You want to pass on family traditions, like a favorite cookie recipe, but no one wants to pass on a serious illness. Take charge of your health and help protect those around you by asking about vaccines at your next health care provider’s visit. Vaccinating our children is commonplace. But few adults know they need vaccines other than flu vaccine.
Each year, many adults needlessly suffer, are hospitalized, and even die because of diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. However, recent national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey showed that most U.S. adults are not even aware that they need vaccines throughout their lives to protect against diseases like pertussis, hepatitis, shingles and pneumococcal disease.
Not only can vaccine-preventable diseases make you very sick, you may risk spreading the disease to others. That’s a risk most of us do not want to take. Infants, older adults and people with weakened immune systems (like those undergoing cancer treatment) are especially vulnerable to infectious diseases. They are also more likely to have severe illness and complications if they do get sick.
You can help protect your health and the health of your loved ones by getting your recommended vaccines. The good news is that getting vaccinated is easier than you think. Adults can get vaccines at health care providers’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, and at the Lakeshore Community Health Care clinic. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of recommended vaccines.
What vaccines do you need?
All adults should get their annual flu vaccine to protect against flu and Td/ Tdap to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Some additional vaccines you may need (depending on age, health conditions and other factors) include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Meningococcal, Pneumococcal, and Shingles.
There may be additional vaccines you need depending on the location. Find out at www.cdc.gov/travel. Some travel-related vaccines are part of a series or are needed months prior to your travel to be most effective, so be sure to plan ahead.
This article was adapted from a July 2014 CDC article. For more info, please visit the cdc.gov, email them at PCDeditor@cdc.gov and/or call them at (404) 645-3355.
Cindy VanderWeele, BSN, RN is part of the Sheboygan County Immunization Coalition.