The fall and early winter ushers in the flu season and a reminder for many of us to get our flu shots. (I am over 50 and a health care practitioner so dutifully received my flu shot already.) This is also a good time to see that you and your family are up-to-date on all your immunizations. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has updated the Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for October 2007-September 2008 and can be found in English and Spanish at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/adult-schedule.htm. You can also print out a helpful immunization tracking form for you and your family. Pediatricians and many family doctors are vigilant about keeping track of their patients, but many adults may not realize that they are not up-to-date or that something new is now available.
I suggest you take a look and learn what immunizations you and your family may need and then talk to your doctor about getting up-to-date. A recent study serves to remind us that thanks to vaccines, we have reduced the risk of many of these potentially fatal diseases by up to 90% or more!
Here are some highlights:
Most adults need to ask for the pertussis or whooping cough vaccine along with their next tetanus and diphtheria shot. It can be given once as an adult to boost your immunity. Believe it or not, whooping cough is on the rise in adults.
Another adult vaccines to think about include the flu shot for all adults ages 50 and over and for anyone with a chronic illness or anyone who cannot afford to get sick with the flu!!
All seniors 60-65 years of age or older should have the pneumonia vaccine at least once and all others who may have risk factors for pneumonia such as chronic bronchitis or any other chronic health condition. They should also now ask and receive the shingles or Zoster vaccine too.
Adults should also ask their doctors about the Varicella or chicken pox vaccine if blood tests show they are not immune to chicken pox.
Young girls and women ages 11-26 should talk to their doctors about the HPV vaccine. Remember to keep track of all of your immunizations, dates, and doses by printing out this helpful immunization form that I have developed.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments.
Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to ALL!