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The Importance of Vaccinations for College Students

August 18, 2016

The Importance of Vaccinations for College StudentsIt’s never easy sending one of your kids off to college. The idea of your child leaving home for the first time can be a frightening proposition for parents. One way to help alleviate some of the stress and worry of your bird leaving the nest is to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prepare your teen for college. This could mean anything from talking to your kids about avoiding drugs and alcohol and teaching them how to prepare healthy meals to instilling healthy habits like cleaning contaminated surfaces and getting them all the necessary vaccinations.

Immunizations are important for anyone, but especially college students living in extremely close quarters like dormitories that can be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and diseases. Common practices like sharing bathrooms, showers, drinks and various other personal items can make your teen extra vulnerable to these potential threats. All these factors solidify the need for proper immunizations for your teen before leaving for school.

Listed below are some of the most common vaccinations for college freshman as well as some others to consider:

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is one of the most essential vaccines for students starting college. Hepatitis B is a blood-borne infection that can be transmitted through sexual activity. The disease can cause long-term liver damage if not properly treated. Hepatitis B can be contracted through contact with bodily fluids from someone who already has it. Sharing personal hygiene items like razors or toothbrushes can also spread Hepatitis B.

Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. College students may be at an increased risk for contracting bacterial meningitis. If not treated, meningitis can lead to severe, permanent issues like hearing loss, brain damage or even death. Common symptoms to look out for include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Both bacterial and viral meningitis are contagious and can be spread from coming into direct contact with people.

Here at Children’s Wellness Center we offer two of the more commonly-recommended meningitis vaccinations, Menactra® and Bexsero®. These vaccines work by exposing the patient to a small dose of the inactive bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. Both vaccines come highly recommended for college-aged students.

Additional Vaccines to Consider

All states have different vaccination requirements for college students, so keep that in mind if your teen will be attending an out-of-state school. In most states, an up-to-date Tetanus booster is required. Additionally, many colleges require immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella varicella (chickenpox). Other vaccinations we recommend for your teen include shots for Hepatitis A and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

We can’t tell you not to worry about sending your kid off to college. After all, we know you’re only human. At least take some comfort in knowing that thanks to these immunizations, you can scratch these potentially dangerous diseases off your list of things to be concerned about while your teen is away at school. If you have any questions or concerns regarding immunizations for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact Children’s Wellness Center today at 404-303-1314.

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