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Reactions to Immunizations - HealthScreenings- Health Screening Schedule

Immunizations help your immune system recognize and quickly attack organisms that can cause diseases before those organisms can cause problems. Some immunizations are given in a single shot or oral dose, while others require several doses over a period of time.

Immunization schedule
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Schedule your child's immunizations according to the chart on Health Screening Schedule . There is no need to delay immunizations because of colds or other minor illnesses. Keep good records. Children often need to show immunization records in order to attend school.

If you are considering not having your child immunized, talk with your health professional. There are few valid reasons for not having your child immunized.

The need for immunizations does not end with childhood. Thousands of people are hospitalized, and many die, as the result of influenza and other diseases that can be prevented by immunization. If you are in one of the high-risk groups for whom the influenza or pneumococcal vaccine is recommended (See Influenza Virus), make sure you get immunized.

Medical experts are constantly reviewing the effectiveness of immunization programs. Therefore, immunization recommendations change periodically. Your primary care doctor, local health unit, or public health office can provide the most up-to-date information about immunizations.

Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus (DTaP)

Diseases like diphtheria and pertussis caused many deaths before a vaccine was developed to prevent them. This vaccine also protects against tetanus ("lockjaw"), which can result from bacterial infection of a deep cut or wound.

Childhood immunizations for these diseases consist of a series of shots and boosters starting at age 2 months. The first Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster is given between ages 14 and 16 years. After that, a

Td booster is needed every 10 years. Follow the DTaP and Td guidelines on Immunization schedule


Polio is a viral illness that can lead to paralysis. It is rare today because of the polio vaccine. The first dose of vaccine is given at age 2 months, and the immunization series gives lifelong protection (immunity).

Adults who have not been immunized need immunization only if they are travelling to a part of the world where new cases of polio still occur.

Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)

Measles (rubeola), mumps, and rubella (German measles) were once common childhood illnesses. Today they are quite rare, thanks to the MMR vaccine. Two shots, one given at 12 to 15 months and another given at either 18 months or 4 to 6 years, provide lifelong immunity.

If there is a measles outbreak in your area and your baby has not been immunized, call your doctor, local health unit, or public health office to discuss an early MMR shot. If your child receives the vaccine before he or she is 12 months old, both routine doses are still required.

If you don't have records showing that you received 2 doses of MMR vaccine and you did not have these illnesses as a child, discuss your need for immunization with your doctor.

Chickenpox (Varicella)

It is recommended that all children receive the chickenpox vaccine at 12 to 18 months of age. Because the chickenpox vaccine is relatively new, it is not known how long the vaccine protects a person against chickenpox. However, some people who have had the vaccine appear to be protected for as long as 20 years.

Chickenpox is more serious in teens and adults. People older than 11 or 12 years who have never had chickenpox or have not received the chickenpox vaccine should be vaccinated. Teens and adults need 2 doses of the vaccine. People older than 12 who aren't sure whether they have had chickenpox should discuss their need for testing and immunization with their doctor.

HepatitisB Virus (HBV)

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The hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects liver cells and can destroy them. Over time, chronic HBV infection can lead to serious, sometimes fatal liver disease. Vaccination prevents HBV infection and its possible complications. See Hepatitis.

It is recommended that all children be vaccinated against HBV. Three shots provide long-term immunity. Immunization is also recommended for:

  • Teens who were not previously vaccinated, especially if they are at high risk for exposure to HBV.
  • People who have more than 1 sex partner.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • People who use intravenous drugs.
  • Health care workers.
  • People planning extended travel to China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and other areas where HBV infection rates are high.
  • Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib)

    Haemophilus influenzae type b does not cause the flu. This bacterial infection can cause meningitis, pneumonia, skin and bone infections, and other serious illnesses in young children. Every child between 2 months and 5 years of age should be immunized against Hib. Children over 5 and adults need immunization only if they have sickle cell anemia or problems involving the spleen or immune system.

    Influenza Virus

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    Annual influenza vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 65 and older and for younger people who have chronic diseases. Health care workers and others who are likely to be exposed to the flu virus may also wish to get the vaccine every year. The vaccine can be given to anyone older than 6 months of age. The vaccine is most effective when it is given in the autumn, well before the start of the flu season.

    Pneumococcal Infection

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    In addition to infecting the lungs (pneumonia), pneumococcal bacteria can infect the blood (bacteremia) or the covering of the brain (meningitis). A one-time-only dose of the pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for people age 65 and older. Younger people who have chronic diseases, especially respiratory conditions or diabetes, should also consider getting the pneumococcal vaccine. (If you are younger than 65 and have asthma, talk to your doctor about whether you should receive the pneumococcal vaccine.) If you received the pneumococcal vaccine before age 65 and it has been more than 5 years since you last had the shot, ask your doctor if you need a booster shot.

    Other Immunizations

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    If you are in close contact with people who have contagious diseases or you are planning travel to areas where illnesses such as hepatitis A, malaria, typhoid, and yellow fever are common, contact your local health unit or public health office to find out if you need other immunizations.

    Health Screenings

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    Another way to protect your health is to detect disease early, when it may be easier to treat. You can do this in 2 ways: by getting periodic medical exams from a health professional and by becoming a good observer of changes in your own body.

