Vaccines are not just for kids. Adults need certain vaccines too. In fact, vaccines are an important step in protecting adults against getting and spreading serious diseases. Even if you were vaccinated at a younger age, the protection from some vaccines can wear off with time.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults get the following vaccines:
• Influenza (flu) vaccine: every year to protect against seasonal flu.
• Td vaccine (tetanus and diphtheria): every 10 years to protect against tetanus.
• Tdap vaccine: one time as an adult to protect against tetanus and diphtheria plus pertussis (whooping cough). Women should get a Tdap during each pregnancy.
You also may be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases due to your age, vaccine history, job, lifestyle, or health conditions. Vaccines you may need include those that protect against:
• Human papillomavirus
• Pneumococcal disease
• Meningococcal disease
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Chickenpox (varicella)
• Measles, mumps, rubella
Adults who travel outside the U.S. may be at risk for other vaccine-preventable diseases such as yellow fever and typhoid. For more information on travel vaccines, see www.cdc.gov/travel.
Your need for immunizations doesn’t end when you become an adult. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you are up to date on the vaccines that are recommended for you. Get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones. For more information on adult immunizations, see www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults.
Allison Gosbin, RN, BSN, CIC, is a public health nurse with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.