Being responsible for your own health is important.

You already know that keeping yourself healthy includes eating right, getting enough exercise and sleep, and avoiding drugs. But keeping yourself healthy also includes making sure your shots are up-to-date. High school, college, work, travel, and sports can expose you to new risks. Do you know that the protection provided by some of your childhood vaccinations may be wearing off?

You could miss out on life.

In many places, you cannot attend school, go to summer camp, or even work at some jobs if your shots are not up to date.

You could get sick...even end up in the hospital.

You can develop risks for more diseases as you get older. And if you have a medical condition like asthma or diabetes and get sick, you could have serious problems.

How to relax while getting shots.

Bring along your favorite music. Remember to breathe—take slow, deep breaths. Make eye contact with a supportive person. Close your eyes and think of a favorite place or activity. Focus on something in the room, like a poster.

Here is a list of serious diseases that can be easily prevented with vaccination:

Hepatitis B (HepB)
You need a series of doses of hepatitis B vaccine if you have not already received them.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
Check with your healthcare provider to make sure you've had 2 doses of MMR.

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough)(Tdap)
You need a dose of Tdap at age 11–12 years. If you're older and haven't received it yet, you should get a dose of Tdap soon. After that you will need a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster dose every ten years.

Polio (IPV)
If you haven't completed your series of polio vaccine doses and you are not yet 18, you should complete them now.

Varicella (chickenpox)
If you have not been previously vaccinated and have not had chickenpox, you should get vaccinated against this disease. The vaccine is given as a 2-dose series. Any teenager who was vaccinated as a child with only 1 dose should get a second dose now.

Hepatitis A (HepA)
Anyone can get infected with hepatitis A. That is why many teens want to be protected by the vaccine. Some teens, however, have an even greater chance of getting the disease. These risk factors include traveling outside the United States*, babysitting or having household contact with a child who was adopted from a foreign country within the last 60 days, being a male who has sex with other males, using illegal drugs, or having a clotting factor disorder or chronic liver disease. Talk to your healthcare provider about this 2-dose series of shots.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
All adolescent girls should get a series of 3 doses of HPV vaccine. One brand, Gardasil, prevents both cervical cancer and genital warts. Another brand of HPV vaccine, Cervarix, prevents cervical cancer. Adolescent boys, too, can get the Gardasil brand of the HPV vaccine to prevent genital warts.

Every person, beginning at age 6 months and continuing throughout their lifetime, should receive annual vaccination against influenza every fall or winter. Vaccination is the most effective step you can take to be protected from this serious disease.

Pneumococcal disease (PPSV)
Do you have a chronic health problem? Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should receive a pneumococcal shot.

Meningococcal disease (MCV4)
All teens ages 11–18 years need a dose of MCV4. If you received a dose when you were age 11–15 and are now age 16–18, or about to enter college, you need a booster dose. If you are younger than age 22 and about to enter college or are in college, you need a dose of MCV4 if you have never received it or received it more than 5 years ago. Check with your healthcare provider.

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What you need to know.

I got vaccinated as a kid. Why do I need to do it again?
Protection from your childhood vaccinations may wear off. You are at higher risk for some diseases as you get older. It is important to keep your shots up-to-date.

How can I know if my shots are up to date?
Ask your healthcare provider. If you need a copy of your record to attend school or participate in sports, your healthcare provider can provide one. Ask your healthcare provider to check Nevada WebIZ for up-to-date information.

I am not sure if I have been vaccinated. Is it safe to get an extra dose?
For many vaccines it is OK to get an extra vaccine dose, especially if it means keeping your protection up-to-date. If you are not sure about what shots you have had, be sure to tell your healthcare provider.

Can a vaccine give me the disease?
Currently recommended vaccines do not cause disease. Vaccines contain very weak or inactivate germs. This causes your body to develop antibodies to fight the weak or inactivate germs. This also helps your body prepare to fight the real disease germs so you will not get sick. Ask your healthcare provider about the specific vaccine(s) you are to receive if you are concerned about this issue.

Why do people get sick even though they had a shot?
Vaccine shots usually work. Every once in awhile, a person gets sick anyway. Some reasons this can happen may be because their shot has not had enough time to work and they are around a person who has the disease. Or, it may be that their body did not respond to the vaccine and did not develop the antibodies necessary to fight the real disease germs.

If I have a medical condition like asthma or diabetes, is it safe to get vaccinated?
Vaccinations can be even more important for you if you have certain medical conditions. For example, having a chronic medical condition, like asthma or diabetes, increases your chances of getting very sick if you get the flu. Your healthcare provider can tell you which vaccinations are right for you.

If many serious childhood diseases have been wiped out and everyone else is vaccinated, why do I need to be vaccinated?
Some diseases may have disappeared, but the bacteria and viruses that cause them still exist. Many of them pass easily from person to person. For example, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and chickenpox are all spread by coughing or sneezing. Many of these infections can make you very sick and can even put you in the hospital.

Vaccines for Children Program
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. This helps ensure that all children, including adolescents, have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations. Immunizations available through the VFC Program are those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). These vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from 16 diseases, and is available until your 19th birthday. Here is a complete list of VFC providers in Nevada, as well as additional information about qualifying for the VFC program.

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