Health Beat: Adults need immunizations, too

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Immunizations are not just for kids. Regardless of age, we all need immunizations to keep us healthy. With time, immunity from childhood vaccines can wear off and you may be at risk for new and different diseases.

Find out which vaccines you need

The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, health conditions, locations of travel and previous immunizations. Throughout your adult life, you need immunizations to get and maintain protection against:

* Seasonal influenza (flu) (for all adults)

* Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) (for all adults who have not previously received the Tdap vaccine)

* Shingles (for adults 60 years and older)

* Pneumococcal disease (for adults 65 years and older and adults with specific health conditions)

* Hepatitis B infection (for adults who have diabetes or are at risk for hepatitis B)

Other vaccinations you may need include those that protect against human papillomavirus (which can cause certain cancers), hepatitis A, meningococcal disease, chickenpox (varicella), and measles, mumps and rubella.

Ask your doctor which vaccines are recommended for you.

Be the example

As adults, we must continue to maintain our own health because our families and loved ones depend on us to care for them and to teach them how to care for themselves. Immunizations are an important step in preventing illness and staying healthy. Be a positive role model. Get vaccinated.

Be an advocate

Encourage other adults in your family to find out which immunizations they may need to help protect against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Remind your family, friends, co-workers and those in the community to get vaccinated each year against seasonal influenza.

If they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, they protect themselves and those around them, especially babies too young to be vaccinated.

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