Will County Health Department Reminds Residents to Stay Current on All Vaccines
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

 With flu season quickly approaching and certain diseases attempting a comeback, Will County Health Department (WCHD) is encouraging residents to stay up to date on all of their vaccinations.

Parts of the United States are seeing a resurgence in some diseases that haven’t been seen in a long time, including polio, a disease that paralyzed more than 35,000 people every year in the late 1940’s. Polio has surfaced in a New York City suburb, resulting in the first case of paralytic polio in the U.S. in over a decade.

Vaccination efforts are ongoing and are meant to prevent exactly these types of situations. Pertussis (whooping cough), mumps, rubella and polio are just a few of the diseases that are easily preventable by following the recommended vaccination schedules set by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has published recommended immunization schedules for both children and adults. These tried-and-true vaccinations have been tested over great lengths and show that they’re the best weapon in fighting the prevention and spread of diseases. The recommended vaccine schedules can be viewed at: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/

Per the CDC’s guidelines, WCHD is encouraging children (over six months old) and adults to receive their annual flu vaccination. Last flu season, the CDC noticed alarming trends in a decrease of vaccinations in children and pregnant people and only 43% of adults (ages 18-49) with a chronic health condition choosing to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine reduces the overall number of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths while also helping to protect those who are more vulnerable to serious complications from the flu.

Additionally, WCHD is reminding adults ages 50 and older, or adults ages 19 and older with a weakened immune system, to receive a shingles vaccination. Stemming from the same virus that causes chickenpox, shingles is a painful rash consisting of blisters that scab over. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus can stay dormant in the body and reactivate later in life causing shingles. For some, pain can continue even after the rash clears up. The shingles vaccine has proved to be more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and long-lasting pain (postherpetic neuralgia), the most common complication from shingles.

“Making sure you and your family are current on all their vaccinations is one of the most important things you can do right now,” said Lisa Carlson, Immunization Program Coordinator for WCHD. “Vaccines are critical to stopping resurgences of easily preventable diseases and protecting vulnerable loved ones.”

Contact your health provider to schedule your vaccinations. The Will County Health Department Immunization Clinic also provides recommended childhood and adult vaccines. All Will County residents are eligible to receive immunizations from the clinic. Medicaid and Medicare and limited private insurance plans are accepted. For those who are uninsured or underinsured, a low-cost immunization option is available. Vaccinations for children are available in the Bolingbrook and Monee offices. Vaccinations for all ages are available in Joliet on a daily basis. Call the clinic at 815-740-8143 to schedule your appointment. For additional information, please visit the Will County Health Department website at www.willcountyhealth.org.

For Additional resources, please visit the following:

Illinois Department of Public Health Seasonal Flu Fact Sheet for Parents:
https://dph.illinois.gov/content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/publications/idph/topics-and-services/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/Influenza-Parent-Fact-Sheet.pdf

CDC’s information page about the seasonal flu:
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/flu/index.html

CDC’s information page about the shingle’s vaccine:
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html