    Periodic Medical Exams and Screening Tests

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    The schedule on See Health Screening Schedule will help you decide which exams and tests are right for you and your family and how often you should have them. The most appropriate schedule of preventive exams is one you and your doctor agree upon, based on your age, your risk factors for disease, how healthy you are, and how important periodic health screening is to you.

    The recommendations on See Health Screening Schedule apply to people of average risk in each age group. You may be at higher risk for certain diseases and may therefore need more frequent exams and tests. Factors that may help your doctor determine your level of risk include your overall health, your family history (whether your close relatives have had certain diseases), and lifestyle factors, such as whether you use tobacco, how often you exercise, and your sexual history.


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    Periodic self-exams are also an important part of staying healthy. See the breast self-exam on See Breast Self-Exam, the genital self-exam for women on See Self-Exam, and the testicular self-exam on See Gently feel each testicle for hard lumps or a change in size.. Turn to See Watch for these mole changes. to learn how to look for changes in your skin that may be early signs of skin cancer.

    Other Recommended Tests and Exams

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    Birth to 10 years

    Well-baby visits are recommended at 2 weeks and at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months of age. Your doctor may recommend a different schedule. Babies at high risk for hearing problems may be tested during this time.

    Discuss the frequency of visits for a child older than 2 years with your health professional. A vision test is recommended at age 3 to 4 years. Some childhood immunizations are given at 4 to 6 years. Immunization schedule

    Regular blood pressure checks are recommended after age 3 years and may be done during visits for other reasons.

    11 to 24 years

    A tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster is recommended at 14 to 16 years of age. After age 21, periodic blood pressure checks are recommended and may be done during any doctor visit.

    Pap tests are recommended every 1 to 3 years for any female who has ever had sexual intercourse.

    25 to 64 years The Health Screening schedule on See Health Screening Schedule can help you decide which tests are valuable for you and how often you should have them.

    Pregnant Women Discuss the frequency of visits and testing with your doctor. During the first prenatal visit, blood tests, urinalysis, blood pressure measurement, and screening for hepatitis B virus and HIV infection are recommended. Additional tests are needed throughout the pregnancy.

    Tuberculin Test A tuberculin test is done to determine if you have been infected with the organisms that cause tuberculosis (TB). See See Tuberculosis (TB).

    Whether you need to be tested depends on how common TB is in your area and your risk of coming in contact with TB-causing organisms. If you think you may have been exposed to TB and wish to be tested, contact your doctor, local health unit, or public health office.


    Reactions to Immunizations

    Temporary, mild reactions to immunizations are common. Babies often develop a fever after the DTaP shot, and the area where the shot was given may become sore, red, or swollen. A child may develop a rash or fever 1 to 2 weeks after receiving the first dose of MMR vaccine. The rash will go away without treatment. Joint pain and swelling may also occur after the first dose of MMR vaccine, but these symptoms usually go away after about 3 days.

    The chickenpox vaccine can cause soreness, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. Fever and a mild rash also may develop. The rash will go away without treatment. It is possible for a person who gets a rash from the chickenpox vaccine to give chickenpox to another person. However, that person's illness will usually be mild.

    The hepatitis B vaccine may cause pain at the injection site and a low-grade fever.

  • Acetaminophen may soothe the discomfort and relieve fever caused by immunizations. Also See Fever. Some doctors recommend that you take acetaminophen before receiving an immunization.
  • Keep written notes about any reactions you observe.
  • Tell your health professional if you think the reactions are excessive.
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    Health Screening Schedule


    Birth-10 years

    11-24 years

    25-64 years

    Height and Weight

    Growth chart plotted during office visit from birth on.

    Periodically, or every 2 years.


    Vision Screening

    Screening between ages 3 and 4 years.




    Universal screening of infants for hearing impairment before age 3 months.



    Blood Pressure, See High Blood Pressure.

    Screening during any office visit starting at age 3 years.

    Periodically after age 21.


    Breast Cancer Screening, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women who are 40 to 55 years old. The good news is that breast cancer can often be cured if it is detected early. There are 3 methods of early detection: mammography, clinical breast exam, and breast self-exam.

    See Breast Self-Exam:


    Clinical breast examination



    Ages 40 to 49: counselling on benefits of mammography, based on risk factors.

    From age 50: annual clinical breast exam.

    From age 50: mammography every 1 to 2 years.

    Cervical Cancer Screening Test (Pap test), See Pelvic Exam and Pap Test.


    Every 1 to 3 years for any female who has ever had sexual intercourse.

    Every 1 to 3 years for any female who has ever had sexual intercourse.



    Routine for sexually active females or people at high risk.

    Routine for sexually active females or people at high risk.

    Cholesterol, See Cholesterol Screening.




    Periodically for males ages 35 to 65 and females ages 45 to 65.

    Colorectal Cancer Screening, See Flexible Sigmoidoscopy:

    Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)

    Flexible Sigmoidoscopy



    Starting at age 50, discuss annual screening using FOBT with your health professional.

    Sigmoidoscopy after age 50.

    Prostate Cancer Screening, See Prostate Cancer.



    Risk increases with age starting at age 50; discuss with health professional.

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