Adults need vaccinations, too

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: January 2nd, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

So you’re not traveling to an exotic destination. You’re not young enough to be a member of the diaper brigade. And you’ve already had chicken pox. Think vaccinations aren’t for you? Think again!

Vaccinations help ward off a host of life-threatening illnesses that don’t discriminate on the basis of age. The flu, certain forms of pneumonia, and hepatitis A and B are among them.

Health experts warn that adults are actually much more likely than children to die of a vaccine-preventable ailment. Don’t assume childhood vaccinations will protect you, either. Immunity fades over time, and new vaccines are available today that weren’t years ago.

Consider having a flu shot every fall, especially if you work in health care or teach, or have a weakened immune system.

If it has been more than ten years since your last tetanus booster, see your doctor for another one.

Health-care workers and others in high-risk categories should receive the hepatitis B vaccine, as should anyone younger than eighteen.

The hepatitis A shot is important for international travelers. Many infectious diseases are much more common in some other countries than in the United States.

And for those of you who are worried about a bird-flu pandemic, no vaccines are on the market, but the FDA has recently approved one to keep stockpiled, just in case.

Finally, keep a permanent immunization record and ask your doctor whether you’re fully protected.

It’s better to get a shot than to let an illness have a shot at you.