Many people don't realize the important role vaccines can play in keeping adults healthy. About 50,000 US adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.
If you are unsure which vaccines you need to have, Dr. Susanna Shermer has some advice in today's St. Vincent Corner Clinic Report.
Vaccines are important in adults for the same reason they are in children. Vaccine preventable diseases contribute significantly to illness and even deaths in our society every year. So being proactive is helpful in being able to reduce the problems.
"We recommend annual flu vaccines," says Shermer, "Also some less commonly thought of vaccinations are pneumonia vaccines, shingle vaccines, and even tetanus boosters."
At least once in your adult life, you need instead of a regular tetanus shot, you need a combination vaccine for tetanus and pertussis.
Who should get the pneumonia vaccineThe CDC recommends that the pneumonia vaccination is given to adults over the age of 65. However, new guidlelines suggest we use the pneumonia vaccine for anyone who is a smoker or with asthma or any other chronic lung conditions.
What about the shingles vaccine?
Shingles is actually a reactivation of the chicken pox virus that we were exposed to as children. Later in life, that reactivates as a shingles rash. So, it's important to get a shingles vaccine and protect against that problem.
We've mentioned vaccines for adults, how about young adults? Anything that they need to have?
The meningitis vaccine is important for college students going off to live in a dormitory setting and also for military recruits. People living in close quarters."
"Another important vaccine for young adults is the gardasil vaccine which protects again human papillomavirus. This is a virus that we now know causes most cases of cervical cancer as well as genital warts. So even beginning at 9 years of age, it's important to get the vaccine so we reduce the number of those diseases."
If you were vaccinated as a child, some of the protection from the vaccines can decrease over time. Plus, there are vaccines now available that may not have been available when you were a child. Everyone should keep a record of the vaccines they've received.