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Which Vaccines Do I Still Need as an Adult?

Which Vaccines Do I Still Need as an Adult?

Many credit Edward Jenner, a country doctor living near Gloucestershire, England, with creating the first vaccine in 1796. Some believe vaccines were in the hands of the ancient Chinese. 

But no matter where they originated, the truth remains that they’re a staple in preventive health care. 

Here, our team of specialists at HippoMed Wellness Clinics takes a closer look at the vaccines you need as an adult, so you can take control of your health. 

Hepatitis A and B

Hepatitis refers to inflammation in your liver, which can damage it and affect how well it functions. Hepatitis A and B are viral forms of hepatitis, and they’re among the most common types. We recommend getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and/or B if you have specific risk factors for the disease, including:

Depending on the brand, the hepatitis A vaccine is usually given in two doses 6-18 months apart, and the hepatitis B vaccine is given in two to three doses. 

Hib

The Hib vaccine protects you against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease. Hib can cause a variety of health problems, including pneumonia; severe swelling in the throat; infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart; and, in the worst scenarios, death. 

This disease typically affects children under age 5, but it can also impact adults, especially those with high-risk conditions, such as a low-functioning spleen. 

HPV

HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a group of over 200 related viruses, most of which are sexually transmitted. HPV can lead to warts and cervical or anal cancer. For that reason, we recommend that sexually active adults 26 years old and older receive this vaccination. 

Influenza

This is the vaccine with which you’re likely most familiar. We encourage all adults to get their flu shots every fall or winter to protect themselves and those around them. 

Measles, mumps, rubella

If you were born after 1957, you need at least one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. You may need a second dose if you're a healthcare worker or if you plan to travel internationally. If you have a weakened immune system, we may suggest that you don’t get this vaccine. 

Meningococcal ACWY and B

The meningococcal disease leads to meningitis, which is an infection that impacts the lining of your brain and spinal cord, as well as your blood. Meningitis is a serious disease that kills 10-15 out of 100 infected people. About 10-20% of those who survive suffer from disabilities, such as hearing loss, brain damage, kidney damage, loss of limbs, or nervous system damage. 

We recommend that young adults, especially college-aged students who live in residence halls, get vaccinated against meningitis. Adults who have health conditions that affect the immune system should be vaccinated, as well. 

Pneumococcal

Pneumococcal disease refers to infections caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. These can lead to a variety of problems running from ear and sinus infections to more serious conditions like blood infections and pneumonia. 

Getting vaccinated against pneumococcal disease is especially important for adults 65 years old and older. If you have a high-risk condition, such as asthma, immunosuppression, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or a low-functioning spleen, you should also consider getting this vaccine.

Tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough

Also known as the Tdap shot, this vaccine protects you from tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough, which are serious bacterial infections. 

Tetanus causes painful muscle tightening that happens all over the body and can lead to “lockjaw.” Diphtheria impacts your nose and throat, and whooping cough refers to uncontrollable coughing. 

If you have not yet received the Tdap, you need to get it now as an adult. Then, you receive a booster every 10 years. 

Varicella

You may know varicella by its other name: chickenpox. This is an acute infectious disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. After you first become infected, the virus stays in your body as a dormant infection. 

If you didn’t get chickenpox as a child, were never vaccinated, or only received one dose, you should consider getting the varicella vaccine. 

Zoster

This is an especially important vaccine for those 50 and older. It protects you against the zoster virus, which causes a painful and chronic condition called shingles. 

Still unsure about which vaccines you need? We’d love to talk with you. You can request an appointment at our Dallas, Texas, office by calling 972-532-1298 or by using our online booking tool

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