One of the most important things you can do to protect your health is to receive recommended immunizations and flu shots-on time. Vaccines have been proven as one of the most effective tools to help people live longer and have healthier lives. They work by preventing infectious diseases, some of which have the potential to cause long-lasting or permanent health problems, or even death.
Diseases become rare due to vaccinations
At Swift County Benson Hospital, the staff is regularly vaccinated with the appropriate medicine, but there have been cases where patients were admitted and their disease could have been prevented (or the severity decreased) with a single shot. Some diseases (like polio and diphtheria) are rare because we have been vaccinating against them.
Immunize until the disease is eliminated
What if we stopped vaccinating? Diseases that are almost unknown would come back. Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more people will be infected and spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made. The extensive use of vaccines has proven a major public health success against infectious diseases. By the end of the 20th century, benefits were so dramatic in reducing the suffering, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited vaccination as the number one public health achievement of the century.
U.S. Flu Facts
*An estimated 10-20% of the population contracts the flu each year.
*Approximately 114,000 excess hospitalizations per year are for flu-related complications.
*Up to 40 million patients require outpatient medical visits for influenza-like illness.
*Approximately 36,000 annual deaths in the U.S. are attributed to influenza complications.
*The highest rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths occur primarily in patients older than 65.
*Increased rates of complications, hospitalizations and deaths also are observed in young children.
*More than 90% of influenza-related deaths occur in persons 65 or older.
Sources of immunization information:
The CDC Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) English and Español
Questions about vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases frequently asked by people calling the TTY Service Hotline at 1-888-232-6348.
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date and you have had this year’s flu shot. It may save your life.