I share a lot of information on this blog about parenting and healthy living. Keeping ourselves and our families as healthy as possible is important, but not always easy. Making sure my kids are guarded against disease and illness to the best of my abilities, is one of my priorities as a mother. But it's not easy.
Why isn't it easy? There are so many reasons. Sometimes health information is hard to find from a reliable source. Personally, I tend to start with the CDC and move on from there. Sometimes the language that health information is presented in, can be difficult to understand (again, that's why I start with the CDC). Health can be a personal decision, one we don't necessarily want to share with the general public. And sometimes, it's a topic that no one really wants to talk about!
HPV and the related vaccine can be one of those topics - so let's talk facts here, but I'm keeping it totally family friendly. What is HPV anyway? Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually
transmitted infection. HPV is most common in people in their late teens
and early 20s and most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in
their lives, even if they don’t know it or do not have symptoms. Most of the time the body naturally fights off
HPV before it causes any health problems. That's good news, right?
BUT, in some cases, the body does not
fight off HPV and can cause cancer in both men and women.
In the U.S. each year, about 17,500 women and
9,300 men are affected by HPV-related cancers – many of which could be
prevented with vaccination. But don’t take my word for it – read about this important
health issue and the vaccine to prevent it at CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/who/teens/vaccines/hpv.html
We already know that vaccinations can be a hot-button item, and I am not
here to preach what is right or wrong, only to share information, so
that you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your
family. The HPV Vaccine is an easy 3-step vaccine that can be given to both boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12. HPV vaccines offer the best protection to boys and girls who receive all three doses and have time to develop an immune response before they become sexually active.
I have some friends that are afraid that by talking with their kids about this, it's like opening the door to sex. But it isn't - it's more like closing the door on cancer. When we have "the Talk" with our kids, it's important to be open and discuss all the risks, including unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Yeah - it's not easy, but precious little about parenting is - right?
Again, it's important to educate yourself from reliable sources, and make decisions that are best for your family. And remember, always talk with your doctor (and your children's doctor) about
anything health-related before making any decisions. Edited to add - check with your insurance company for coverage as well, you may be able to save yourself money!