Although most people consider vaccinations something children need, a significant number of American adults fall victim to a serious illness each year. That’s a shame, because some of this sickness could be prevented with immunizations. Lost time at work, medical bills, and pain and suffering may be avoided when you make sure you’re up to date on six important vaccines.
Not only can getting vaccinated save you from getting sick yourself, but it may also reduce the chances of those around you becoming ill. Infants, very young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are at risk for serious complications, and even death, from these preventable illnesses. So if you’re a grandparent or take care of an elderly parent, staying current on vaccines is especially critical.
Vaccines for adults
All adults, especially parents and grandparents, need to be vaccinated. The CDC advises half a dozen specific vaccines for adults, including the ones for the flu and pneumonia.
Here’s a look at the six important vaccines every adult needs.
1. Tdap or Td
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) are highly contagious and life-threatening, especially for infants under six weeks of age. You may have received the Tdap vaccine when you were a child. However, it’s been shown that over time, the vaccine loses its effectiveness, which leaves you and those around you unprotected.
If it’s been more than 10 years since you’ve had this vaccine, and you’re healthy enough to receive it, schedule your vaccination as soon as you can. Most adults can get a Td, but if you’re over 65 and around infants, you may need the Tdap, which includes the whooping cough component.
This vaccine protects against measles, mumps, and rubella. All three are highly contagious and pose serious health risks. Because not everyone is diligent in getting these immunizations, measles is on the rise in the United States.
If you’re unsure whether or not you’re immune to this trio of diseases, contact our office and we can check your medical records. If you’re traveling outside of the country, or you’re a college student, healthcare employee, or teacher, contact us to see if you need the vaccine.
Prior to 1995 the chickenpox vaccine wasn’t part of the recommended immunizations for children. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started recommending all children be vaccinated against the chickenpox virus, the disease is at an all-time low. If you weren’t immunized against chickenpox, and you suspect you’ve never had the disease, contact us to schedule your two shots, given 28 days apart.
4. Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis A and B impact the lives of 2,000-3,000 individuals each year. As infections of the liver, both Hepatitis A and B can cause lifelong, often irreparable, liver damage. Protect yourself for up to 25 years by scheduling a Hepatitis A and B vaccination. It’s especially important if you’re at higher risk for hepatitis because you travel abroad, care for someone with hepatitis, have a liver disease, or certain other factors. If you’re not sure if you need this vaccine, Dr. Razzaq-Ahmed can advise you.
Doctors agree that the easiest way to curb the spread of deadly influenza is through the flu vaccine. You can cut your risk of coming down with the flu by about half by simply getting vaccinated. And if you’re vaccinated and still get the flu, it’s likely to be a much shorter, less severe case. You'll need a flu shot each year as the strains of the viruses change and evolve from one flu season to the next.
The pneumococcal vaccine protects you from the virus that causes pneumonia. Upwards of 1 million Americans are hospitalized due to pneumonia each year. Vulnerable groups, such as infants, young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, are especially at risk for complications from the virus, such as meningitis and blood infections. The vaccine is available for your protection and the protection of those around you.
If you think you need any of these vaccines, Dr. Razzaq-Ahmed and our staff are happy to schedule you for the necessary shots. Just call our office in East Meadow, New York, or click the “book online” button to get started.