Vaccinations Aren’t Just For Kids
When most of us hear the words "vaccination" or "immunization" we automatically think: oh, that's for kids. It's true: young children receive several vaccinations as they grow up and prepare to attend school, including measles, mumps, chickenpox, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or whooping cough. Influenza, or flu, shots are administered yearly beginning as young as six months. The bad news is…getting older doesn't mean you no longer need those shots!
Throughout our lives we can be susceptible to catching many diseases just by coming into physical contact with someone who is ill or breathing air that is carrying germs from a sneeze or cough. We all know the importance of sneezing into a tissue or the crook of our arm when we have a cold and washing our hands frequently — all the time. These simple actions can help prevent transmission of illness from person to person. For some diseases, however, an immunization is necessary to help keep you healthy.
As we get older, our age, job, lifestyle, travel, or health conditions can put us at risk for acquiring vaccine-preventable diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), here are the immunizations adults should receive to help prevent them from getting and spreading serious diseases that could result in poor health, missed work, medical bills, and not being able to care for family:
- seasonal flu (influenza) — All adults need this vaccine every year. It's especially important for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults.
- pneumococcal — There are two types of vaccines that are necessary to help fight pneumonia and its complications in seniors. The first is Pneumovax, which is given once. The second is Prevnar 13, which is also a one-time vaccine and should be given one year after receiving Pneumovax or vice versa.
- Tdap (whooping cough) and Td (tetanus and diphtheria) — Every adult should get a Tdap shot once if they did not receive it as an adolescent. All adults need a Td booster shot every 10 years.
- Herpes zoster — Zostavax is a one-time vaccination; however, since it contains a live Virus, some people should not take it.
Be sure to check with your doctor to see if you are up to date on your immunizations and make a plan to follow up yearly. Regular visits can help insure you and your doctor are doing your most to protect your health…and you can improve your chances of living a healthy life at any age.