Immunization helps you become immune (protected) from diseases caused by bacteria or viruses and helps protect others around you. Adults who have a mild form of the disease can pass it to children. The disease may be more serious in children. Without immunization, the only way to become immune is to get the disease. This is dangerous because you can develop medical problems from the disease that may be long-term or difficult to treat. Immunization helps control diseases and prevents them from coming back after they are controlled.
Learn more about three immunizations for adults.
1. Flu Vaccine
Get a flu vaccine every year.
The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu shot (vaccine) every year. The seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu.
For many people, the seasonal flu is a mild illness. But sometimes, the flu can be dangerous or even deadly.
Flu vaccines can help prevent people from getting sick with the flu and reduce the risk of hospitalizations and death caused by the flu.
The flu spreads easily from person to person. When you get a flu vaccine, you don't just protect yourself. You also protect everyone around you.
When do I need to get the seasonal flu vaccine?
It's best to get a flu vaccine by the end of October if you can. After you get the vaccine, it takes about 2 weeks for your body to develop protection against the flu. That's why it's a good idea to get the vaccine before the flu may start to spread in your community.
If you don't get the vaccine in October, it's not too late. Getting the vaccine later can still protect you from the flu. Keep in mind that flu season can last as late as May.
What is the flu?
The flu is caused by viruses that infect your nose, throat, and lungs. It's easily spread from person to person when someone with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks. It's also possible to get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Symptoms of the flu may include:
For some people, the flu may also cause vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children than adults. Remember, not everyone with the flu has a fever.
2. Tdap Vaccine
Get the Tdap shot to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.
Everyone needs to get the Tdap shot once, and pregnant women need a dose during every pregnancy.
Why get vaccinated?
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are very serious diseases. Tdap vaccine can protect us from these diseases. And, Tdap vaccine given to pregnant women can protect newborn babies against pertussis.
TETANUS (Lockjaw) is rare in the United States today. It causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness, usually all over the body.
DIPHTHERIA is also rare in the United States today. It can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat.
PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
These diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person through secretions from coughing or sneezing. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds. After you get a Tdap shot, get a Td shot every 10 years to keep you protected against tetanus and diphtheria.
3. Shingles Vaccine
Get a shot to prevent shingles.
Shingles causes a rash and can lead to pain that lasts for months.
What is shingles?
Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters. It is also called Herpes Zoster, or just Zoster.
A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Its main symptom is pain, which can be quite severe. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. Very rarely, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitits) or death.
A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006. In clinical trials, the vaccine reduced the risk of shingles by 50%. It can also reduce pain in people who still get shingles after being vaccinated. A single dose of shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 60 years of age and older.
For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even long after the rash clears up. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia. Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Only someone who has had chickenpox or, rarely, has gotten chickenpox vaccine – can get shingles. The virus stays in your body, and can cause shingles many years later.
You can't catch shingles from another person with shingles. However, a person who has never had chickenpox (or chickenpox vaccine) could get chickenpox from someone with shingles. This is not very common.
Shingles is far more common in people 50 years of age and older than in younger people. It is also more common in people whose immune systems are weakened because of a disease such as cancer, or drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles.