Through the marvel of modern medicine, we’ve come a long way in keeping dangerous communicable diseases away from the general population. By vaccinating against these illnesses, you keep yourself, your family, and everyone you meet safe from harm.
But if you’re missing one of the necessary vaccinations or its booster, you could be doing just the opposite.
Dr. Bhavani Jeereddy at Kenilworth Primary Care helps keep the Kenilworth community healthy and thriving by ensuring patients are up to date on their required vaccinations. She often finds adults mistakenly believe they don’t need any shots beyond those received during childhood. But that's not true.
Here's what you need to know about adult vaccinations and boosters.
The flu shot
The flu isn't just a bad cold, it’s a very serious illness that impacts millions of people worldwide and kills thousands. The flu vaccination can protect you from contracting this dangerous disease. But, you need to get a new shot every year because the virus constantly changes. Scientists around the world study the virus and determine which strain is likely to be most prevalent in every region, and they formulate specific vaccines for specific types of the virus.
The Tdap shot
For years, American children have been vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis) with a series of five shots included in the DTaP vaccination. But the effectiveness wears off over the years. That’s why you need a booster every 10 years.
Up until 2005, you had to get your tetanus and diphtheria shots once a decade, but there was no pertussis booster available. Now, you can get all three in the Tdap shot.
If you never had the series of shots as a kid or you’re due for a booster, we can give it to you here at Kenilworth Primary Care.
The HPV shot
If you’re between the ages of 11-26, we highly recommend you get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). In 2006, this vaccine became available to protect young adults from cervical and anal cancer and genital warts. Although there are more than 100 strains of the HPV virus, and the vaccine doesn’t protect you from all of them, it can help prevent several serious conditions.
Though originally formulated specifically for teenagers and young adults, the FDA recently approved a new vaccine that protects people aged 27-45.
Vaccinations specifically for senior adults
As you age, you may become more susceptible to disease and illness. In particular, there are a few serious conditions you want to steer clear from to maintain good health. Thankfully, there are vaccinations that can help you do just that.
Pneumonia is a serious lung infection that sends about 1.7 million people to the emergency room every year. We recommend all our patients over the age of 65 receive the pneumonia vaccine.
If you had chickenpox, the virus that caused it is still in your body. And if it’s triggered, you’ll get shingles, a very painful rash that itches and burns and lasts for weeks.
You can avoid those symptoms with the shingles vaccination for those who are 50 or older. Getting this vaccine may prevent you from shingles altogether, but if you do get it, you can expect only mild symptoms.
Maybe you never had chickenpox and therefore don't have that virus in your body. That means there's no need or the shingles shot. But, that means you’re still at risk for chickenpox, so we recommend you come in for the varicella vaccine.
Some vaccinations are only needed under certain circumstances. For example, if you’re traveling to a region that might have viruses your body isn't familiar with. Dr. Jeereddy can determine which shots you might need to keep you safe abroad.
If you’re an immigrant applying for a green card, you may be missing some vaccinations required in the United States. We can evaluate your history and help you complete your records.
While most adults benefit from vaccinations, there are some exceptions. Talk to Dr. Jeereddy if you’ve had allergic reactions to vaccinations in the past, and be sure to tell her about your current and past health.
If you still have questions about which vaccinations you need, contact our office today.