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The Best Shots in Life : Health and Happiness Begin with You

The Best Shots in Life : Health and Happiness Begin with You

The key to personal happiness is health. Family, wealth, career success – they mean nothing if we are too ill to appreciate them. Therefore, there are some healthy habits we can practise to keep ourselves in good health.

  • Eat balanced meals every day. This means eating a variety of food from every food group, in the right amount or portion.
  • Move more every day. Ideally, we should be physically active for at least 30 minutes daily.

However, even the most health-conscious of us sometimes overlook an important aspect of good health: getting vaccinated against infectious diseases.

“I got all my shots when I was a child, so what more do I need?” you may be thinking.

Well, there are vaccines that are very much relevant and important, even when we are adults. The Tdap vaccine is one such example.

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It’s a 3-in-1 Deal

In the past, the Td vaccine was given to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. In 2005, a new type of vaccine, Tdap, was recommended for use as this new vaccine confers protection not only against these two diseases but pertussis as well. It is a 3-in-1 shot that is... well, worth a shot!

Is Tdap necessary? Judging from the severity of the diseases it protects us against, the answer is yes.

“Tetanus is a disease that causes painful muscle tightening in the body. When the muscles of the head and neck tighten, the patient may find it very hard to open the mouth or even breathe,” explains Dr Hazlee. “Diphtheria is very contagious, and it causes breathing difficulties and, in severe cases, heart and nerve damage as well as paralysis. Pertussis is also very contagious, and it can lead to severe breathing problems that can be fatal, especially in infants. Since infants can be infected by adults such as their parents (who may not be aware that they have the disease), it is important that adults are vaccinated against pertussis.”

A single shot of Tdap confers a lifetime protection, and it can be given even if we have received the Td shot in the past. Dr Hazlee points out that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the following people should receive the vaccine:1

  • Adults aged 65 years old or older.
  • Healthcare workers who regularly come into direct contact with infected patients.
  • Caregivers of infants under 1 year old (such as parents, grandparents, babysitters, staff members of day-care centres).
  • Expecting mothers in their 3rd trimester (27th-36th week) – the vaccine confers protection to the newborn during the first months of life.
  • New mothers who have never received the vaccine before.

So, talk to your doctor about shots (including Tdap) that you are missing out on.

[1] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Combined Tdap vaccine. Retrieved on 28 May, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/combo-vaccines/DTaP-Td-DT/Tdap.htm

[2] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Td vaccine. Retrieved on 28 May, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/td.html

[3] US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Help protect babies from whooping cough. Retrieved on 28 May, 2015 from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Pertussis/

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