The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 27, 2013

Vaccinate


— You don’t have to be a child to need a vaccination.

As we get older, our bodies continue to change and our immune systems start to decline.

In order to protect those around us — especially some of the young ones in our lives — it is important for even the healthiest adult to get vaccinated against some of the most common afflictions.

Pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, pneumonia and influenza (flu) are just some of the vaccinations available for adults that will protect you from bouts with sickness.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. That’s a risk that can take a nosedive by getting a flu vaccination.

Getting the flu can be disruptive to your home and workplace, putting those around you at risk. If you get the flu, stay at home and take precautions to reduce the risk of its spread. The flu can easily get to your coworkers and bring workplace productivity to a screeching halt. It is always best to stay at home and ride out the storm.

In 2012, according to the CDC, there were some 48,000 cases of whooping cough in the United States. From among that number, 20 deaths were reported. That’s far too many, especially when vaccines could have prevented the disease.

Worse, infants are at risk of death from the respiratory bacteria. So, any adult who plans to visit or be around little ones should be first in line for a whooping cough vaccine. The CDC recommends that all adults 19 years of age and older who didn’t get Tdap as a preteen or teen should get one dose of Tdap (the vaccination for whooping cough).

A vaccine for shingles, caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, can help older adults avoid a lot of pain and discomfort. Adults can avoid a serious bout with pneumonia by getting vaccinated regardless of how many risk factors they may or may not have.

There are many factors that play in to the types of vaccinations that you may need according to the CDC. Lifestyle, age, locations of travel and risk conditions are some of the few that play into your chances of catching a serious illness.

You’re an adult now; make sure you use some of that wise and sage-like wisdom you have accrued over the years. Talk to your physician about the vaccines that will help you and your loved ones live a long and healthy life.