The shots we got as kids boosted our immunity to many diseases. But that immunity wears off as we age. Plus, some diseases are more likely to cause problems for us the older we get.
Your annual wellness visit is a good time to talk with your doctor about vaccines. The doctor can tell you what you need based on your age, health condition, job, lifestyle, and travel habits.
There are at least two vaccines that all adults should get:
- An annual flu vaccine
- Td or Tdap for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (every ten years)
If you’re over 50, your doctor might recommend the shingles vaccine
Each year, 1 million Americans get shingles—an illness that causes a painful, blistering rash and affects people differently. Some develop severe nerve pain that continues long after the rash clears up. Serious complications like blindness can occur.
The risk of getting shingles and developing serious complications increases with age. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends healthy adults age 50 and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine.
Take a look at our preventive healthcare schedule which includes suggested vaccines for adults.
Where to get vaccines
Your doctor’s office isn’t the only option. Many pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, and even schools and churches provide vaccinations.
Let your primary doctor know if you get a vaccine outside of their office so your health record is up to date.
Why get vaccines
In short, they can protect against vaccine-preventable adult diseases. Check out these U.S. statistics from the CDC:
- 700,000 to 1.4 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis B, with complications like liver cancer.
- 900,000 people get pneumococcal pneumonia every year. That’s nearly 1 million people! As many as 400,000 people need to stay in the hospital, and 19,000 die.
- Every year, 27,000 cancers in women and men are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). About 4,000 women die from resulting cervical cancer.
- Since 2010, the flu has led to between 140,000 and 710,000 hospital stays. And from 12,000 to 56,000 deaths.
Vaccines are the safest and most effective ways to protect your health
They go through strict testing before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves them for use. But monitoring doesn’t stop there. The CDC and the FDA continue to track the safety of all immunizations.
Talk with your doctor about the vaccines you should receive based on your health and lifestyle.