It’s that time of year again; yes, it’s time to break out your sweaters and send the kids back to school, but it’s also time to receive your annual immunizations and flu shots. Although receiving a shot is never any fun, we all know that being sick in bed for days at a time is a lot worse than closing your eyes and counting to three. And this season, new advances in medicine have availed even better ways to secure your health for another four seasons.

For example, did you know that a standard flu shot now contains H1N1 vaccination as well as covering two other major flu strains? By combining vaccinations, recipients get to cut down on shots, time and cost. The Center for Disease Control guidelines for the 2010-11 flu season recommend that everyone over the age of six months receive immunization. The best timing for the shot is mid-October through the end of November. This delivers maximum immunity at the peak of season, in late January and early February.

Other immunizations that you can choose from in order to target your best possible health include those against:

– Pneumonia

– Tetanus

– Hepatitis

– Chicken Pox/Zoster (Shingles)

– Measles

– Mumps

A full vaccine list and further information can be found here.

Wondering why you should take pains to immunize? You’re not the only one; it’s actually a common question that you should feel free to raise with your primary physician or a medical professional who may be helping to administer such treatments. The CDC currently estimates that up to 20% of the United States population is affected by flu strains each season, with a few hundred thousands hospitalized due to complications. And although many diseases are being increasingly eradicated from the U.S. thanks to tight control over vaccinations and treatments, it’s important to continue to protect individuals—and therefore communities—against any possibility of a disease leaking its way back into the mainstream. In some cases, widespread vaccination is all it may take to make a disease, such as smallpox, become extinct—protecting not only us, but future generations as well.

Immunizations are also perfectly safe for children and come highly recommended by the CDC–especially as kids head back to school. The more students who show up with their shots means the less widespread a contagious disease may become, keeping your children safe, in school and focused on their studies. For more information on vaccinations specific to children and recommended for the coming year, visit the U.S. FDA’s informative guide online. And if you have any additional questions about the vaccines available through the offices of Dr. Levine, please don’t hesitate to contact us.