Every parent knows that children need vaccinations for their health. In fact, most vaccinations are required for children who will attend school outside of the home. What many parents don’t know is that they need vaccinations, too. If you’re an adult and haven’t received an inoculation since you were a little one, it’s time to head to your doctor.
Here are five vaccinations every adult should have:
The flu is a viral infection that can be life threatening in certain situations. It is suggested by the Mayo Clinic that every healthy adult receive a seasonal flu vaccine. The vaccination should be sought every September or as soon as the vaccine becomes available at your local health care clinic or drug store. The vaccine is available as a shot or nasal spray. Pregnant women should opt for the shot and those 65 or older should ask their doctor about a higher-dose shot. If you have had a reaction to the vaccination previously, speak to your health care provider before getting vaccinated again.
2. Hepatitis B
If you work in the medical field, as a teacher or with an inmate population, you should be vaccinated against Hepatitis B. The vaccine is given over a series of three shots, spaced months apart. Though the hepatitis B vaccine doesn’t guarantee immunity for everyone, it guarantees immunity for a high enough number of people that it is widely recommended. In fact, some state laws mandate this series of vaccines for people in certain occupations.
3. Pneumococcal Disease
If you are over the age of 64, have a chronic illness, no longer have a spleen, are a smoker, live in an assisted care facility or have a weakened immune system, it is highly recommended that you receive a pneumococcal disease vaccination. This disease can take on a variety of forms, including meningitis and pneumonia. The disease can also be the source of bloodstream infections. Unless you are currently suffering with an illness, the vaccination is recommended for all seniors. If you have not been vaccinated for pneumococcal disease, speak to your health care provider about your risks.
4. Childhood Vaccinations
There are a variety of vaccinations that are given to children. These vaccines include those for tetanus, chickenpox and mumps, among others. If you didn’t receive these vaccinations as a child or didn’t finish any series of vaccines, it’s important that you get vaccinated as an adult. Many of these diseases carry much greater risk of contracted by an adult. Some, unfortunately, may even cause death. If you are unsure if you received these vaccinations as a child or don’t have access to your vaccination history, talk to your doctor about which vaccines you may need.
5. Human Papillomavirus
If you are a man or woman under the age of 26, it is suggested that you be vaccinated against human papillomavirus. Because this vaccine is relatively new, most young adults did not receive it as children. The vaccine can help protect adults against genital warts and, in the case of women, cancer of the cervix. Like hepatitis B, this vaccine is given in a series of three shots. You will receive one shot, a booster two months later and then another booster six months after your first vaccine.
Don’t assume that you have been properly vaccinated. There are many adult-specific vaccinations that you may need or that your doctor may recommend. Speak to your health care provider at your next yearly check-up and inquire as to which vaccinations are appropriate for you.