Vaccinations are some of the most critical yet simple preventative measures that adults can take to safeguard their health. Though most vaccines are given after birth and during the first few years of life, there are also a number of vaccinations that can help adults of all ages stay healthy and avoid unnecessary illness.
The Flu Shot
This is by far the most common vaccination that adults receive. The flu shot is a vaccine that contains an inactivated form of the influenza virus. This allows the body to be introduced to the virus in a safe way that helps the body develop antibodies necessary for protection against infection. Since the flu is most common in the winter months, the CDC recommends vaccination by the end of October to give the body time to develop antibodies. This shot is especially important for older Americans, who might have weaker immune systems and suffer more from the symptoms and complications of the flu. Even if the flu shot does not prevent the flu entirely, it can minimize symptoms and make recovery easier.
The Shingles Vaccine
Shingles is a cousin of the chickenpox that is actually caused by the chickenpox virus remaining inactive in the body for years or decades and then returning to cause shingles. Shingles are painful and severe rashes that cause itching, tingling, flu symptoms, and possible lasting nerve damage. Anybody who ever had the chickenpox virus is at risk of shingles, so it is recommended that all adults receive this vaccination by age 60. Like the flu shot, even if the shingles vaccine does not entirely prevent the shingles, it will minimize symptoms and accelerate recovery.
Tdap, which stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, is a combination of illnesses that the Tdap vaccine protects against. Tetanus is a rare condition that causes painful muscle stiffness, diphtheria leads to breathing problems, and pertussis is the formal name of whooping cough. Overall, the Tdap vaccine protects children from any of those illnesses, and it is critical that adults receive the vaccine if they did not as a child. Pregnant women also need to receive Tdap vaccine again to protect their newborn babies from pertussis, especially since infants are at risk for severe and deadly complications from the whooping cough.
With the protection offered by these three vaccines, adults can remain happy, healthy, and thriving.