Immunizations are for college kids, too

July 12, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Most parents take their young children regularly for immunization shots that protect against polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps and other diseases. But many do not consider that their college-age children also need immunizations.

“Children who are preparing for their freshman year in a dormitory are at increased risk for bacterial meningitis,” says Peter N. Wenger, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–New Jersey Medical School. Each year this disease can suddenly affect up to 2,600 otherwise healthy people — with teenagers and young adults the high-risk category. Bacterial meningitis causes swelling of the brain and spinal cord and can lead to death or permanent injury. Although meningitis can be successfully treated with antibiotics, it is fatal in 10 to 14 percent of cases. In addition, nearly 20 percent of survivors end up with brain damage, amputation or kidney failure.

Meningitis is not as contagious as the flu or the common cold, but it does spread through the exchange of respiratory or throat secretions (e.g., coughing or kissing). Though scientists are not sure of the exact reason, they suspect that crowded living conditions and the sharing of utensils, drinking glasses and cigarettes are contributing factors. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that all first-year college students receive the meningitis , which is safe, highly effective and provides three to five years of protection. Nine states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, require that all incoming students living on college campuses either have a vaccination or sign a waiver stating they choose not to be vaccinated for this disease.

Dr. Wenger recommends that college students also consider these vaccines:

• HPV (human papilloma virus), which protects against the viruses that cause most cervical cancers, anal cancer, and genital warts.
• Tdap (Tetanus, , and Pertussis), which is given as a one-time dose to adolescents and adults and protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also known as whooping cough).
• Hepatitis A, which protects against this serious caused by a virus that attacks the liver.
• An annual immunization against influenza.
• Any vaccines not offered when the child was an infant, such as varicella against chicken pox, if the child had not already acquired wild-type chicken pox.

If your busy, college-bound children can’t squeeze in a doctor’s visit before setting off for school, make sure one of their first stops is the college’s office of student health.

Explore further: Study: More pre-teens get vaccines when middle schools require them

Related Stories

Study: More pre-teens get vaccines when middle schools require them

May 7, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Pre-teens living in states that require vaccinations for incoming middle school students are more likely to be immunized than those in states without such requirements, a new study finds.

Teen vaccinations against cervical cancer lagging

August 25, 2011
(AP) -- Only about half of the teenage girls in the U.S. have rolled up their sleeves for a controversial vaccine against cervical cancer - a rate well below those for two other vaccinations aimed at adolescents.

Back-to-school can mean vaccines for tweens, teens

August 22, 2011
(AP) -- Backpack. Notebooks. Whooping cough shot?

Vaccinations aren't just for kids, expert says

August 19, 2011
A new school year means more than new clothes, new books and a new grade level – it also means new shots for millions of public school children.

Panel: All adults should get whooping cough shots

February 22, 2012
A federal advisory panel wants all U.S. adults to get vaccinated against whooping cough.

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

Three million Americans carry loaded handguns daily, study finds

October 19, 2017
An estimated 3 million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and 9 million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.