It's National Immunization Awareness Month. Learn what immunizations you need and when you need them.
Your parents may have promised you no more shots when you were in middle school, but the truth is, adults need immunizations, too. Depending on your age and various risk factors, you may need up to five immunizations. The good news is, only one is needed yearly.
The flu shot
According to Flu.gov, everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine. You should get a seasonal influenza (flu) shot every year. In some cases, the flu vaccine can be administered by a nasal spray instead of a shot. Each year, the vaccine is reformulated for specific strains.
The Tdap vaccine stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Pertussis is the official name of whooping cough, a potentially dangerous illness that is especially difficult for young children to recover from. The Tdap should be received by all adults who have not previously had the Tdap vaccine.
Shingles is a painful, blistering rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. People over age 50 and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk. Ask your doctor if you need this vaccine.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) is recommended for adults over 65, and for adults with specific health conditions that may put them at risk of pneumococcal disease. Ask your healthcare provider if you are at risk and a candidate for this vaccine before the age of 65.
Hepatitis B vaccine
Adults with diabetes or risk factors for hepatitis B infection should receive this vaccine. According to the CDC, an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus infection in the United States. Ask your doctor if your lifestyle puts you at risk.
Have questions about the immunizations you need? The team at St. Petersburg General Hospital is ready to help. Just call Consult-A-Nurse at 1-888-741-5122. Our staff can answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you.
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