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5 Vaccines Every Adult Should Have

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Thanks to immunizations, Americans are largely protected against some very serious, and highly contagious, diseases before the age of 2. While many of these vaccines are designed to provide a lifetime of protection, there are some ongoing or additional immunizations adults should be aware of and stay on top of.

At Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic, our team of medical professionals partners with the New Albany, Mississippi, a community for good health. Whether it’s minor emergencies or preventive care, we have the medical tools and expertise you need to lead a healthy, happy life. And while you may think your immunization days were over after your first round as a child, we can still protect you against serious illness as an adult.

Here are five vaccines every adult should have, or consider, depending upon their circumstances.

1. Fight the flu

Every year, the influenza virus makes its rounds, sending millions of people around the country to their couches and beds with fever, body aches, and respiratory problems. To avoid these two weeks of misery, and the potential complications that can stem from a bad flu, a simple flu vaccine each year will serve you well.

The reason you need an annual flu vaccine is that new influenza strains are constantly evolving; each year, we try and stay one step ahead with a vaccine designed to stave off the latest strain. While not perfect, the flu vaccine boasts up to a 60% protection rate — great odds when you consider the alternative.

2. Shingles

If you had chickenpox as a child (which includes 98% of the population), that virus that causes it stays in your system, even though you successfully battled it off on the first go-around. As an adult, this virus can rear its ugly head again and cause shingles, especially as you get older. In fact, half of the population who had chickenpox will have a bout with shingles by the time they’re 85.

To protect you against a painful outbreak of shingles, we recommend a shingles vaccine for healthy adults over age 50. Called the recombinant zoster vaccine, this vaccination offers a 90% protection rate, and we administer it in two doses spread out over a few months. This new vaccine replaces the older live vaccine that some may have already received. Regardless of whether or not you had the old live vaccine or have had shingles previously, it is still recommended that you receive the newer recombinant vaccine.

3. Tdap

We give the DTaP vaccine, which covers diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough), to infants as a matter of course. But not all vaccines are designed to last a lifetime, so, as an adult, you should receive a Tdap booster vaccination against these very serious illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that whooping cough is on the rise again and tetanus is a dangerous disease in which 10-20% of cases are fatal.

We recommend that you get a full Tdap booster as an adult to shore up your protection, and a Td (tetanus and diphtheria) vaccine every 10 years after that.

4. Pneumococcal

This infection is what leads to pneumonia, which can be very serious the older you are. To give you an idea of the gravity of this disease, approximately 1 million Americans get pneumonia each year, which leads to 400,000 hospitalizations — and 5-7% of this population die from the infection.

To protect yourself against this pulmonary illness, we recommend that our patients 65 and older get the pneumococcal vaccine. We also recommend this vaccination for patients who have pre-existing health conditions, such as HIV, diabetes, emphysema or kidney disease.

There are two pneumonia vaccines. One has been available for many years Pneumonia-23 and a newer one called PCV 13. Everyone needs both starting at 65 years old. Those with chronic conditions only need Pneumonia 23 if they are less than 65.

5. On the road

This final category is for our patients who travel abroad. While the United States has done a fantastic job at protecting its population, this may not be the case in other countries, where some very dangerous diseases are alive and well.

To help you and your family travel safely, we offer full travel medicine services. This includes prescribing medications and providing vaccinations you need, depending upon the area you’re traveling to.

If you have any questions about how you can best protect yourself through vaccines, please give us a call or use the online booking tool to request an appointment.

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