• Six Important Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

    on Sep 21st, 2017

Six Important Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

With the myth about vaccines causing chronic illnesses subsiding, the interest in personal well-being and public health are starting to recover. Simply put, vaccines may be one of the primary reasons we're enjoying living longer and in good health.  Vaccines aren't just a young person’s concern. You can benefit from the appropriate vaccinations at any age.  

In fact, there are six vaccines that, if you’re in the risk group, can help you avoid the repercussions of developing a disease or condition. But that’s not the only good-sense reason for many immunizations. If you’re in good health, you may be able to endure a disease for which you aren’t immunized. However, those around you -- your family, friends, co-workers, and people you encounter through your daily life -- are now also at increased risk, and many of them may not be as strong as you.

With these points in mind, here are six vaccines that I feel every adult should consider. If you’re wary, make an appointment, and we can discuss the risks together.

Flu Shots

It seems the media still takes aim at influenza vaccines, as word goes around that a previous year’s formulation is ineffective against current flu strains. Yes, flu viruses vary and are ever-evolving. However, in the race to find headlines and soundbites, the media forgets that one of the reasons why there’s no sign of the vaccine target virus is the vaccine itself. The fact is that in places with more flu shots given, there are fewer deaths from flu in the vulnerable populations. It’s simple and responsible. Get a flu shot every year. If you’re over age 65, ask about the high-dose version of the vaccine for added protection.

Tetanus Shots

Yes, the rusty nail vaccine is still necessary every 10 years. Often combined with other vaccines, most commonly for diphtheria, the tetanus booster keeps you protected from a nasty bacteria whose toxin contracts muscles throughout your body. While the usual course of entry into your body is through deep puncture wounds, you can contract tetanus through any break in the skin. The vaccine is an easy measure to add a load of safety.

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Protection against pneumonia and meningitis, as well as some other infections, is recommended for everyone age 65 or older. If you’re a smoker or already suffering from diabetes, heart disease, or asthma, I may recommend you start the vaccine sooner. The pneumococcal vaccine is a two-part process. A second shot is needed one year after the first.

Shingles Vaccine

If you’re over age 40, it’s almost certain you’ve had chickenpox, according to the Center for Disease Control. And if you’ve had chickenpox, you’re at risk of shingles, a painful rash condition that develops from the same viral illness. Your risk for shingles increases with age, and I recommend that you get the vaccine once you reach age 60, if you haven’t had it earlier.  

Hepatitis Vaccines

Unfortunately, only hepatitis A and B have vaccines. Hepatitis C doesn’t. If you’re traveling, I strongly recommend the hep A vaccine; a hep B vaccine is appropriate for healthcare workers. Children are now being vaccinated against both forms of hepatitis routinely, so that you may choose these vaccines for extra protection. There’s no cross-protection effect. The hep A vaccine doesn’t help protect against hep B, and vice versa.

Meningitis Vaccine

This is one vaccine that may not be necessary for everyone, but it's quite important if you’re living with certain conditions that put you at greater risk of contracting meningitis. This includes travelers to countries where the disease remains common, those who have HIV, military recruits, or first-year college students living in residence halls. There are other risk factors related to specific outbreaks of the disease. If you're concerned, contact my office so we can assess your vulnerability to the disease.

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