Most of the vaccinations we need are acquired in the first few years of our lives, but certain vaccinations should be renewed annually and others, every few years.
Measles and mumps vaccines are a thing of the past; you likely received those as a child and you won’t need anymore shots for those illnesses. However, many adults fail to realize that their bodies need an overhaul of immune protection just like their children have, but later in life.
What Vaccines Have You Missed?
Over 60,000 adults die every year in the United States from illnesses that simple vaccines could have prevented.
For example, the flu vaccine should be administered every year, preferably in the autumn season just prior to the period when cold and flu are on the rise. The elderly are particularly at risk for contracting a serious case of the flu and potentially dying from it. Nearly 20,000 adults die every year from the flu, where the vaccine could’ve stopped it from happening.
So those 65 and above should get their flu shot annually just before cold season begins; as well as younger people who are prone to catching a cold or the flu, those with weak immune systems, and those with chronic diseases like heart disease, HIV or diabetes.
The pneumococcus vaccine protects against the pneumococcus bacterium, which infects half a million Americans and kills 40,000 every year. This bacterium causes pneumonia and other similar infections of the lungs, but the vaccine is effective enough so that you only need one shot which will last you the rest of your life. Those particularly susceptible to pneumococcal infections are AIDS patients, those with chronic diseases (especially lung and heart diseases), those who have undergone a splenectomy, and again those ages 65 and older.
This vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria up to 10 years, at which time you will need to have another shot. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that seizes the respiratory system so that breathing is very labored and high fever ensues. People normally only run to get a tetanus shot if they are bitten, cut with an unsanitary object, or come in contact with an infected or rabid animal. The truth is that unless you continue to receive regular shots once every decade, you may lose your protection against the potentially deadly diseases, tetanus and diphtheria.
Rubella (German Measles) Vaccine
The rubella vaccine is more uncommon and only required for certain people who are at risk, such as women who are trying to get pregnant or desire to get pregnant in the future, since rubella may cause extreme birth defects in their unborn children.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Finally, the hepatitis B vaccine is of great importance to those who are exposed to blood (those who receive transfusions, doctors, nurses, etc.), sexually active gay men, those who are sexually active with someone else who is infected, and intravenous drug users. Hepatitis is more prevalent than people realize (100 times more common than the AIDS virus) and easily transferable from one person to the next, so this vaccine is a must have.
Now that you know, don’t hesitate to get vaccinated for your own personal safety and that of those you love.