While the discussion on vaccination requirements tends to gravitate toward children, people don’t often talk about how adults can also benefit from them. Now, in an effort to get everyone in the United States up to date on their immunizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new adult vaccine guidelines for 2017. It’s something every parent should read up on too, because adults need vaccines to keep them healthy — just like kids do.
Vaccinations are important, not only because being a mom is a full-time job and doesn’t come with sick days, but also because getting sick means you could unintentionally pass it along to your child as well. That’s one reason why the CDC is reminding American adults that there are a few recommendations which could help them avoid contracting and spreading serious diseases. Those diseases, in turn, could lead to prolonged poor health, missed work, hefty medical bills, and not being able to care for your family.
"Vaccinations are not just for kids," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in an interview with ABC News. "There are any number of vaccines that are targeted to adults, [and] we can do a much better job to deliver these vaccines."
The CDC recommends that all adults follow these guidelines for a few crucial vaccines:
- Get a flu shot, not the nasal mist that was found to be less effective in studies, every year.
- A tetanus vaccine every ten years, or a Tdap vaccine once and during each pregnancy to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.
The CDC also added new recommendations for hepatitis B, meningitis, and HPV vaccines to their website Monday. Now, two doses of the HPV vaccine are now recommended for children and adolescents under the age of 15 years. If it's started after age 15, then three doses of the vaccine are recommended.
As for the meningitis vaccine, the CDC now recommends two doses, not three, of the vaccine for healthy adults, unless there is an outbreak or you're at an increased risk for contracting the disease.
As for hepatitis, according to ABC News, the CDC now recommends that people with chronic liver disease get the hepatitis B vaccine to protect the liver from infection.
Other vaccines should be discussed with your doctor; Whether you need them or not can be determined by a few factors, such as your age, lifestyle, job, current health condition, and which vaccines you received in the past.
“Even if you were vaccinated at a younger age, the protection from some vaccines can wear off or the viruses or bacteria that the vaccines protect against change so your resistance is not as strong,” the CDC explained. “As you get older, you may also be at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases due to your age, job, hobbies, travel, or health conditions.”
If you're not sure what other vaccines you might need in this stage in your life, the CDC put together a handy quiz you can take to help narrow down your decisions. You can also use this vaccine map to help find adult vaccine providers near you.
As the CDC says: Don't wait. Vaccinate — and keep yourself and your family healthy in the process.