WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Disease prevention is the key to public health. It is always easier to prevent a disease than to treat it.
Vaccines prevent disease in the people who receive them and protect those who come into contact with unvaccinated individuals.
With the start of a new school year just weeks away, Dr. Joseph Pino, the director of pediatric specialty services at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, said parents of pre-teens and teenagers need to get their kids up-to-date with their vaccinations.
"The three vaccinations that are most commonly offered in the pre-teen and teenage group are pertussis, meningococcus , and finally, the HPV vaccine," said Dr. Pino.
Pertussis is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths worldwide, but many have chosen to forego the vaccine in recent years.
"Pertussis, commonly known as the whooping cough, is a particular illness that has made a resurgence over the past several years," said Dr. Pino.
Getting the vaccine will stop the spread of the illness.
Meningococcus is carried in the nose and throat without symptoms. It can be spread by droplets coughed or sneezed out by an infected person or by a carrier.
"Menigicous is a particular bacteria that can cause a pretty serious infection called Meningitis," said Dr. Pino. "It's an infection of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord."
Now there is a vaccine that promises to prevent cancer.
"HPV: this is one of the few vaccines that actually holds the promise of preventing cancer," said Dr. Pino.
This vaccine targets the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is highly effective in preventing those types of HPV and related diseases in young women.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of guidelines for keeping up-to-date with vaccinations for both children and adults.
To find out if you have all the necessary vaccinations, click here.