Our need for immunization doesn’t end when we become adults. Immunity from the vaccines we took from childhood can wear off, and this makes us vulnerable to new and different strains of viruses and diseases. We also have to keep in mind that some vaccines and their recommendations may change over the years. There are some specific shots that we need as an adult depending on our age, lifestyle, overall health, pregnancy status, and travel plans.
Here’s a checklist of the vaccines we need to make sure we’re up to date on.
All adults should get one dose of flu shot every year, especially pregnant women or those who are planning to get pregnant. According to doctors, this is the best protection against severe flu. But flu viruses are always changing, so flu vaccines require updating every year. A word of warning: those allergic to the flu vaccine, eggs, and those who suffer from Guillain-Barre syndrome should ask for their physician’s recommendation first before getting it.
This vaccine safeguards anyone against Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Whooping Cough), which are all considered life-threatening diseases. Those who had the initial series of tetanus vaccines (Td) as a child would need a booster every 10 years. Adults who have not received a Tdap shot should get one in their lifetime. It is especially critical for all pregnant women to get Tdap vaccine to provide their baby a short-term protection from whooping cough.
Hepatitis A and B
Thousands of people get infected by Hepatitis A and B viruses each year. The risk of contracting these deadly liver diseases can be minimized by getting HepA and HepB shots. These vaccines can provide immunity for up to 25 years. They are recommended for everyone, especially those who are traveling in countries with high levels of endemic Hepatitis infection. Those who suffer from chronic liver disease should also take two doses of the vaccine.
This vaccine is relatively new and it is one of the most recommended for women. This is the best way to prevent getting infected by the Human papillomavirus, which causes cervical and vulvar cancer. Girls at a young age of 12 are highly encouraged to get vaccinated, so they’re protected even before being exposed to the virus. Those who were not able to get it when they were younger may still take it until the age of 26. HPV vaccine comes in three doses which are given over a six-month period.
Adults who have weak immune systems should consider getting this vaccine. It boosts their defense against certain types of meningitis, pneumonia, and blood infections such as sepsis. Students who live in residence halls and are at close contact with different people are more prone to bacterial infections, so it’s important for them to receive a dose of Meningococcal vaccine.
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