There are some subjects that, as parents, we occasionally find the most difficult to discuss with our kids. We postpone them till we decide the time is perfect or until the right moment presents itself. However, discussions regarding their health and keeping them healthy shouldn’t be avoided, no matter how awkward or delicate the topic may be.
Consider the HPV vaccine as an example. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is frightening enough to make you want to discuss it with them so that you can protect them from it.
If you’re unsure how to approach discussing the HPV vaccine with your children, experts advise treating it just like any other shot. The HPV vaccine, which is safe and effective, protects males and females from numerous types of cancer for the rest of their lives.
So why would my child need an HPV vaccine?
Vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) guards against cancers brought on by the HPV infection. Teens and adults are susceptible to it; each year, it infects about 1 million people, including teenagers.
Penile cancer in men and cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in women are all possible outcomes of the HPV infection. Additionally, HPV can lead to genital warts in both men and women, as well as anal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat), and anal cancer.
When can my child be vaccinated?
It is advised to have an HPV vaccination between the ages of 11 and 12 to prevent cancers brought on by the HPV infection. Every child who is 11 or 12 years old should receive two HPV vaccinations spaced 6–12 months apart. Preteens are protected by timely vaccinations long before exposure to the virus.
HPV is transmitted between people during close sexual contact. Three HPV vaccine shots may be required for certain kids. For the best protection, teenagers who have their two shots less than a month apart will require a third dosage.
Additionally, kids who begin the vaccination series on or after their 15th birthday require three shots spaced out over a 6-month period.
Consult your doctor as soon as possible about obtaining these shots for your teen if they haven’t gotten them yet.
Talking to your child
It’s necessary that you comprehend the how’s and why’s of the HPV vaccine before you start talking to your children about it. If we, as parents, can truly convey the fundamentals and significance of the vaccine in a clear and concise manner, your children will feel secure or trust the vaccine.
If we come out as reluctant or uninformed about many aspects of the HPV vaccine, it may cause some confusion or skepticism on their part. If you haven’t received the vaccination yourself and they question why they should, you should think about coming up with a convincing response.
Furthermore, unvaccinated men and women between the ages of 27 and 45 can receive the HPV vaccine, and you can have it with your child.
When talking to them, it’s best to point out to your kids that the purpose of the HPV vaccine is to protect them from cancer for the rest of their lives. Inform your children that the shot will prevent them from contracting HPV and is anticipated to help protect them against up to six types of cancer.
It’s not all about sex, so you can leave sex out of the conversation.
Be prepared with the many questions that your child may pose as this would either be easy or too confusing for them too. Talking about the HPV vaccine doesn’t necessarily or exclusively center around sex. The main focus is cancer prevention, not sex.
The emphasis should be that it is a sexually transmitted disease and is so widespread that nearly 80% of both men and women eventually have the disease. It can be transmitted via vaginal or oral sex as well as close physical contact, such as kissing. While most HPV infections go away on their own, some might persist and result in genital warts or, worse, cancer.
However, some parents are apprehensive about immunizing their kids because they link the HPV vaccine to sexual behavior or worry about potential negative effects. Giving your child the HPV vaccine does not mean you are pushing them to engage in promiscuity or even sexual activity.
Let them understand the expected side effects.
Like any vaccine or medication, HPV vaccination can have mild side effects, which can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fainting, as well as discomfort, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was administered.
Adolescents are more likely to faint after receiving any vaccine, including the HPV vaccine. It is crucial to let the doctor or nurse know if your child has any serious allergies, such as an allergy to latex or yeast. This can help minimize fainting in teens and injuries associated with fainting. It is not advised for anyone who is pregnant to receive the HPV vaccine.
More importantly, the benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh the potential side effects.
Talk to your child about having the vaccine if you are secure in understanding the fundamentals of the HPV vaccine and have distinguished the facts from the myths. If your child is under 18 and uninsured, you should also inquire with your local government health agency about possible assistance in paying for these vaccinations.
You can check the hpv new treatment and ask your healthcare providers for additional pertinent information.