WELLNESS TIP OF THE WEEK
ATTENTION ADULTS: You Need Vaccines, Too
In basic terms, a vaccine is an injectable compound that allows your immune system to develop a response to a specific illness without actually experiencing the illness. This acquired immunity is important to each individual but even more so to a community. What is known as “herd immunity” confers immunity at the population level.
Vaccines are very safe. They are subjected to extensive, high-level scientific research and are under continuous surveillance and reassessment. In fact, the most common adverse reactions are either local reactions at the site of injection, slight body temperature elevations/low-grade fevers or mild allergic skin reactions. These reactions may in part be related to vaccine preservatives such as phenols, albumin and glycine. These substances have been proven to be safe through clinical research. To be clear, there is absolutely no evidence linking vaccinations with pervasive developmental disorders such as autism.
So what do you need and when do you need it? Hopefully you are up to date on your childhood vaccinations, but if you are not, you will need to start with three in particular: measles/mumps/ rubella, varicella/chickenpox (if you are under age 60), and tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis.
Once you are caught up, a standardized schedule will apply, and your healthcare provider will help keep you on track.
There are some caveats. Patients who have a relative immunocompromised state may require earlier, additional or different versions of a given vaccine.
How do you know if you fit into this category? If you are diabetic, have chronic heart, lung, kidney, or liver disease, have HIV/AIDS, have a poorly functioning or absent spleen, or are taking any immunosuppressive drugs during cancer treatment or for a chronic inflammatory/immune condition, then you would fall into this category.
If you would like to learn more, please come see me or one of my colleagues this summer or fall. Winter is coming. Let us help you navigate the wall of vaccines and keep preventable illnesses out.
-Rohit Dixit, MD, MSc Nutrition
Pentucket Medical Associates / Partners HealthCare
WELLNESS ON THE WEB
At Age 103, This Athlete Is Still Breaking Records
Old age didn’t stop 103-year-old Julia ‘Hurricane’ Hawkins from breaking records in both the 50- and 100-meeter races last month at the National Senior Games.
Hawkins has been sure to keep active throughout her life. She’s a life-long cyclist and gardener. She regularly stretches to keep her body nimble and moving. Defying the norms of old age, Hawkins proves to be an inspiration for senior folks and says “Don’t stop. You can still do things when you get older. Just keep moving and be interested in things.”
They’re Not Vampires, But They Live Almost Just As Long
Speaking of longevity, a new study reported by Ars Technica carefully analyzed the aging process in bats and found, at a time when most species are shutting down genes that help keep cells and tissues healthy, bats are cranking them up. This finding helps shed light on why bats have an unusually long average lifespan.
The study provides further implications for human longevity and health.
LOCAL HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS & UPCOMING EVENTS
Kids Night Out at The Stevens-Coolidge Place
The Stevens-Coolidge Place | North Andover, Mass. | TheTrustees.org
Drive for Dignity
Andover Country Club | Andover, Mass. | LazarusHouse.org
Home Sweet Home Bike Run for 50 Legs
A-Brews Tap & Grill | Dracut, Mass. | ABrews.com
2nd Annual Red Heat Tavern and Burtons Grill & Bar MDA Golf Classic
Butter Brook Golf Club | Westford, Mass. | (978) 549-8681