You Never Outgrow Vaccines: What You Should Know About Adult Immunizations

Vaccines can help prevent infections such as the flu, pneumococcal, and hepatitis. Most of Americans who die each year from vaccine-preventable illnesses are adults.

Children get most vaccinations, but adults also need to stay up-to-date on certain immunizations like tetanus and diphtheria. Also, adults who never had chicken pox or measles as a kid should think about being vaccinated. Even if you had the vaccines as a kid, you should still consider being vaccinated because the vaccine could be well out of your system now. Most are effective for 10 to 20 years at most.

Childhood illnesses such as mumps, measles and chickenpox can cause problems in adults.

Immunizations cut the number of deaths and disabilities from infections such as whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Unvaccinated people put others at risk of developing serious complications.

Immunizations are also a vital part of health care for older adults, 65 years of age or older. You may be at greater risk for serious illness due to certain common infections, such as pneumonia. A yearly flu shot is also recommended and important because the flu can cause major issues, hospitalization and even death. The best time for getting your flu shot is in September through mid-November, due to the flu season lasting as long as April of the following year.

Adults with certain health conditions, who are planning to travel to foreign countries, may also need to be immunized. Always check with your doctor.

Did you know?

Some adults think the vaccines they received as children will protect them for the rest of their lives. Often this is true, except:

  • Some adults were never vaccinated as children
  • Newer vaccines were not on hand when some adults were children
  • Immunity can start to fade over time.
  • As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (e.g., flu, pneumonia). The treatment of these diseases also becomes much more complicated.

Which vaccines are recommended?

  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis): 1 dose every 10 years
  • Influenza (flu): 1 dose every year prior to flu season
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia): 1 dose if unvaccinated, have chronic conditions such as asthma or other respiratory illness, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes or if you are a cigarette smoker.
  • Hepatitis B: 3 doses in all. At birth, 1 month and six months to protect you from contracting the virus.

Learn the facts, share the facts and save lives:

Sources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Adult Immunization Schedule, 2011.
  2. Immunization Action Coalition (IAC). Summary of Recommendations for Adult Immunization, 2011.
  3. UI Healthcare. Immunizations for Seniors, 2011.

Categories: Get Healthy

woman and child reading orange callout

Sign up for our eNewsletter

Get HAP’s Balanced Living blog delivered right to your inbox. You’ll get the latest health and wellness news, tips, advice from HAP experts, and helpful ideas to improve your well-being.