Should your child get the HPV Vaccine?

 As parents, you do everything you can to protect your children’s health for now and for the future. Today, there is a strong weapon to prevent several types of cancer in our kids: the HPV vaccine.
HPV is short for Human Papillomavirus, a common virus. In the United States each year, there are about 15,000 women and 7,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers. These cancers could be prevented with vaccination. In both women and men, HPV can cause anal cancer and mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. It can also cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women; and cancer of the penis in men.  HPV is a virus passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex. HPV is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. 

HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before they begin sexual activity with another person. This is not to say that your preteen is ready to have sex. In fact, it’s just the opposite—it’s important to get your child protected before you or your child has to think about this issue. The immune response to this vaccine is better in preteens, and this could mean better protection for your child.  HPV vaccine is also recommended for girls ages 13 through 26 years and for boys ages 13 through 21 years, who have not yet been vaccinated. So if your son or daughter hasn’t started or finished the HPV vaccine series—it’s not too late!  The vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots over 6 months.

The HPV vaccine is SAFE!!!  HPV vaccines were studied in tens of thousands of people around the world. More than 46 million doses have been distributed to date, and there have been no serious safety concerns. Vaccine safety continues to be monitored by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The most common side effects reported are mild. They include: pain where the shot was given (usually the arm), fever, dizziness, and nausea.  You may have heard that some kids faint when they get vaccinated. Fainting is common with preteens and teens for many medical procedures, not just the HPV shot. Be sure that your child eats something before going to get the vaccine.

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines for children ages 18 years and younger who are under-insured, not insured, Medicaid-eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native.

For more information contact Adair County Home Care at 641-743-6173 or log on to http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens.

The information provided on the Adair County Health System’s Blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice and care. If you have specific needs, please see a professional health care provider.
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