Preventive Care:Adult Immunizations

Overview

You probably got vaccinated against certain diseases as a child, but some vaccines weaken as you age. As an adult, you need new immunizations to protect yourself from getting and spreading serious diseases.

Immunizations

All adults should be immunized for:

  • Seasonal flu (influenza). This annual vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition, are pregnant or are over 60. Find out where you can get a flu shot now.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) or tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap). If you didn’t get a Tdap vaccine as a child, you need one now. If you did get a Tdap vaccine as a child, you should still get a Td booster shot every 10 years. (If you’re pregnant, you’ll need a new Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy, ideally between 27 and 36 weeks.)

Ask your doctor which vaccines you need to update. They may recommend additional immunizations if you have a weakened immune system, diabetes, heart, kidney, lung or liver disease.

Adults who are 19 to 26 should also be immunized for:

  • HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes most cervical cancers, anal cancer and genital warts. 

If you’re a college student, you may need additional immunizations for contagious diseases, such as meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella. You may need proof of immunization from your doctor before you can start school.

Adults 60 and older should also be immunized for:

  • Pneumococcal, which protects you from pneumonia and ear, brain and lung infections.
  • Zoster, which protects you from shingles.

Health care workers should also be immunized for:

  • Hepatitis B (HepB vaccine)
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR vaccine)
  • Chickenpox (varicella vaccine)
  • Meningococcal (meningitis vaccine)

Traveling?

International travelers may need special immunizations to prevent diseases like malaria, typhoid and yellow fever. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Travelers’ Health website to find out what immunizations are recommended for your destination.

As soon as you know your travel plans, talk with your Aurora doctor to make sure you’re up-to-date on your vaccines. If not, get revaccinated 4 to 6 weeks before you leave. Your body needs time to build immunity and you may need multiple doses of some vaccines.

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