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Sunday, August 4, 2013

5 Important Vaccines for Adults

When you mention vaccines, most people think of children. But vaccines are for adults, too. Particularly as we grow older, vaccines can keep us healthy and protect us from diseases. Here are five important vaccines recommended for adults.

#1 Influenza

Most commonly known as the flu shot, protection against influenza is recommended for everyone, regardless of age. It is especially recommended for adults 65 and older, adults with medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, and adults who are at high risk of developing pneumonia or other serious health complications from the flu. There are stronger vaccines for people 65 and older.

#2 Shingles

Much attention has been given in the media recently about the risk of shingles in adults. Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles affects people 50 and over or adults who have compromised immune systems. The shingles vaccine is recommended especially for adults 60 and over.

#3. Hepatitis B

Adults who have diabetes or are at greater risk for Hepatitis B should get the Hepatitis B vaccine. High risk groups include pregnant women, health care providers and those who work in emergency rooms, sexually active gay men, adults with STD, kidney dialysis patients, and anyone using illicit drugs. Hepatitis can cause infection, liver cancer or failure and lead to death.

#4 Pneumococcal

Pneumococcal infection causes pneumonia and bacterial meningitis. The vaccine is recommended for all adults age 65 and older. In addition, it is recommended for anyone age 2 to 64 with heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes, alcoholism, cirrhosis, asthma, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma or leukemia, multiple myeloma, HIV infection or AIDS or organ transplant.

#5 Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)

This vaccine protects patients from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis diseases. Most people receive the vaccination as children, but the protection will lessen with time. So all adults 19 and older who have not previously received a Tdap vaccine should have a booster shot, along with a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster shot every 10 years.
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