Say the word immunization and you almost certainly think about those childhood shots against chickenpox, measles, and polio. But vaccines aren’t just for the young, and as an adult you should know that immunizations don’t last forever. In fact, there are several shots and booster shots you should be aware of if you want to stay as up to date as possible and help maximize your body’s defense levels.
Most children do receive their standard recommended vaccinations, but a small percentage may not get them for any number of reasons. However even if you were vaccinated, in addition to boosters (like that for Tetanus every 10 years) there may also be some newly developed vaccines that weren’t around when you were young. For instance, the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine was only approved recently. Since it has been shown to prevent certain types of cancers and works best when administered before any type of sexual contact, it’s recommended for girls as young as 9 years of age. Adult women between the ages of 19 - 26 years old can still receive the shot, but they should speak to their doctor first regarding its intended effectiveness.
We’re all pretty familiar with the yearly round of influenza shots in hopes of avoiding a run in with the flu, so that’s pretty common for all ages. But if you didn’t receive your MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), Chicken pox, or Hepatitis A or B shots when you were a child, you should still get those sometime before you turn 50.
After about 60 years old you should get vaccinated against shingles, even if you have had it previously. Pneumococcal is another vaccine recommended for adulthood, once or possibly twice before age 65 and once more after, depending on what your doctor says. A Pneumococcal attack can lead to ear and sinus infections, and even potentially lethal bouts of pneumonia or meningitis.
With so many major diseases preventable with a simple shot, it’s worth your time to do a bit of research and find out where you stand with regards to your vaccination status. Just like with that flu shot – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.