icyou's Medical Editor, Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, talks about vaccinations your doctor may want you to receive.
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All adults need certain immunization for different reasons. First of all, there is always the flu vaccination and that should be done every year starting in August or September and the flu vaccination can actually be taken or given all the way through February or March. Sometimes we don’t see flu peaks until February or March. So, the vaccination can be given until then, it can be given either as an injection or it can be given through the nose, through the mist. The next immunization that’s important for adults is pneumococcus immunization and this is usually given one to two adult over the age of 60-65. It’s very, very important for adults with certain chronic medical conditions like lung disease, like heart disease but really every adult over that age should get it. The third is a fairly new vaccine and that’s a vaccine called zoster, it’s for the medical condition called shingles which can be very, very painful in older Americans and this is a medication vaccination that’s given after the age of 60 only given once in a lifetime. Hepatitis A is an important vaccine, it’s a two dosage vaccine in most cases and if you're traveling to an area that has hepatitis A as an endemic problem in other words you have to worry about it in the water or in the food. And it’s a good travel vaccination to have. Tetanus and Diphtheria is another very important vaccination for adults, we should have it between every five and seven years. It is important in the sense that it will protect you from developing what could be a fatal medical condition. If you get caught by a piece of dirty glass or nail or you are exposed to any of those substances and they break the integrity of the skin at all. So again, every five to seven years, everyone should have a tetanus and diphtheria shot. Varicella which is Chicken Pox is a vaccination that could be considered if you did not have the chicken pox or you don’t have any immunity to it and this is easily tested with a quick and simple blood test and that is done in the doctor’s office. And they can check to see whether you were exposed to chicken pox or not and if you weren’t you should get this vaccination. It could prevent a host of problems later on. Now, hepatitis B is a vaccine that also can be given to people up to the age of about 18 or if you are a healthcare worker, a very important vaccine for healthcare workers. Polio is a vaccination that you can get an immunization so to speak that you can get especially if you're traveling to areas where polio is a problem. If you have completed your schedule of polio immunization when you were younger, you might want to reconsider getting another one, a booster if you're going to an area where polio is an issue. And that can be in some developing countries. Meningococcus vaccine is a vaccine that’s important particularly for college age students because the meningococcus bacteria can actually affect people who are in close quarters, close confinement not only college age students but also let’s say the military, this is a vaccine that’s recommended for those people. Measles Mumps Rubella are for patients who are at high risk. We normally get our full compliment of Measles Mumps Rubella or MMR when we’re younger but if you haven’t gotten it this is something that one should get. If they're younger than age of 51, one dose if they haven’t had it before. HPV vaccine is another one that’s fairly new. This is the vaccine that prevents you against the virus that causes or contributes to cervical cancer. And this should be given to women under the age of 26.
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