Not Just for Children - Why Adults Need Immunizations, Too

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Published on August 10, 2018

Not Just for Children - Why Adults Need Immunizations, Too

Photo of a vile of vaccine

Photo of a vile of vaccineWhen it comes to staying healthy and preventing illnesses, sometimes we all need a shot in the arm. Literally.

Regardless of our age, regular immunizations are important for keeping us healthy and protecting us from diseases that may otherwise be life-threatening. Even if you have received vaccines as a child that immunity wears off over time, and you may be at risk for new and different diseases as an adult including flu, shingles, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), cervical cancer, pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, typhoid and more.

Which vaccines do you need?

The specific immunizations you need as an adult depends on your age, lifestyle, health conditions, travel locations and previous immunizations.

“Certain life changes can also dictate the need for immunizations,” said Grace Jae MD, PIH Health Family Medicine physician at La Mirada. “For example, most adults need a tetanus booster every 10 years, but pregnant women need a booster with each pregnancy,” added Dr. Jae. “In addition, we recommend the whooping cough vaccine (pertussis) for any new parents and even grandparents who will be interacting with babies and young children.”

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest adult immunization schedule by age group.

Talking to your doctor about immunizations

Like many health concerns, communicating openly with your physician about vaccines is important. Dr. Jae says that all questions are welcome and warranted, but to stay on top of your preventative care, ask specific questions such as:

  • Am I due for any vaccines?
  • What vaccines are appropriate for my age?
  • Based on any recent life events or changes, which vaccines are most important?
  • Based on any new health conditions, diagnoses or surgeries, will I be more susceptible to certain infections?

Dr. Jae also recommends bringing immunization records — especially verification of any recent vaccines given at local pharmacies or other locations outside of your doctor’s office— to your office visit so your electronic health record can be kept up-to-date.

Your need for immunizations does not end when you reach adulthood. Make an appointment with your primary care physician today to discuss any needed immunizations.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.