10 reasons adults should get vaccinations
Vaccines are not for children alone. Adults also need to be vaccinated and here are the reasons why:
1. You need a booster. Some vaccines require a booster if you want to remain protected. Protection may not be life-long for diseases like whooping cough or tetanus. The doctors recommend a booster for the latter every 10 years after an initial childhood series.
2. Getting vaccines helps protect your kids — especially babies too young for vaccines. Whooping cough vaccines are recommended for pregnant women (preferably between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation) and people who have contact with young babies. The same is true for the flu vaccine.
3. Some vaccines are just too good. The shingles vaccine is a good example. Shingles (also known as herpes zoster or zoster) is caused by a reactivation of the chickenpox virus. It can cause a severe and painful skin rash. The risk for shingles increases as a person ages. The vaccine is recommended for adults 60 and older.
4. Vaccines are good for you when you travel. Are you travelling to a developing world? You may run into illnesses you would never find at home. The yellow fever vaccination is required for travel to parts of sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. The Saudi Arabian government also requires the meningococcal vaccination — but only for travel during the hajj, or annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
5. We all need a flu vaccine, every year. Each year’s vaccination is designed to protect against the three or four strains of influenza anticipated to be most commonly circulated in the upcoming flu season.
6. You are setting good examples for your kids. Most children don’t have a choice about getting shots. But why should they be the only one getting stuck with a needle? Show them that prevention through vaccination.
7. Besides not everyone was, or is, fully vaccinated as a child. If you didn’t get vaccines for things like measles, mumps, and rubella or chickenpox (or varicella) as a child — or any of those diseases themselves — you need them as an adult.
8. New vaccines are springing up. Some vaccinations recommended for adults are fairly new. For instance, the FDA approved the first HPV vaccine and shingles vaccine in 2006.
9. Are you a healthcare professional? Health care providers are exposed to all sorts of potential infections, as well as blood and bodily fluids. Most are required to have not only a complete vaccination series and evidence of immunity, but also to get annual influenza vaccination. This includes things like measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and hepatitis B.
10. If you are asthmatic? Or have heart, lung disease, diabetes, or other chronic disease. Or you smoke cigarettes. Or your immune system is otherwise compromised. The pneumococcal vaccine helps prevent serious disease such as pneumonia, meningitis, and blood infection caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.