Adult vaccines, especially for seniors is an important part of a health regimen. For example, The CDC (Centers For Disease Control) and flu experts recommend that just about everyone get a flu vaccination every year. Why? Each year’s vaccine is based on the three or four strains of influenza virus that are expected to be widespread that season. Short on time? No problem. Flu shots are available at supermarkets, pharmacies, schools, and churches, as well as doctors’ offices. And you can get one anytime during flu season.
Adult Vaccines: Tetanus Shots
The bacteria that cause tetanus enter the body through wounds or cuts. Tetanus can lead to severe muscle spasms, stiffness, and lockjaw. A one-time Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) vaccine and a Td (tetanus-diphtheria) booster every 10 years are all it takes to prevent it.
Adult Vaccines: Chickenpox
If you’ve avoided chickenpox (varicella) so far, don’t push your luck. You can still get it by being in a room with someone who has it. Adults with chickenpox have a higher risk of complications, hospitalization, and death. For example, varicella pneumonia may be more severe in pregnant women and is a medical emergency. Untreated, almost half of pregnant women with varicella pneumonia die.
Since chickenpox puts you at risk for shingles, chickenpox vaccine may offer some protection against shingles, too. It also reduces risk of infection in the community, especially among those who are susceptible but can’t be vaccinated, such as pregnant women. Two doses of the vaccine are administered four to eight weeks apart to people 13 and older.
Adult Vaccines: Shingles Protection: Important After 60
The virus that gave you chickenpox as a child can strike again as shingles or “herpes zoster” when you’re an adult. Most common after age 60, the painful, blistering shingles rash can damage your eyes and cause long-term pain called postherpetic neuralgia. If you get this rash, you can also infect others with chickenpox. If you’re 60 or older, a one-dose vaccine is recommended to prevent shingles.
Adult Vaccines: Meningitis
Young adults who live in military barracks or college dorms, travelers to certain areas, and some people, such as seniors, with weakened immune systems are among those who should be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. Each year in the United States, about 1 in 10 people who get meningococcal disease die. Many others suffer brain damage or hearing loss.
Adult Vaccines: Pneumonia
An adult pneumonia vaccine protects against almost all pneumococcal bacteria that can cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and meningitis. Pneumococcal pneumonia can be severe and deadly, killing about 50,000 adults every year. It can also cause bacterial meningitis.
It’s recommended if you’re over 65. Also, if you’re 2-64 and smoke or have asthma, a chronic illness, or a weakened immune system.
Adult Vaccines: Measles, Mumps, Rubella
The “Big 3” childhood diseases; measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) — can hit harder when you’re an adult. One MMR vaccine protects against all three. Most American adults have either had the measles or been vaccinated against it. If you haven’t, you’re still at risk for this highly infectious virus. Even worse, you may be at risk of serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.