That’s right. The need for immunizations doesn’t end with childhood. Each year, thousands of adults in the U. S. suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines, including influenza, whooping cough, certain bacterial infections, hepatitis A and B, shingles, and even some cancers such as cervical cancer and liver cancer. Talk to your doctor today to find out which vaccines are recommended for you.
Most people don’t realize that adults need immunizations, too. While many recognize that a flu vaccine is recommended every year, few adults are aware of the need for other vaccines to help protect their health.
Protection from some childhood immunizations wears off over time, leaving you vulnerable to disease. For example, there has been a rise in cases of whooping cough in the last few years, with over 48,000 cases being reported in 2012. We have learned that the protection from DTaP whooping cough vaccine given to children doesn’t last into adulthood, so all adults are now recommended to get one dose of Tdap whooping cough vaccine if they did not receive it as an adolescent.
Adults may be recommended for certain vaccines due to their age, job, hobbies, travel, or health condition. Other vaccines may be recommended if they didn’t get certain vaccines as children.
Some adults, including older adults and those who have chronic health conditions, may be at higher risk for serious complications from some vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, because older age increases the chance of getting shingles, CDC recommends that adults get the shingles vaccine once they turn 60 years old. People with diabetes, heart disease, and COPD or asthma, even if well managed, are more likely than those without these conditions to have complications from the flu. To prevent possible complications like pneumonia, people with these chronic conditions should get a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in addition to a yearly flu vaccine.
Adult immunization is necessary because it not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of certain diseases to loved ones and those in the community who are most vulnerable to disease (like those with weakened immune systems and infants).
Getting vaccinated is an important step we can take to protect ourselves and loved ones from vaccine-preventable diseases. Yet, too many adults-perhaps even you-are not up to date. Talk with your doctor to find out which vaccines are right for you.
For more information on vaccines or to take an adult vaccine quiz to find out which vaccines you might need, go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/index.html. The Erie County Department of Health has vaccines available to non-insured persons of any age. Call 814-451-6777 for more information. National Immunization Awareness Month, which occurs every August, is a reminder that we all need vaccines throughout our lives!
Janet Strayer, RN
Source - www.cdc.gov/vaccines