Vaccines are no more enjoyable to receive as an adult than they were when you were a child, but they’re equally as important. In the United States, millions of adults get sick every year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as the flu and hepatitis, leaving them bedridden and out of work for several days to several weeks. Even worse, about 50,000 of these ill illnesses could have been [redenied high a vaccination. dults die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
You've likely heard that you can never catch the same virus twice, so if you've had the flu, it may seem you're in the clear. However, many viruses make up the family of pathogens that we collectively call influenza, and those viruses frequently mutate to outsmart the vaccines of years past. That's why all adults should get a flu vaccine every year to ward off the flu viruses.
You probably received a tetanus shot as a child, but tetanus vaccines only work for about 10 years. To stay protected against a potentially dangerous tetanus bacterial infection, you should get this vaccine every 10 years. Tetanus attacks your airways, making it hard to breathe. Left untreated, painful spasms and lockjaw occur.
If you haven't had the chickenpox by the time you reach adulthood, getting the varicella vaccine may prevent this itchy, painful condition that could have you off work for as many as two weeks. It can prevent those with a weakened immune system or diabetes from ending up in the hospital with a particularly bad case. The varicella vaccine also reduces your risk of getting shingles later in life by as much as 50%.
Those over 60 should strongly consider a zoster vaccine unless they have a condition that counterindicates this vaccine like a weakened immune system or active cancer. This live vaccine wards of shingles, a painful virus-caused skin condition in older adults.
Doctors generally consider adults over the age of 55 to be immune to these diseases, which can cause serious lifelong hearing loss, heart problems, and more. If you're under 55, in most cases you have vaccine records showing that you received this vaccine as a child. However, if you were the child of parents who rejected vaccines or otherwise didn't keep you current on vaccines, it's possible you made it into adulthood without this vaccine, in which case Dr. Horton strongly recommends that you get this vaccine now.
This is another one that you may have received as a child, but if you did not, Dr. Horton strongly advises that you update your vaccines because of the severity of these conditions. These vaccines protect you from pneumococcal diseases which are prevalent in hospitals, dormitories, gyms, and other places where large numbers of people gather. They include:
Pneumococcal infections often respond poorly to antibiotics and are a leading cause of death in the hospital setting mostly among older adults, vulnerable young children, and people with weakened immune systems.
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, which is often caused by distinct viruses that damage the liver. This liver is responsible for removing toxins from your body. It helps you metabolize medications. This vaccine helps prevent lifelong, life-threatening liver damage.
This vaccine is a complement to a pneumococcal vaccine in that it helps prevent other forms of meningitis and pneumonia. Since the '90s, it's most often given to children under five, but, chances are, it wasn't available when you were a child. You can get it now to prevent these often life-threatening diseases.
Adults need vaccines too, and even if your parents didn't get you vaccinated as a child, it's not too late to make that choice for yourself by scheduling an appointment to update your vaccines as an adult. Contact Alpha Internal Medicine to schedule an appointment.