Remember when you hated going to the doctor because you knew you’d get a shot? Most likely, as you got older, you dreaded your annual visit less as you realized the needle looked much worse than the quick pinch it delivered. Most children finish their recommended immunizations by about age 6, except for an annual flu shot. Then the vaccines start up again in the pre-teen years with an HPV shot.
But your vaccinations shouldn’t end there. 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 keeping you healthy. In the United States, millions of adults get sick every year from vaccine-preventable diseases such as the flu and hepatitis A, leaving them bedridden and out of work for several days to several weeks. And even worse, every year about 50,000 adults die from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The providers at Bethel Medical Associates share the following adult vaccinations schedule, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to keep you and your family healthy.
You should get the flu (influenza) vaccination every year because new strains evolve, and the previous year’s shot may not protect you against this year’s flu viruses. Flu-related symptoms cause hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths every year.
Tdap and Td
A Tdap vaccination protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, all very serious diseases. If you didn’t receive a Tdap as a child, you should get one as an adult. Women should get a Tdap vaccine with every pregnancy to protect their unborn child against these three diseases. Adults should get a Td booster, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria, every 10 years.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, affects about a million people in the US every year. Anyone who had chickenpox as a child can develop shingles as an adult. Although people can develop shingles at any age, even young children, it’s more common in older adults. Therefore, all adults 60 years or older, even adults who have already had shingles, should get a shingles vaccine to protect against this painful and uncomfortable disease.
This vaccine protects against pneumococcal disease, a potentially serious condition in older adults. All adults 65 and older should get a dose of this vaccine. Adults younger than 65 with certain medical conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and chronic heart disease should consult with the providers at Bethel Medical Associates about when to get this vaccine and which type to get.
This vaccine protects against human papillomavirus, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Most people don’t develop health issues from HPV, but it can lead to genital warts and cancer. If you didn’t receive the appropriate amount of doses of this vaccine as a preteen, you should get a catch-up vaccine. This vaccine is recommended for women 26 or younger and men 21 or younger to lower the risk of getting HPV and subsequent health issues.
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and HiB
If you didn’t get these vaccines as a child or have certain conditions or lifestyle habits that put you at risk for developing these diseases, you should speak to the physicians at Bethel Medical Associates about whether you need them.
MMR and Chickenpox/Varicella
Many adults received these vaccines as children, but if you never did, you should speak to the physicians at Bethel Medical Associates about them.
If you need to get caught up on your vaccines or are not sure which ones you need, the providers at Bethel Medical Associates can help you figure out what you need to keep you and your family safe and healthy. Call or make an appointment online.