If you were sporting pigtails and braces the last time you remember getting a shot, then itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time to call the doc. A new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the majority of adults are not keeping up to date with their vaccinations.
Although more men and women are getting the shots for human papillomavirus (HPV) and whooping cough, there are around ten additional adult vaccines that havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seen significant increases. These include shots for hepatitis A and B, and pneumococcal illness.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are at least two big reasons adults arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t getting their vaccinations: theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not necessarily aware they need them and they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t generally go for annual check-ups where their vaccine needs may be assessed,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Carolyn Bridges, MD, Associate Director of Adult Immunization at the CDC. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They tend to go to the doctor after they get sick, and often just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make time for preventative measures.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In order to figure out what shots you need and stay up to date, Bridges suggests keeping these ideas in mind:
Vaccinations arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Ã¢â‚¬Å“one size fits allÃ¢â‚¬Â Nearly everyone should get the flu vaccine, but other shots are based on multiple factors, like age, medical conditions, travel habits and lifestyle issues. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The adult schedule is a little more complicated than the pediatric schedule in some ways,Ã¢â‚¬Â Bridges says. She recommends taking the CDCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s adult vaccination quiz, which tells you which shots you might need, and then following up with your healthcare provider.
Get your Tdap shot If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re due for a tetanus booster, you should get the Tdap vaccine instead. This shot protects against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Although the number of adults receiving the vaccine jumped from 8.2 to 12.5 percent in a yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time, Bridges says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still Ã¢â‚¬Å“a lot of room for improvement.Ã¢â‚¬Â Getting the Tdap vaccine is especially important if you will be around children less than one year old or if you are pregnant.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still time to get the HPV vaccine If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve never gotten the HPV shot, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still time to get on track and protect yourself against conditions like cervical cancer and anal cancer. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ideally itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s given in adolescence,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Bridges. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re less than 26, you should get it if you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t already.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Check with your doc Ultimately, you should consult your doctor about what vaccines you need. She can tell you if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re up to date, need a certain shot before traveling or what shots you should avoid -- for instance, if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re pregnant, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll want to steer clear of live-virus vaccines like varicella (chicken pox) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR).
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fear You might hear scary news about vaccines from time to time, but you shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t lose sleep. Bridges says the CDC and FDA monitor vaccines constantly for safety, the side effects are rare and usually mild, and the benefits are huge. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Most are to prevent common diseases,Ã¢â‚¬Â she says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“These vaccines can have significant impact in reducing your risk of developing an illness, some of which can have long-term consequences.Ã¢â‚¬Â
photo: Nixx Photography/Shutterstock
More from Women's Health:
Are You Safe From HPV?
Everything You Need to Know About the Flu
The Dangers of Childhood Diseases for Adults
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