Posted September 29, 2015 by Franciska Kiraly, M.D.
As children we endured an endless barrage of shots/vaccinations as we hit certain milestones. Visits to the doctor were pleasant if there were no S-H-O-T-S scheduled. As adults we don’t think about vaccinations very often – perhaps it’s a protection mechanism – recalling the trauma of childhood. Yet, there are some very important vaccinations to get as adults to help prevent diseases and their painful consequences. Here are a few important ones to consider:
Let’s start with one that people actually ask about regularly, the shingles vaccine. Often these are people who have known someone diagnosed with shingles and have heard the horror stories about the pain that follows the rash. It is recommended for adults after the age of 60. Getting the vaccine will help reduce the chances of having shingles and pain that often lingers.
There are two variations of the “tetanus shot” – both Tdap and Td contain vaccines against tetanus and diphtheria, but Tdap provides the added protection against pertussis, or “whooping cough.” A tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years for all adults 18 and over. If you have never had the Tdap, it should be substituted in place of a regular Td – and will help boost your immunity to whooping cough.
Tetanus caused by bacteria, can lead to muscle tightening and stiffness throughout the body.
Diphtheria is rare, but can cause breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis and death.
Pertussis can lead to coughing spells, vomiting, difficulty breathing and lead to hospitalizations.
Pneumococcal vaccination to help prevent pneumonia is recommended after age 65 or sooner if you have certain medical conditions. There are two common types – Prevnar 13, protects against 13 strains of bacteria that can lead to pneumonia and Pneumovax 23, protects against 23 strains.
The flu shot is recommended yearly starting in the fall and through the winter. There are several different options available for administration so talk with your doctor about which one is best for you. Getting the flu shot can also help reduce your chances of developing a pneumonia.
These are a few of the most common vaccinations for adults. Depending on your age, prior medical conditions and vaccination history there may be more specific vaccination recommendations. Be proactive, talk with your primary care doctor and be sure to ask him/her what vaccinations might be important to consider for your good health.
Franciska Kiraly, M.D.
Summa Physicians Inc. – Internal Medicine