Getting vaccines as a child or teenager is the norm. However, many adults don’t know they need certain immunizations and boosters as well. This guide from Downtown Medical Group can help you determine if you’re up to date on your vaccinations.
Vaccines every adult should have
The flu vaccine is probably the most well-known immunization for adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone older than six months of age should get a flu shot every year, unless you’ve been informed by your doctor that you should not get a flu shot due to allergies or another health condition.
Tetanus, pertussis, and diphtheria
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria. These diseases can be fatal if contracted, but they’re rare in the United States today because of vaccinations. The Td vaccine protects against tetanus and pertussis, but not diphtheria.
The CDC recommends that men and women ages 18 and older who did not get the Tdap vaccine as children get it once. The CDC also recommends that adults get the Td vaccine as well, and then every 10 years thereafter.
All pregnant women should get a Tdap shot in the third trimester, preferably between 27 weeks and 36 weeks of pregnancy. The Tdap shot is an effective and safe way to protect you and your baby from serious illness and complications of pertussis. You should get a Tdap shot during each pregnancy. It is also recommended that those around your newborn baby check with their doctor to make sure that their Tdap immunization is up to date before visiting.
Everyone should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) at least once. The HPV vaccine is most effective in adolescents who haven’t been exposed to the virus. If you’re an adult and haven’t been vaccinated, getting vaccinated may still be helpful, even if you have contracted an infection.
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) causes chickenpox, a highly contagious rash that used to be very common in the United States. It’s no longer as common because of effective vaccinations. If you’re an adult who hasn’t gotten the varicella vaccination, you can still benefit from the vaccine unless you have evidence of immunity.
Shingles is a painful disease that presents as a rash, and your risk of developing shingles increases as you get older. Anyone who’s had chickenpox can get shingles. The CDC recommends that anyone age 50 and older get the shingles vaccination.
The CDC says all adults ages 65 and older should get two doses of pneumococcal vaccination to protect against the variety of pneumococcal diseases. In some cases, such as diabetes and smoking, it is recommended to get a pneumococcal vaccination before the age of 65 years old. These diseases are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, and they can range from ear infections, to pneumonia, to meningitis and sepsis.
Most people get the meningococcal vaccination as children or teenagers. But in certain cases, men and women ages 18 and older need this vaccine or a booster of it. Examples include adults who are taking certain medications, adults with spleen damage, and adults who are not up to date with this vaccine or who need it for school or job requirements.
Measles, mumps, and rubella
The MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. Like most vaccines, people usually get the MMR vaccine as a child. Men and women ages 18 and older who only received one dose as a child instead of the recommended two doses may need a booster.
Hepatitis A and B
Any adults who have not previously been vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B should get vaccinated, according to the CDC. This is especially true if you come into contact with people who have hepatitis, travel to certain countries, are a man who has sexual relations with other men, have certain diseases, are homeless or have unstable housing, or if you use recreational drugs in any form.
If you’re wondering whether you need an immunization or booster, visit Downtown Medical Group as soon as you can. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.