As we begin the year, I’d like to review routine immunizations that are recommended for adults.
I feel that immunizations have been proven safe and are very effective in preventing many illnesses, and they have saved a countless number of lives from potentially deadly diseases.
Why do adults need immunizations? Some adults incorrectly assume that vaccines they received in childhood will protect them for the rest of their lives. This is mostly true, except for three points:
- Some adults believe they received vaccinations as children, but they never actually did.
- Newer vaccines were not available previously.
- The effectiveness of a vaccine lessens with time.
As we age, we become more susceptible to common infections, such as those caused by influenza (flu) and pneumococcal bacteria.
These are what I feel are the most important adult vaccines:
- Influenza: every fall season for all adults, especially those past 65 years of age
- Tetanus with diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough): every 10 years
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia): men and women age 65 and older
- Shingles: everyone 50 years or older
- Rubella (German measles): women of child-bearing age
Young women and men may want to check with their doctors about HPV, human papilloma virus. Travelers, especially those going to Africa, Latin America or Asia, should consider hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines.
Next time you have a reason to see your doctor, talk about routine immunizations and make sure you are up to date. Remember, it pays to keep a step ahead of illness and disease.