pm

    August is National Immunization Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the purpose of this event is to make sure that people of all ages understand the importance of vaccinations to prevent disease. By keeping up to date on recommended immunizations, your employees and their families can protect against a whole host of serious and even life-threatening infections.

    The upshot, says our Safety Training Tips editor, is an increase in worker health and productivity, and a boost to your company's bottom line.
    Vaccines aren't just kid stuff

    Because children are particularly vulnerable to infection, most vaccines are given during the first 6 years of life. But other immunizations are recommended during adolescent or adult years, and for certain vaccines, booster shots are recommended throughout life. The CDC says that far too many adults become ill, are disabled, or die each year from diseases that could easily have been prevented by vaccines. Most workers, from young adults to senior citizens, can benefit from immunizations. To increase awareness of vaccine-preventable adult diseases, share this list with your employees:

    --Diphtheria. Everyone needs protection from diphtheria. Anyone who has not had a booster shot in 10 years or more-or never had the initial three-shot series-should be vaccinated.

    --Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib). Most people over 5 years old do not need Hib vaccine. However, employees should talk to their doctor about getting the vaccine if they have sickle cell anemia, or if their immune system has been weakened by HIV, treatment with drugs such as long-term steroids, cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs, a bone marrow or organ transplant, or a damaged spleen or no spleen.

    --Hepatitis A. Most people do not need this vaccination. Check with your doctor.

    --Hepatitis B (HBV). This vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers and people who have sex with or live in the same house as a person with HBV. It's also recommended for those with HIV or chronic liver disease, people who have had one or more sexual partners during the last 6 months, and men who have sex with other men. OSHA recommends this vaccination for any workers who have occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

    --Herpes Zoster (shingles). A single dose of Herpes Zoster vaccine is recommended for people 60 years of age or older.

    --Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccinations can prevent cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is recommended for 11- to 12-year-old girls, and can be given to girls as young as 9. The vaccine is also recommended for 13- to 26-year-old girls/women who have not yet received or completed the vaccine series. Research on the vaccine's safety and effectiveness for women over the age of 26 has only recently begun, and to date the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not licensed the vaccine for older women.

    --Influenza (flu). This vaccine helps prevent flu in all adults, but vaccination is especially recommended for healthcare workers, women who will be pregnant during flu season, people 50 years of age or older, and people with heart or lung disease (including asthma).

    --Measles. People born after 1957, women who may become pregnant, and some other people may need to be vaccinated. Check with your doctor, who will perform a blood test to check for immunity.

    --Meningococcal (meningitis). Most people don't need the vaccination, but check with your doctor to make sure.

    --Mumps. Recommendations are similar to those for measles vaccinations. Check with your doctor.

    --Pertussis (whooping cough). Healthcare workers and others who have never been vaccinated may need immunization. Check with your doctor.

    --Pneumococcus (pneumonia). This bacterial infection is one of the most common causes of death in America from a vaccine-preventable disease. People over the age of 65 and those with serious health problems should be vaccinated.

    --Polio. Polio is rare in the United States, and immunization for adults is generally not required. But polio still exists in other countries. If you are traveling, especially in Third World countries, check with your doctor.

    --Rubella (German measles). Recommendations are similar to those for regular measles and mumps vaccinations. Check with your doctor.

    --Tetanus (lockjaw). Everyone needs protection from tetanus. Employees who have not had a booster shot in 10 years or more should get a tetanus shot. Those who never had the initial childhood tetanus vaccines should receive the series of three tetanus shots now.

    --Varicella (chickenpox). Vaccination is recommended for adults who never had chicken pox, women of childbearing age, healthcare workers, college students, and those who work with young children.

    NOTE: This list provides only an overview of immunization requirements. Recommend that employees talk to their doctor about vaccinations for themselves and their families.

    Why It Matters...

    --Vaccines offer safe and effective protection from many infectious diseases.
    --Routine vaccinations have eradicated many terrible diseases dreaded in earlier centuries.
    --Despite public health efforts, tens of thousands of Americans still die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
    --Many adults (perhaps some of your employees) think vaccinations are just for kids.
    --By getting recommended immunizations and keeping them up to date, your employees can help protect their own and their family's health, as well as that of their co-worker

    ADMIN



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