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Infectious diseases A-Z: Vaccines prevent diseases [Mayo Clinic News Network :: BC-HEALTH-VACCINES:MYO]

"Vaccinations prevent infections before they occur," says Dr. Vandana Bhide, a pediatrician and internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic.

"Childhood diseases, once thought to have been eradicated, such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, are making a resurgence in the U.S." from waning immunity or lack of immunizations," she says.

Overall adult vaccination rates are also lower than desired, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which recently released the 2017 vaccine recommendations. Adult vaccination can provide protection from a number of diseases, including seasonal influenza, pneumonia, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

"Vaccinations are one of the biggest advances that we've had in public health - more than all the antiviral treatments antibiotics," says Bhide. "Vaccines, in general, are very safe, very effective, and they protect against life-threatening illnesses.

"The best thing that you can do for you and your family is to protect yourself. See your doctor. See when it's appropriate for you to be vaccinated for all of these vaccine-preventable illnesses."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a complete, easy-to-read schedule of recommended childhood and adult vaccinations.

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(c)2017 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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