Parents are busy. Between dropping the kids off at soccer practice and stopping at the grocery store for the second time this week, there’s not a lot of time for you to well, focus on yourself. But that doesn’t mean you should let your health fall by the wayside. You have an obligation to maintain your health for your kids and for yourself. And while you should definitely focus on making good everyday lifestyle choices like eating healthy and exercising, you also want to make sure you’re taking proactive measures to make your health a priority. Bonnie Hui-Callahan, a pharmacist, mom of four, and founder of The Clinician-Leader suggests one of the ways parents stay up to date on their health is by getting the latest recommended vaccines.
It may be difficult to keep top of mind, especially with an array of newer viruses to worry about i.e. COVID-19, and monkeypox, but it is possible. “The notion of vaccines is very top of mind,” says Bonnie. “We have an opportunity now to couple it with wellness checks in general. And especially as mothers we have to value our health because we know what important role we play in the family and we need to be on top of our game so that we can be there for our families.” The Centers for Disease Control offers a helpful guide on adult immunizations based on age. You may think that immunizations are just for children, but protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time, according to the CDC. And certain vaccines may not have even been recommended based on the year you were born. All adults need immunizations to help them prevent getting and spreading serious diseases. Just like they need to do certain things to stay up-to-date on their health. Read below for some suggestions for staying healthy.
Get your Hepatitis B vaccine
In February, the CDC recommended universal hepatitis B (HBV) vaccination for all adults aged 19 to 59*. Additionally, adults 60 years and older who do not have additional risk factors for HBV infection are recommended for vaccination. This comes after it was announced that HBV cases are on the rise in certain segments of the US population (the prevalence of cases of acute HBV has increased by 14% from 2014 to 2019).¹ Beginning in 1991, it became standard of care for infants to be vaccinated against HBV at birth, but many adults born before 1991 are likely not protected against the HBV virus and are at risk for infection.² “HBV impacts your liver,” says Bonnie. “When you have a chronic infection that impacts your liver that really impacts your whole life. Your liver is the organ that helps clear away a lot of impurities that come into your body. And if it’s not working, it really does then cause downstream effects on the rest of your body.” She adds, “The more infected your liver becomes, you’re more at risk of death from what’s called cirrhosis or liver cancer.”
There isn’t a cure for HBV, but it is preventable with vaccination. HEPLISAV-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted] is the only HBV vaccine that protects adults ages 18 and older from infection with just two doses in one month, making it a convenient option for busy parents. Other HBV vaccines require three doses over six months. “For this particular vaccine, it can be really helpful to have one less dose and to not think about an additional dose six months down the line. HEPLISAV-B makes it so convenient because after two doses you’re done and it’s out of the way and you’re protected.” See important safety information for HEPLISAV-B below.
To find a pharmacy near you that can help protect you against HBV with just two doses in one month, click here.
Stay caught up on your wellness checkups
Are you overdue for your annual check-up? If so, now’s the perfect time to schedule one. Regular check-ups are a great way to stay on top of your health as it helps prevent a potential condition or disease as opposed to treating it later on. By getting your regular check-up, you are taking steps that help your chances of living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other factors impact what and how often you need healthcare, according to the CDC. Some of the things included in your annual check-up include a physical exam, BMI (body mass index) check, and blood pressure check.
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to stay active! And while chasing your kids around the house does count as physical activity, it’s good to branch out to other activities as well. Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity, according to the CDC. The CDC also outlines the recommended level of exercise for health benefits. But one thing is for sure, a little physical activity is better than nothing, so even if it’s a walk around the block with your little one or a yoga class with a girlfriend, a little goes a long way in ensuring you’re staying healthy for your family and yourself.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Lack of sleep impacts your memory, emotions, weight, and even your appearance, according to Hopkins Medicine. It’s understandable that as a parent, you have your fair share of sleepless nights whether it’s from worrying about your to-do list the next day or one of your kids sneaking into your bed at night, but try to make your sleep a priority. The older you get, the harder it can be to fall and stay asleep, but you still need the same amount of hours. According to the National Sleep Foundation, most sleep problems are a result of snoring, medication side effects, and underlying medical conditions, such as acid reflux, depression, and prostate problems, but by incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing into your routine before bed, you can address those issues and enjoy more satisfying sleep.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating healthy isn’t only for losing weight. It’s also important to eat a balanced diet so you can feel good, too! One of the keys to doing this is trying not to overdo it on salt and sugar. It’s okay to have a treat yourself moment every now and then, but just not every day. Another secret? Incorporate the Mediterranean diet into your routine. This uses plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Red meat, fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are included on occasion. There are many benefits to eating healthy, one of which includes increased brain health. As you age, a healthy diet can improve your ability to think, remember and process information so don’t forget to eat your veggies and follow the rest of these tips so you can get caught up on your health.
HEPLISAV-B is indicated for the prevention of infection caused by the hepatitis B virus in adults 18 years of age and older.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
If you have a history of severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of any hepatitis B vaccine, or to any ingredient of HEPLISAV-B, including yeast, do not take HEPLISAV-B.
HEPLISAV-B must be given by a medical professional, who will monitor you afterwards to check for allergic reaction.
If you are immunocompromised, or receiving immunosuppressant therapy, you may have less of an immune response to HEPLISAV-B.
Some people have hepatitis B infection without being aware of it or showing any symptoms. If you already have hepatitis B present in your body, HEPLISAV-B may not prevent hepatitis B infection.
The most common side effects reported by patients within 7 days of vaccination with HEPLISAV-B were pain at the site of injection (23%-39%), tiredness (11%-17%), and headache (8%-17%).
Please see full Prescribing Information.
Sponsored by Dynavax US-22-00-00288.
¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report, United States, 2019. May 2021. Accessed March 29, 2022. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/statistics/2019surveillance/pdfs/
²Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hepatitis B virus: a comprehensive strategy for eliminating transmission in the United States through universal childhood vaccination: recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP). MMWR. 1991;40(No. RR-13):1-19.