There has been a lot of talk of vaccinations in the news lately. Most of these conversations are about babies and young children. But did you know that adults need immunizations too? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults should keep up with their vaccinations because immunity from vaccines we receive as children can wear off as we get older. Also, as adults, our lifestyles, work conditions, travel habits, and health history, can put us at increased risk for certain diseases. Vaccines can help reduce our risk of some of those diseases. Read on to find out which vaccines you might need.
The CDC recommends that all adults receive the Influenza or flu vaccine every year. Adults should also receive a Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (or whooping cough) at least once if they did not receive it when younger. After that, adults should get a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster shot every 10 years. Pregnant women will likely get the Tdap during each pregnancy.
Depending on your job, travel plans, health conditions, age, etc., you may require other immunizations during your adult life. The CDC has a handy quiz you can take to see which vaccines are best for you right now. Health care workers, for example, should get vaccines to reduce the risk of spreading diseases, especially if they work directly with patients or handle things that can spread infections. Some of the vaccinations recommended for health care workers include Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Chickenpox, and Meningococcal.
If you are thinking about traveling abroad in the near future, you should meet with your doctor at least one month before your trip to make sure you are up to date on all required immunizations, especially those required for your planned destination. You can check out the CDC’s travel health website to find out the latest health updates for the areas you will be visiting.
You may have thought immunizations were behind you, so why continue to vaccinate? According to the CDC, many diseases like polio and diphtheria have become very rare in the US because of widespread vaccinations. Keeping up to date with these shots during our adult years may prevent these and other diseases from returning and wreaking havoc on our population, but ultimately they can keep each of us healthy throughout our lifetime.