We are all good about taking our children to their well child checks and making sure that they have had all their immunizations. Unfortunately, once out of school, living busy adult lives we assume that our PCP’s will remember to immunize us at our annual exams. Sometimes that does happen and sometimes as we discuss other health concerns immunizations are over looked. Adults do need immunizations to protect themselves and their close contacts.
Routine immunizations include:
- Td: The tetanus shot that we all know to ask for if we step on a nail but that we all should get every 10 years.
- Tdap: A new Tetanus shot that also protects us from whooping cough. Most of us were immunized as children against this disease but that immunization has worn off and adults are at risk to catch this illness from children. While healthy adults are unlikely to die from this malady, we can spread it to infants or our friends who may be immunocompromised. All adults should receive at least one Tdap in their lifetimes.
- Shingles (Zostervax): Most people over the age of 50 have had the chicken pox as children which puts them at risk for Shingles. The chicken pox virus lives in our nerves and when we are stressed for any reason it can become reactivated and result in a very painful rash. All adults over age 50 should get the get the Shingles vaccine. Only one dose is required to confer lifelong immunity. While it does not guarantee that you will never get Shingles, if you have had the shot, the case you do get will be much less severe.
- Pneumovax: Pneumonia is a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection of the lungs. Although the Pneumovax does not prevent all cases of pneumonia, it does protect against a specific bacteria that can cause a severe infection. Smokers and patients with multiple medical problems should receive a Pneumonia immunization twice five years apart regardless of their age. Healthy adults should receive a single dose of pneumovax at age 65. This immunization cannot be given at the same time as the Shingles shot but can be given along with a flu shot.
If you are interested in receiving any of these vaccinations or are planning a trip and want to receive travel vaccines, come on in to a Doctor’s Express and discuss what you should be receiving from one of our provider staff.