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Adult Immunizations: Do You Need One?


If you haven’t been to the doctor in years, you may be in for a surprise: it may be time to get a “booster” shot, a dose of a vaccine that you may have gotten when you were a child. Why do you need another one? Well, vaccines don’t last forever, and because some bacteria and viruses have been known to mutate over time. Check this list and get yourself to the doctor’s office if you’re due for a vaccine upgrade.

They’re not just for kids—check and see if you need a booster

If you haven’t been to the doctor in years, you may be in for a surprise: it may be time to get a “booster” shot, a dose of a vaccine that you may have gotten when you were a child.

Why do you need another one? Well, vaccines don’t last forever, and because some bacteria and viruses have been known to mutate over time, the shot that was good enough to keep you well when you were a toddler may not be effective against new strains of the same old disease causers. Check this list and get yourself to the doctor’s office if you’re due for a vaccine upgrade.

Pneumonia. This viral infection can compromise the cardiovascular and nervous systems, and lead to inflamed lungs and middle ear illnesses.  Out of all the other diseases that can be prevented by a vaccine, pneumonia is the number one killer.
Do You Need a Booster? Yes, if you’re a senior citizen over the age of 65, or if you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Influenza. Also known as the flu, this viral infection impacts the lungs, nose, and throat. Fatigue, body aches, post-nasal drip, and a nagging cough are among the common symptoms. 

Do You Need a Booster? If you’re pregnant during the height of flu season, work in a hospital or act as a caregiver for someone with a grave illness, or are over the age of 50, a flu shot is a good idea. Don’t like needles? The vaccine can also be given through a nasal spray.

Chicken Pox. This common childhood virus causes an itchy rash and can also produce symptoms of exhaustion and high body temperatures. In adults in particular, it can lead to shingles.

Do You Need a Booster? If you were lucky enough to avoid chicken pox as a child, you definitely need the booster. Women of child-bearing age and people who have young children or are around children regularly (day care workers, grade school teachers, etc.), should also have a booster shot.

Tetanus. One out of every ten cases of this bacterial disease leads to death. The best-case scenario? A painful tightening of muscles throughout the body, which is a condition that is commonly known as lockjaw.

Do You Need a Booster? If you’re over 40 and haven’t had a booster in ten years, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. Also, if you’ve sustained a deep laceration or wound in the last five years, you should get a booster shot immediately.

Remember, immunizations aren't just for kids. So the next time you go to the doctor, make sure to ask if you need a booster.

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