When you think of vaccines, images likely flash through your mind of your childhood, with the big scary needle, lots of tears and the cartoon character Band-Aid and cookie you got afterward. But vaccines are not just for children; adults need them to stay healthy, too.
While vaccinations are not required as routinely as they are in your younger years, the types of vaccines you need all depend on your age, which vaccines you’ve already had, and other lifestyle factors.
Here are the top eight reasons to get your immunizations updated now.
You Didn’t Get Completely Vaccinated as a Child
Honestly, it depends on when you were born. Older adults may not have needed the same vaccine requirements children have today. Requirements have changed over the years—both age and dosages. Consult with your physician and provide any vaccination records you have, from as early in your life as you can access to get an idea of what you could be missing.
Some Vaccines Wear Off
They say nothing lasts forever, and this includes vaccines. Even if you got the complete series as a child, certain vaccines require a booster to maintain protection. Tetanus and whooping cough vaccines are among those that do not provide lifelong immunity.
Being Current with Vaccines Protects Others, Too
This is especially important if you’re around infants younger than 6 months, since babies that young cannot get certain vaccines. If you’re protected, it greatly decreases their exposure as well. Two vaccines that are recommended in particular are the whooping cough and the flu vaccines.
If You’re Traveling, You Might Need Them
If you’re planning to travel to a remote part of the world, you may need certain vaccinations before you are allowed to enter the country. These locales can expose you to illnesses you don’t have at home. Different destinations require different vaccinations. The CDC has a complete list you can consult here.
You May Need New Vaccines
New vaccines are constantly being developed and as they become approved by the FDA, it’s worth a discussion with your health care provider as to whether you should receive them. Two vaccines that have become available as recently as 2006 are the HPV vaccine and the shingles vaccine.
You Suffer From Chronic Illness
If you suffer from chronic conditions such as heart or lung disease, asthma, diabetes or anything that compromises your immune system, being vaccinated can help protect you against further disease and infection.
Some Vaccines Are Just for Adults
The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years and older. The risk of shingles increases as a person ages.
You Work in Health Care
If you work in a health care environment and come in contact with ill patients on a regular basis, you probably are required to be as fully vaccinated as possible to protect yourself and others. In addition to being in contact with sick patients, you are also exposed to human bodily fluids which can transmit disease if you are not protected. Stay on top of your health and ask your health care provider at your next appointment what vaccinations you may need. Find a physician and make an appointment today!