Vaccines You Need as an Adult

There has always been controversy surrounding vaccinations. Stories on the news often feature parents who refuse to vaccinate children and the backlash that ensues.

However, vaccinations are a useful tool to lower the chances of catching preventable diseases. A vaccine is a treatment made of weakened or dead germs from a disease. When you inject it into the body, you are exposed to an incredibly weak dose of the foreign entity. Your body recognizes the antigen and creates antibodies as a result. These antibodies are kept in the body to fight off the disease, should you ever be exposed to it in your daily life.

Vaccines are used to help you build immunity to diseases like chickenpox or the common cold that happens each year. You may think that as an adult your immune system is unbeatable, however you are still vulnerable to becoming ill. Viruses and bacteria that cause colds are continually mutating, generating new ways to infect people each year. To avoid contracting easily preventable diseases, here is a list of vaccinations you should get, even as an adult.

Why get vaccinations?

You may have the mindset that when you do not get vaccinations, you do not get sick. This is a false assumption, however. There are many reasons to invest in vaccinations beyond your well-being. By getting the vaccinations as scheduled, you lower your risk for infection, which means you prevent possible medical bills in the future. If you avoid the vaccine, you are at risk of worse complications later, which can be costlier in the future when you are hospitalized. Additionally, when you are vaccinated, you are keeping your loved ones safe. While you may have an excellent immune system, your loved ones may not. You may end up accidentally bringing home viruses that do not cause you to be ill but can compromise their health.  The elderly and the very young are always at an increased risk of becoming ill.

HPV Vaccine

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, which is a form of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine was created to reduce the risk of contracting the virus which can also lead to genital warts. The name of the vaccine is Gardasil 9. Doctors recommend that both males and females through 45 years of age take this vaccine. Since the creation of this vaccine, the number of reported cases for cervical cancer in women has decreased sharply.

Tdap Vaccine

The Tdap vaccine covers a variety of different diseases including tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria. In most cases you should have been vaccinated as a child in the U.S. In the event that you were an adolescent when you received the shot, you should have a booster shot every 10 years to continue the protection. When you are pregnant and between 27 to 36 weeks, you will be encouraged to have this booster. This is because whooping cough is quite serious for young babies but due to the new immune system, babies cannot receive shots until they are six to eight weeks old. By vaccinating you, the antibodies against these diseases is passed along to the unborn child to protect it during the first few months of life.

Shingles Vaccine

The Shingles virus has made headlines repeatedly in the past few years. Shingles is a blistering rash that localizes on the sides or face of the body and is quite painful. Reports indicate if you have had chickenpox, you are at an increased risk for expressing the Shingles virus. This is due to the shingles virus and chickenpox virus being of the same variety. Once you have contracted chickenpox, the virus lays inactive in nervous tissue and has an increased chance of being activated later in life. If you are over the age of 40, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you get the vaccination (Shingrix). There are two doses that are administered six months apart. There is a different vaccination called Zostavax, however, that is less effective than Shingrix.

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Pneumococcal disease is a common illness, which if left untreated, can be fatal. This virus leads to the development of pneumonia and meningitis, which most often impact adults who are 65 years of age or older. Other symptoms are ear infections, sinus infections, and bacteremia, which is an infection in the bloodstream. The CDC suggests that if you are over 65 or you are an adult with heart disease or diabetes that you take this vaccine. There are two different vaccines available: PCV13 and PPSV23. While these vaccinations do not completely eradicate the risk of contracting pneumococcal, it does significantly lower the chances of infection.

Flu Vaccine

The Influenza virus is one of the most highly variable viruses of which we are aware. Each year the virus mutates, different subtypes arise, and it infects thousands of people. The 2017 to 2018 period of the influenza virus was the worst seen since 2009. During that time period three different strains of the Influenza virus combined to create one of the highest epidemic rates. The mortality rates for the flu rose to 10.8 percent for the season, an exceedingly high percentage, with around 80,000 killed. This is why having a flu vaccination every year is crucial.

Each year researchers generate a new vaccine to combat the most active strains of the Influenza virus for the current season. Many people refuse to get the vaccine due to the misconception that is confers the disease. However, there are real benefits of the flu vaccine, and it helps build your immunity. Readily available, you can go to healthcare clinics to have the vaccine administered and be on your way in less than 30 minutes.

Travel Vaccines

If you are planning to travel at all during the year, you are advised to get your travel vaccinations. When you are staying in a new area, there are different types of bacteria and viruses to which your body has not been exposed. Additionally, there may be immunization requirements set forth by the country for all visitors. As you set your travel itinerary, look up the common vaccines recommended for the area you will be visiting.  The CDC always maintains comprehensive lists available for travelers to access. Some of the common recommended vaccines are for typhoid, cholera and yellow fever.

Related Article: The Benefits of Preventive Immunizations

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