Vaccines have significantly minimized the risk of various infectious diseases that have historically threatened infants, children, and adults. Today, staying current with your immunizations is an important aspect to maintaining your overall well-being.
Because newborns and young children haven't been exposed to many unwelcome germs and viruses, they tend to need more vaccinations early in life. But, did you know adults regularly need to get shots, too?
The 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that most people do not keep up with recommended vaccinations into adulthood. In fact, you may need a booster shot right now. And, depending on your age, health conditions, vaccination history, and lifestyle factors, there may be other vaccinations that would currently benefit you, too.
We all need to take responsibility for keeping up with our shots, so consult with your health care provider to find out if you need any vaccinations this year—beyond your yearly flu shot.
There are three primary reasons why it's a good idea to get vaccinated:1) Save yourself from serious diseases.
Vaccinations introduce inactive parts of germs (viruses or bacteria) to your immune system so that it can help your body recognize them later. Because the immune system now recognizes the invader, it can more easily overpower this threat—should you be exposed to it again. This keeps you from literally becoming a germ factory.2) Shield your loved ones.
Getting vaccinated is not just something you do for yourself. Keeping up with your vaccines also protects your neighbors, loved ones, and coworkers from harmful diseases. It's simple: if your body recognizes a disease-causing agent in your system right away, it can fight it before you can spread it to others or get sick yourself.3) No sick days.
Vaccines can keep you healthy and help you avoid missing work or time with your family and friends. As a busy adult, staying up to date on your vaccinations helps you spend your time the way you want—instead of sick in bed.
Depending on your age, health status, and vaccination history, you may need some of the following boosters or first-time vaccines:
Find out from your health care provider when you last received a particular vaccine and which are appropriate for you. If you're behind, make an appointment today to bring yourself up to date.
Consult with your health care provider about the various vaccines below. It's possible that you may not have received some of them as a child, or may now be ready to receive them.
Children, adults, and older adults (65 and older) should all receive their influenza (flu) vaccine every year. If possible, visit your workplace health center this fall to protect yourself before flu season hits. In addition, older adults should go in for pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine, usually given at age 65 and older.
If you plan to travel, make sure you're up to date on all recommended immunizations. Check in with your health care provider before you leave the country. You may also need to take extra precaution by getting vaccinated for some of the diseases you may encounter in the country that you're visiting. Learn more at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Health site.
If getting vaccinated to benefit your own health isn't reason enough for you, do it for your children and others around you. Keeping up with your vaccine schedule helps keep everyone else from getting sick. So, get up to date on your vaccinations to protect others by protecting yourself. And, remember to ensure your children and older loved ones receive the necessary immunizations, too. Vaccines save lives.