Monday, February 25, 2008
Vaccinations for adults
By Val Willingham
Medical Producer


In an effort to keep to one of my new year's resolutions, I started cleaning out my old files last weekend. Among all the bills from the '80s, I found my immunizations record. Not my daughter's but mine! It was from almost five decades ago. The card was yellow and wrinkled, but it had some interesting information. Seems I didn't have all the vaccinations I thought I had had as a baby. Luckily, I was able to call my mom and ask her about it. Yes, I had the measles vaccine. Yes, I had mumps as a child. But I was due for a tetanus shot - way overdue. And I had never had a shot for whooping cough. I felt sort of silly. I had always updated my daughter's immunizations but never thought about myself.

And I guess I'm not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most American adults know everything about their kid's vaccinations and very little about their own. Experts are asking adults, especially those over age 30, to check what immunizations they need or need to update in order to be protected against certain illnesses. "The emphasis has been on children," said Dr. William Schaffner, professor and chairman of preventive medicine and the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an adviser to the CDC. "Also, most of the vaccines we've used have been on children. But it's a new era now. All adults need to think about protecting ourselves."

So what vaccines do we need? In our 30s and 40s getting vaccinations for hepatitis A and B and the new whooping cough vaccine is important. That's because whooping cough is back. The medical community thought that was a disease it had conquered back in the 1940s. But it has reappeared and it can affect adults.

Hepatitis A and B are illnesses that can be passed from person to person. If you travel to a lot of foreign countries, the hep A vaccine is essential. Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease. Anyone who is sexually active and/or has multiple partners should get a hepatitis B vaccine.

Also women who are sexually active may want to ask about the new HPV vaccine that protects against the human papilloma virus, the primary cause of cervical cancer. At this point, it's recommended only for patients ages 11 to 26.

Also, it's a good idea for all of us to make sure we've had the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella. Catching those viruses as an adult can have serious health effects, so protect yourself.

And update your tetanus shot. You should get one every 10 years, to protect against infection in case if you get an open cut or puncture wound.

And get your flu shot. The best time is in the fall before the flu season starts. It's even more important for anyone over age 50 to get a flu shot, because as we get older, the flu can cause real problems, even death. And if you are susceptible to illness, think about getting a pneumonia vaccine.

As you reach your late 50s, ask your doctor about a shingles vaccine. Do a lot of traveling? Confirm with your doctor or check the CDC Web site to make sure you're up to date for the regions of the world you'll be visiting. It's important you keep a record of all these vaccinations, since different countries require different shots.

So check your immunization charts and get updated today. Stay healthy! Don't be like me and wait till you decide to clean out your basement.

Do you know where your immunization records are? Do you update your vaccinations? We'd like to hear about it.

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Its a shame that our medical industry is not more organized to prevention instead of cure. Our current medical system is so disorganized that prevention is almost totally ignored. Did your doctor not know that your immunization was deficient? Why did he not know or at least ask you? If you as a doctor receives such inferior care, what can the rest of us expect?

Our whole medical system is run like a MASH unit. Emergency care in the US is probably the best in the world but regular care is almost an afterthought. Maybe this is one of the reason we have the most expensive health care system in the world and yet it lags behind so many other countries. In our country the heroic medical care receives the headlines and the money, while the more mundane but really important care is shifted to the side.

Thank you for your efforts on improving our crumbling medical care.
A good reminder -- for those of us that started off in the pre-universal precaution days (remember going to you're dentist when he didn't wear gloves in the 1980's?) hep B was a major issue. I think the message of today's blog should ring twice as loud by the medical professionals reading it. www.waittimes.blogspot.com
I'm perplexed because I'm told that the vaccinations I had -- the flu vaccine while pregnant, as the cdc recommends -- caused autism in my child. I know that the cdc says otherwise, but her physicians and therapists all have different views. What is your view on vaccinating pregnant women?
The jury is still out on vaccines!

We chose not to vaccinate our daughter with anything as did some very close freinds of ours. The children couldn't be any healthier.

Vaccines do cause harm! Thats why the federal government has funds set aside to compensate families that have had children suffer complications from vaccines.

And now the author is suggesting that even adults go in to receive more shots!!! Thats crazy!!!

Keep those neddles away from me!!!
Dear Dr. Gupta:

Yes, Adults should be vaccinated. The parent who commented that they hadn't vaccinated their daughter, just doesn't understand the importance of Vaccines. I'm glad their child is healthy, but vaccines don't just protect their children, but everybody's children as well.

Adults must get vaccinated because it can protect us from serious illness.
Vaccines do not help your immune system they hinder it. Vaccines do not eradicate disease, proper nutrition and hygiene will allow your body to do what it's suppose to do. Vaccines do not offer life long immunity. Vaccines do not even guarantee any immunity. Do your homework before you vaccinate your children or yourself. Read everything pro and con and then make an educated decision.
I think the CDC changed its rules in October and just about everyone is supposed to have a chicken pox shot to
Vaccines are important for everyone. I keep mine up to date.
One vaccine of particular importance is the HPV vaccine for girls and young women. As a father (who works in medicine), I insisted that my daughter get hers. For those who don't know, this vaccine protects against most strains of Human Papilloma Virus that cause cewrvicle cancer in women. Men can carry and infect women and nevr know they have it. to us, it is a benign thing, sometimes manifesting in genital warts.
Even if your daughter remains innocent until marriage, are you certain her intended has? Are you willing to bet her life on it
Amazing how we managed to evolve without vaccines for thousands of years. During the days we lived with animals and had poor sanitation and hygene, maybe some vaccinations made sense. Today, vaccines are just a money making business. They make money for drug companies directly from vaccine sales and they make more money with the chronic illness that follows vaccinations.
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