Vaccines For Preventative Care?
By Contributing Author, Ainsley Lawrence
We understand that the topic of vaccines is a controversial subject. That said, the opinion of this author does not represent the health stance of OHH. However, it is the position of OHH to always offer a full range of information, the pros as well as the cons, in order to help you make the best health decisions for yourself and your family. For that reason, an argument against vaccines will be added at the end of the article.
Vaccines are an integral part of disease prevention. As one of the best forms of preventative care, they are vital for adults to avoid illness. That being said, there are a surprising number of adult men who fail to get vaccinated. In fact, studies show that men carry a higher health risk than women, and are only half as likely to make doctor visits for preventative services.
The hesitation to seek preventative care is often the cause of a dire outcome: a shorter life.
According to this article by experts at Stanford University, “In the 1920s the life expectancy gender gap between a woman and a man was only one year, but by 2007 women were living 5.2 years longer than men.” Today, this gap is only increasing. With some focused effort, however, men can easily prevent diseases that might later haunt them. Vaccinations and boosters form the foundation of preventative care, and there is really no reason to avoid being immunized. Here are some of the benefits of getting vaccinated:
Obviously, the biggest benefit to stem from vaccinations is the ability to stay healthy and well. Much like diet and exercise, vaccinations play an important role in keeping you healthy. Unfortunately, the power of vaccinations in preventative care is often underestimated. In reality, even a slight drop in vaccinations can lead to an exponential increase in infections each year.
Consider this study by the Stanford University School of Medicine that looks at measles and immunizations against it. Research from this study shows that “A 5 percent drop in childhood measles vaccination levels would cause annual measles cases to triple, according to researchers at Stanford and Baylor.”
With statistics like these, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends keeping up with vaccinations throughout your life. Skipping vaccines makes you very vulnerable to the threat of diseases and illnesses. Some of these illnesses, like hepatitis and HPV, are even considered to be leading causes of cancer — so immunizing yourself against these can ultimately save your life.
Even though some vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t life-threatening, they can be very expensive to treat. Immunizing yourself against these diseases not only allows for better health maintenance but can also save you a lot of money that you would have to spend on treatment.
Secondly, vaccine-preventable diseases like influenza can last up to 15 days — if you think about that in terms of income, that’s about two weeks of lost earning opportunity. Similarly, adults who get hepatitis A can lose about a month of work on average.
Minimizing Health Risks for Your Loved Ones
Vaccine-preventable diseases are often the most contagious. That means your lack of immunization puts everyone you interact with at risk of contracting a disease. This is especially problematic if you live or interact with young children and older folk, whose immune systems are not as strong as the average adult.
Certain vaccinations might not seem as important in the region you live in, but can be the difference between life and death if you’re traveling abroad. One such example is the BCG vaccine, used to protect people against tuberculosis.
Even though it is not a compulsory inclusion in routine vaccination sets for children in the US, the BCG vaccine is one of the most common in the world. It is used frequently in countries with higher instances of tuberculosis and so, as stated by Access Labs, “People in the United States who are from foreign countries will frequently have received a BCG vaccination.”
Similarly, if you are planning to travel to South or Central America, Africa, the Middle East, or India, you should consider getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A, which is more common in these regions. Immunizations are a crucial part of being travel-ready especially in today’s day and age, where people and diseases can travel across the globe in merely a day.
Now that you are aware of some of the health benefits of getting vaccinated, let’s take a look at some of the vaccinations you definitely need:
The CDC recommends that all adults get a flu vaccine every single year.
This vaccine is especially important for those with chronic health conditions, as well as older adults. As a young and healthy man, you might think that you can deal with the flu in case it comes around.
However, keep in mind that the flu is highly contagious, and without getting vaccinated, you could easily pass it on to someone in a “high-risk” category like a child or pregnant woman.
The Tdap vaccine protects people against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). If you did not receive this vaccine as an adolescent, you most definitely should get it as an adult. If you did get this or a similar vaccination as a child, you still need a booster shot as an adult every 10 years.
Contrary to popular belief, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is not just for women. In men, HPV can cause cancer of the anus, throat, and penis. Even with these grave consequences, studies show that only 5.9 percent of men between 19 and 26 years of age receive at least one dose of this 3-dose vaccination series.
Some people believe that the HPV vaccine only “works” if you’ve received it prior to being sexually active. While it is best to get this vaccine before you’re sexually active, it still operates well in adults who receive it later in life, and is able to protect you against strains of HPV that you have not been exposed to.
MMR stands for measles, mumps, and rubella.
This vaccination protects you against these three that can be fatal if left untreated. Even though measles was almost wiped out in the US, the decrease in vaccination rates in some communities has led to its revival.
As I mentioned earlier, even a slight drop in measles vaccinations can lead to many additional cases of the disease each year. If you haven’t received this immunization as a child, don’t worry – your healthcare provider can guide you on how to go about getting vaccinated for MMR as an adult.
Both hepatitis A and B are liver-related diseases and can cause many long-term problems like cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. As mentioned above, hepatitis A is a must, especially if you intend on traveling abroad.
Hepatitis B is also recommended for men – especially those who are sexually active with multiple partners or with other men, as these behaviors are associated with a higher risk of contraction.
Even if you missed out on immunizations as a kid, take preventative measures now to get yourself correctly vaccinated. Vaccinations come with many benefits to men’s health and can be the difference between a holistic existence and long-term regret. Remember, it’s never too late to start living a healthier life.
The Argument Against Vaccines
Is the science settled regarding vaccines?
For those currently supporting the vaccine agenda, I challenge you to read this with an open mind and contrast it with what you currently know and believe. Then let the evidence fall where it may. And as you will clearly see, this is an evidence-based report.