5 of the Most Common Vaccines for Adults and Why You Need Them
While you may have had all your basic vaccinations when you were a child, as an adult, there are still several immunizations you need to stay healthy and avoid serious health complications. For evidence, just look at the statistics:
- On average, around 400,000 Americans have experienced flu-related hospitalizations since 2010. During that period, the flu also killed more than 56,000 Americans, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.
- Approximately 1 out of every 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime.
- HPV – the human papillomavirus – is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women will experience the virus at some point.
However, the good news is that you can still protect yourself by getting the vaccinations you need before it’s too late.
Which immunizations do you need? That’s partially determined by your risk factors, your age and your lifestyle. For example, those who frequently travel abroad may need certain vaccinations because they are more likely to be exposed to certain diseases.
5 of the Most Common Adult Vaccines
1. THE FLU VACCINE
If the statistics above weren’t sobering enough for you, keep in mind that the flu also accounts for millions of dollars in lost productivity and job revenue every year. Even if you wash your hands and follow all precautions, your coworkers may not be as diligent. Worse, some may come to work while exhibiting flu symptoms, exposing everyone in your office to the virus.
Who should get a flu vaccination?
With a few exceptions, every adult needs a flu vaccination annually, and at Raleigh Medical Group, we will be happy to help you. The flu can cause serious complications, and it’s very important for your overall health to get one at the start of flu season.
Those who should NOT have the flu shot include anyone with allergies to any component of the vaccine—such as egg protein. Those who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome or those who are currently sick should also forgo the vaccine.
Want to know more about the flu? We have an extensive library of information you’ll find interesting:
Does the Flu Shot Cause the Flu? Separate Fact from Fiction this Flu Season
How Much Do You Know About the Flu? Take Our Quiz to Find Out
Six Reasons to Get Your Flu Shot Right Now
2. THE MENINGITIS VACCINE
Meningitis is a serious disease in which the membranes of the brain and spinal cord are inflamed. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Certain injuries, drugs or types of cancer can also cause meningitis.
Bacterial meningitis is very serious— while most people recover, meningitis can cause permanent and often disabling problems such as brain damage and serious learning difficulties. However, you can also die within a matter of hours.
Symptoms of meningitis include:
- Stiff neck
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
The meningitis vaccine is administered by our Cary location, Cary Medical Group.
Who should get the meningitis vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults who are at risk should get the immunization. This includes:
- Any adult who is not currently up-to-date with this immunization.
- Those who will be living in close quarters, such as college students or military recruits.
- Those traveling to countries where the disease is prevalent.
- Anyone who has had a spleen removed or damaged.
- Those with HIV.
- Those who are in an area where an outbreak has occurred.
We will be happy to help you evaluate whether or not the meningitis vaccine is appropriate for you.
3. THE PNEUMONIA VACCINE
Pneumonia is caused by an infection which makes the lungs’ air sacs fill with fluid. Many people with pneumonia are able to recover with treatment–however, for those with weakened immune systems or those over 65, it can be life-threatening. This disease kills thousands of Americans each year, so this should be taken very seriously.
Who should have the pneumonia vaccine?
Essentially, all adults 65 or older should have the pneumonia vaccine, although there are some situations in which younger adults should have it as well. Those who are 19 through 64 who are at greater risk of contracting pneumonia are:
- Those who smoke
- Those who have diabetes
- Those with chronic illnesses
- Those with a compromised immune systems
4. THE SHINGLES VACCINE
If you have had chicken pox, you are at greater risk of developing shingles, a disease that causes a rash and postherpetic neuralgia (severe pain) in the areas where the rash appeared. Roughly 1 out of 3 Americans will develop shingles, and while it is possible to get shingles multiple times, most only have it once, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control.
Who should get the shingles vaccine?
Any healthy adult who is 50 or older should get the vaccine. Your risk of shingles gradually increases as you age.
5. HPV – THE HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS VACCINE
Almost all sexually active men and women have had HPV at some point, putting them at higher risk for certain type of cancers. HPV is not just one virus, but a group of more than 150. These viruses can cause several diseases such as:
- Genital warts
- Cancer of the:
- Mouth or throat
- Vagina and vulva
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
While HPV vaccination is recommended for girls and boys ages 11 – 12 years old, young adults who didn’t start or finish the vaccination series should be immunized.
According to the Centers for Disease Control:
- Young women can get the HPV vaccine until they turn 27 years old.
- Young men should get the vaccine until they are 22. However, those who have weakened immune systems should get HPV vaccinations until they are 27.
- Transgender individuals should get the HPV vaccine until they are 27.
Did you have the TDAP vaccine as a teen? If not, you should have it.
You should have the TDAP vaccine if you didn’t receive it as a teen. This protects you from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough).
- Tetanus (also called lockjaw) is caused by a type of bacteria found in soil, saliva, dust and manure. It usually develops after being cut with a knife, nail or other object. If not treated, it can cause painful, tight muscles throughout the body. Eventually, the jaw muscles will lock, making it impossible to open your mouth or swallow.
- Diphtheria causes a sore throat, chills, swollen glands and a fever. If it’s not treated in a timely manner, it can cause heart failure, paralysis or other complications.
- Whooping cough (pertussis) is much more common in infants, but adults can still catch it. The disease gets its name from the noise made by taking a breath after an intense period of coughing. Whooping cough (pertussis) can be deadly, especially for children under one year old. It is recommended that all adults have a TDAP shot to protect against pertussis.
We recommend having a diphtheria booster shot every 10 years. Women should have the TDAP vaccine during each pregnancy, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks. A tetanus booster should be given every 10 years after the initial shot or any time there is a severe cut or burn.
Traveling to another country? You may need specific vaccinations.
If you’re traveling to certain countries, you may need additional immunizations against diseases such as yellow fever, polio and cholera. Not sure which ones you should get? The Centers for Disease Control has a comprehensive list on their Traveler’s Health webpage.
Raleigh Medical Group provides the immunizations you need.
At Raleigh Medical Group, we specialize in providing an extensive array of vaccinations including those that are listed above. We believe that immunizations are an important part of maintaining your health. If you have any questions about what vaccines you may want or you need additional information, please schedule an appointment.