ASK, ANSWER, LEARN
As an adult, do I need immunizations?
Heather Hart, PA-C answered:Keeping current with vaccinations is an important part of maintaining our health. As adults live longer, we can prevent a number of diseases through immunizations. For many active adults, staying current on tetanus every 10 years is important when we work, garden or play outside. The TDAP – tetanus diphtheria and pertussis – has been a big improvement as this also protects us from pertussis or whooping cough. Whooping cough has been traveling around for the last few years and pops up all over Montana. Unfortunately, having whooping cough in your past does not give you immunity. But, we need this inoculation only once as the next immunization does not require the pertussis shot.
The shingles vaccine Zostavax is a one-time vaccine that is very effective at reducing the likelihood of severe pain associated with shingles. This is recommended at age 60 and above. Shingles is a painful rash that can lead to persistent pain lasting for months to years. The immunization produces a better antibody response in the early 60s versus the later 80s. This also can be given to those who have already had shingles, since as we age our immune system changes and the disease can recur.
At age 65, or younger if one has a lung disease, a pneumonia vaccine is recommended. There are two choices, and we recommend the more potent Prevnar, at age 65, followed by another pneumococcal vaccine in a few years.
We strongly encourage the flu vaccine annually as this is a community-spread illness that is very contagious. It affects all ages and families and has more serious heath problems on those who may be elderly, immune-compromised or have other underlying health issues.
The medical providers at Bozeman Deaconess Internal Medicine Associates can answer your questions about immunizations, and we can give them to you as well.
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