You've probably considered—and even gotten—the flu vaccine, but beyond that, it might have seemed like the days of shots were behind you. However, thanks to new ones on the market and a better understanding of immunity, your doctor may ask you to bare your arms again. The CDC recommends certain vaccines for adults, but whether a specific one is right for you is determined by many factors, including your age, medical history, and even occupation.
We've taken a look at some of the vaccines most commonly recommended for adults (starting with the flu vaccine) and asked doctors to explain how well they work, who needs them, and anything else you should be aware of. All generally have minimal and temporary side effects such as headache, fatigue, joint pain, and tenderness in the area where they're administered. In no case, doctors agreed, did a vaccine have side effects worse than the problem it would prevent.
The flu is spread through airborne droplets released by coughing, sneezing, talking, or, as was recently discovered, merely breathing. These can be inhaled into the lungs, causing fever, cough, body aches, and even hospitalization and death for the elderly or immune-compromised.
How well the vaccine works: Its effectiveness varies from year to year and lessens as the months pass, which is why you need it annually. Each spring, epidemiologists decide which they believe will be the three or four most virulent strains for the upcoming flu season, and a vaccine is created to protect against them. While the shot may not wind up covering all strains, getting it is still a good idea: Even if you come down with the flu, it will be less severe and shorter than if you had not been vaccinated.
Who needs it: Anyone over 6 months old, especially those at high risk for flu-related complications such as pregnant women and people with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, says Bill Schaffner, MD, of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville.
What else you should know: If you're one of those people who don't get the shot because they "don't get the flu," keep in mind that you could be putting others at risk. "Only half of infected people will experience symptoms, so you can be totally unaware that you have the flu but still transmit it to others," says Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, chief scientific officer at Clover Health.
Also known as lockjaw, tetanus is spread by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, found in dust, manure, and soil. It enters the body through cuts from contaminated objects, such as nails, and symptoms include jaw cramps, muscle spasms, and seizures. While only 30 cases are reported in the U.S. per year, if you have one of them, you will be hospitalized.
How well the vaccine works: Extremely well, though it's not considered 100 percent effective. Who needs it: Everyone, every 10 years—widespread, consistent use of the vaccine is the reason the disease has been nearly eradicated in the U.S.
Who needs it: Everyone, every 10 years—widespread, consistent use of the vaccine is the reason the disease has been nearly eradicated in the U.S.
What else you should know: Tetanus is a serious illness, so if you think you could be at risk—e.g., you stepped on a rusty nail and it's been years since your last inoculation—go for a booster immediately, says Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.
Shingles is a painful blistering rash that can cause scarring and even vision loss. It originates from the virus that causes chicken pox, which stays dormant in the body after people recover—if it is reactivated (doctors aren't sure what triggers this), you will develop shingles, as at some point will almost a third of Americans.
How well the vaccine works: It's about 50 percent effective if you've been vaccinated with Zostavax or 90 percent effective if you get the newer Shingrix.
Who needs it: Almost anyone 50 or older, with some exceptions such as those with weakened immune systems. "Shingles can lead to a debilitating chronic-pain syndrome," says Dr. Adalja. "It also increases the risk of stroke and heart attack."
What else you should know: Dr. Schaffner recommends that patients who've received Zostavax—which is being phased out—ask to be revaccinated with Shingrix if it's available. "It's so popular that the manufacturer cannot meet the demand," he says. "There'll be spot shortages through the rest of 2019."
4. Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Typically transmitted through sexual contact, HPV causes warts on the genitals, mouth, and/or rectum. Since it's often symptomless, you can catch and share it unwittingly. It can go away on its own, but if it doesn't and it stays untreated, it can develop into cancer.
How well the vaccine works: The National Cancer Institute considers it close to 100 percent effective.
Who needs it: All women up to age 26, and men up to age 21 who have not previously received the two doses.
What else you should know: The FDA has also approved the vaccine for women up to age 45, but talk to your doctor about whether it's a good choice for you based on your medical history—and know that insurance may not cover it. For young people, the CDC recommends the first dose at age 11, and a recent study found that the promotion of HPV vaccine did not lead to more teens' engaging in sexual behavior. Dr. Adalja suggests viewing it as not just a tool against sexually transmitted disease, but also "a breakthrough in cancer prevention."
5. Varicella (aka chicken pox)
If you've never had chicken pox or been immunized against it, you can still get it, and older people have a greater risk of serious complications like pneumonia and encephalitis. Chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus and is transmitted through close contact with an infected person. It's also possible to get chicken pox from someone with shingles.
How well the vaccine works: Two doses are 98 percent effective at preventing any form of the illness and 100 percent effective against severe cases.
Who needs it: All health care workers and adults who have never had chicken pox or the vaccine, as well as those whose blood tests show no varicella immunity.
What else you should know: The vaccine can protect you even after you've been exposed if you receive the shot within 72 hours.
Other Adult Vaccines You Should Know About
While many people don't need these vaccines, if you do, it could be lifesaving.
Hepatitis B attacks the liver and can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure. The vaccine is suggested for anyone who works in health care. Plus, since it is spread through sex, it's especially recommended for adults who are not monogamous. Dr. Schaffner adds that diabetics 60 and younger should get it too.
Meningococcus can develop into meningitis and sepsis. The vaccine is recommended for health care workers and adults with certain medical conditions or who are traveling to sub-
Pneumococcus can cause pneumonia and meningitis. While the vaccine is advised
for patients 65 and up, Dr. Dharmarajan endorses it for those ages 19 to 64 who are "at increased risk for pneumococcal disease because of an illness" like liver or kidney disease.
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These Are the 5 Vaccines Every Adult Needs, Source:https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a28412709/adult-vaccines/