Vaccinations for Adults
- by Super User
While most of the immunizations we get during our lifetime we get as a child, it’s important to make sure we’re up-to-date as adults. Even healthy adults can get sick and pass diseases along to others like young or elderly family members.
Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease).
The Flu Shot
All adults should get an influenza (flu) vaccine each year to protect against seasonal flu.
Significant flu activity may begin as early as October and last as late as May in the United States. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu, so get your shot early.
Some people are at high risk of serious flu complications and it’s especially important these people get vaccinated. This includes older adults (65 and older), children younger than five, pregnant women and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Each year scientists develop new flu shots containing the strains they expect to be most virulent that season. This is just one more reason not to skip your flu shot each year. Depending on your insurance, low or no cost flu vaccinations are typically available through a quick appointment with your doctor.
Women should be up to date on their vaccinations before becoming pregnant. Pregnant women should get the pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, vaccine during pregnancy. They should also get the flu vaccine during pregnancy if they have not already received the flu vaccine for the current influenza season prior to pregnancy.
These vaccines protect the mother and her baby by preventing illnesses and complications. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy also allows the mother to pass some protection on to her baby. This immunity helps keep the baby healthy until it begins receiving its own series of immunizations.
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults age 50 and older. It is recommended that adults 65 and older also receive both pneumococcal vaccines (one or more pneumococcal vaccinations is recommended as well for some adults younger than 65 years who have certain medical conditions).
Adults may need other vaccines (such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B and HPV) depending on their age, occupation, travel, medical conditions, vaccinations they have already received or other considerations.
Talk to Your Doctor
Ask your doctor at your next checkup if there are vaccines you should be getting as an adult. Share your situation and any expected life changes like planning for a pregnancy, a new grandchild in the family or an international trip coming up. You can also learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adult Vaccination page.
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