Vaccines are usually associated with children, but the truth is that adults are at an equal risk of contracting serious infections due to lack of vaccinations. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) says that protection from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time and adults need a booster dose to keep the immune shield intact. Age, workplace, lifestyle, travel, or existing health conditions can all contribute to diseases, which is why the CDC recommends seven vaccines that every adult should be aware of.
1. Flu Vaccine
One in five American adults fall prey to the influenza bug each year. The current recommendations for annual flu shots as described by the CDC are for children under 18 years and adults over 50 years. Individuals, especially pregnant women and adults in the age group 19-46, fall in the high-risk zone and should get this vaccine.
2. Hepatitis B Vaccine
Getting a tattoo or body piercing and sharing razors can increase the risk of contracting hepatitis B among adults. The CDC recommends that adults above 18 years of age who didn’t complete his/her series of hepB vaccine should complete it with a catch-up vaccination as soon as possible. This vaccine is also recommended for all adults with diabetes above the age of 59 and for all healthcare workers who are prone to such infections on a daily basis.
3. Pneumococcal Vaccine
This vaccine is a sure shot shield against pneumococcal diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and blood infections. Adults over the age of 65 with an underlying health condition (heart condition, diabetes, liver disease) or those who smoke are especially prone to contracting pneumococcal diseases and should get the vaccination.
4. Meningitis Vaccine
Traveling abroad? Health experts usually advise getting a shot of this vaccine before cross-country travel, especially to regions where meningitis is common. Meningitis can lead to permanent brain damage, limb amputation or other severe complications. Those in the age group of 16-21 are at the highest risk of meningococcal disease and should ideally get this vaccine before their freshman year.
5. Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccine
Herpes Zoster also causes chicken pox and can stay quiet for years in your nerve cells before reawakening to cause shingles. Characterized by a localized painful skin rash, shingles is most common in adults who are 50 years and older and people with a compromised immune system.
6. Tdap Vaccine
You may have got a Tdap vaccine as part of your childhood immunization regime, which confers protection against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). This immunity wears off as we get older, which is why it is important to get a booster shot called Tdap every 10 years. Tdap is especially recommended for healthcare workers, care givers, family members (parents, grandparents and also babysitters) and pregnant women.
7. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine
HPV is responsible for cervical cancers, genital warts and anal cancer. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all adult females up to the age of 26 be given this vaccine to improve their immunity.
Always speak to your healthcare professional before getting vaccinated to determine what vaccines you need and when you should get them.