I don’t know about you but since I’ve become a mom I can barely make sure my toenails are clipped. I like to think I’m doing alright with self-care – for the most part I’m eating healthy and exercising. I’m right on top of my daughter’s doctors’ appointments but I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw my eye doctor or had my physical done. Pumpkin has her 15 month well-baby check-up and varicella vaccination this week (note to self – book physical while there) and just like with everything else, I know her vaccinations are up-to-date. My own? Hmmm…
Here’s the thing about vaccinations. It’s so easy to feel safe from the seemingly obscure diseases. I mean, really, who do you know has been severely affected by a vaccine-preventable disease beyond the week-long itch from the chicken pox?
Me. *hand up*
Exactly 32 years ago my parents were in a panic when I was 11 months old. Pretty much overnight I had gone from a normal, healthy and happy baby to a helpless infant in the SickKids ICU in a coma. I had meningitis. Thankfully I was not one of the 10% of kids who die from the disease. But I was one of the 10% with a long-term complication as a result of the disease – I am hard of hearing. My right ear is totally deaf and I’ve got a severe-to-profound hearing loss in my left.
Scary, right? Well the good news is that our kids are now vaccinated against meningococcal disease. You better believe my parents and I wish we were so lucky.
And these vaccine-preventable diseases are still around us – in some cases all it takes is one trip on an airplane. We had a measles case in Ontario last month; it turns out the person affected was at a resort in Mexico, but who knows who came into contact with that person once they got back home?
Anyway, my point is, that while it’s great we are doing a good job at being sure our kids’ vaccinations are up to date, we can’t neglect ourselves. It’s National Immunization Awareness week, and I’m going to book my physical and go through my own vaccination records. I just don’t want to be that person who gets sick and exposes my family and friends because I forgot or couldn’t be bothered to protect myself.
Not sure which vaccines are available for adults? Information about routine vaccinations and other vaccinations for special situations (such as travel), can be found here. If you have any questions, give us a call or talk to your health care provider.
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For more information about immunizations, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
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- Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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