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Adults Need Immunizations, Too

When parents bring their children in for shots, one can often sense a touch of relief that their time with the needle is over. Wrong. Many adults are due for shots. Though doctors often neglect this, it's worth pressing the issue.

Why immunize adults? The answer is simple: It's the most natural, specific and cost-effective way of preventing illness. Vaccines take advantage of the body's ability to act as a chemical factory. Since a person who is vaccinated is prevented from getting an infection, he or she also can't pass it on, thus helping break the chain of infection.

Recommendations for Adults

Tdap This newly introduced vaccine boosts protection against diphtheria, whooping cough and lockjaw, a horrible illness caused by certain soil bacteria when they enter the body through a deep injury. The vaccine should be repeated every 10 years and should also be given after an injury if it's been more than five years since your last dose.

Vaccines Two doses of chickenpox vaccine and, if you were born after 1957, at least one dose of measles, mumps or rubella vaccine. If you are 60 years or older, the shingles vaccine is strongly recommended. None of these should be given to pregnant women or people with suppressed immune systems.

HPV Vaccine If you are a woman under 27, three doses of the HPV vaccine guards against cervical cancer and genital warts.

Flu Shot If you are older than 50 or live in a household with a child under 2, get an annual flu shot.

Hepatitis A Shot If you are traveling to a wonderful place with less than wonderful sanitation, seek out a hepatitis A shot — nothing spoils a vacation like vomiting, diarrhea and turning yellow.

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Sydney Spiesel
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