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The 7 Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

As adults, we often avoid vaccines, thinking they’re just for kids. We may worry that vaccines aren’t safe or can make us sick. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Vaccine-preventable diseases kill close to 50,000 adults every year. The cost to treat preventable disease can be as much as 26 billion dollars a year. And remember, when you vaccinate yourself, you’re doing more than just protecting your own health. You are actually part of a wall of protection around your children, your parents, and other vulnerable people you love.

Dr. Martinez and our team at People’s Care Health Systems want you to know which vaccines you need, so here’s a handy list.

1.     Influenza

The flu is more than just an excuse to take a couple of days off from work. According to the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, it’s a major illness that affects over 24 million people every year. While you may not know someone who has been hospitalized or died from the flu, you probably know someone who’s had to take time off work to get over it.

It takes about two weeks after your flu shot for your body makes antibodies that begin protecting you from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests getting your flu shot before October, if possible, but getting it later still protects you.

So why did you get the flu shot, and still catch the flu? Since the strains of influenza mutate so quickly, researchers try to predict which ones will be active for almost a year in advance. Sometimes they get it wrong.

2.     Chickenpox

Adults who get chickenpox have a much harder time with the disease than children. They run a higher risk of complications such as encephalitis or sepsis, either of which can kill. The chickenpox vaccine is given in two parts. It’s not totally effective in preventing the disease, but if you catch chickenpox, it will be a very mild case with few sores and little to no fever.

3.     Shingles

But if you had chickenpox as a child, you still aren’t off the hook. Shingles is caused by the same virus, and almost 1 in 3 adults will struggle with shingles in their lifetime. Thankfully, there’s a vaccine, and the CDC recommends that every adult over 50 should get vaccinated against shingles. The vaccine is administered in two doses, 2-6 months apart, and you may need a booster every four years.

4. Tdap

This is the short name for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine. Many people get a tetanus shot after stepping on a nail or getting a wound. At one time, people called it “lockjaw” because the disease caused swelling in the joints, including the jaw, and made movement difficult.

Diphtheria is almost extinct, largely because of this common vaccine. Pertussis is the most common and dangerous for babies and anyone who is immune-compromised. Commonly known as a whooping cough, The CDC Pink Book states that almost 20,000 people get this disease every year. You should get a fresh Tdap every ten years.

5.     HPV

There are many different types of the human papillomavirus and some of them can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Every year more than 30,000 people contract cancer due to HPV. This vaccine is normally only given in adults up until age 26 as is recommended for certain adults. If you’re a young adult in this age group, talk with your doctor about whether this vaccine is right for you.

6.     MMR

Like the Tdap, MMR is a multiple vaccine that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, sometimes called German measles. Most people who were vaccinated as children will not need to get another dose. However, if you were vaccinated before 1979, you should check with us about getting a booster of this important vaccine.

7.     Pneumonia

While this vaccine won’t protect you from bacterial pneumonia, it will protect from the faster-acting viral form that can be just as dangerous. People who smoke, have asthma, or who have other health issues should get this vaccine every year.

Every one of these vaccines is offered at our office. Dr. Martinez can help you decide which vaccines you need and which might still be active from your childhood shots. She can help you set up an immunization schedule that works with your schedule. Call us or book online today for an appointment.

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Timing your flu shot is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from this sometimes deadly disease. Check in with Dr. Martinez earlier rather than later to give your health a shot in the arm.