When you think of 'primary care', do words such as 'sick' or 'problem' come to mind? Even though your doctor provides plenty of care to patients such as yourself when issues creep up, physicians also offer immunization services. These services aren't just for kids! Adults also often need vaccinations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides an Adult Immunization Schedule that advises the public on what immunizations are necessary for people over the age of 19. Whether you're going on a trip to another country, are starting a new job in a medical setting or just want to make sure that you don't get sick when you don't have to, understanding immunization services for adults is key.
What vaccinations are common for adults?
- Influenza. The flu shot is one of the most well-known adult immunizations. This is an annual vaccine that is available by shot or nasal spray. It takes roughly two weeks after getting the flu shot/nasal mist for the immunization to take effect. While it doesn't prevent the flu in every case, it is the best way to prevent yourself from getting this potentially serious illness. Healthy adults of any age can get this vaccine.
- Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap). This vaccine provides protection against all three of these diseases for adults. If you haven't gotten one of these shots, the CDC recommends getting one as an adult. You'll also need a booster every 10 years.
- Hepatitis A. This is a body fluid–borne disease. If you work with people (or body fluids of people) with this disease, have a chronic liver condition or are going to a country where there is a high rate of hepatitis A, you can get two doses of the vaccination (given at different times, at least six months apart).
- Hepatitis B. Like hepatitis A, this vaccine is given to people who are at risk of coming into contact with body fluids of patients who have the disease, are traveling to areas with a high rate of hepatitis B or have certain liver conditions. This is a three dose immunization, with one month in between the first and second doses and at least two months in between the second and third shots.
- Shingles. If you've had chickenpox, you could get shingles. The CDC recommends this immunization for people who have had chickenpox and are over the age of 60. Shingles is typically more severe in people over 60, making it more necessary the older that you get.
- Pneumococcal. If you're over 65, the CDC recommends this vaccine for you. It can help to prevent pneumococcal disease (i.e., pneumonia).
Immunization services are just as important for adults as they are for children. If you've let your vaccinations lapse or are planning a trip overseas, adult vaccinations can help to prevent the spread of disease and keep you healthy! Visit an immunization service like Rocky Mountain Family Physicians today.