Vaccines for adults: Which do you need?
You are not a kid anymore, so you don't have to worry about vaccines, right? Actually, no.
Here is how to stay on top of you vaccines.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT VACCINES I NEED?
Alberta Health Services recommends vaccines for adults based on your age, prior vaccinations, health, lifestyle, occupation, travel destinations and sexual activity.
What vaccines do adults need?
Immunize Alberta recommends the following vaccines to adults:
Flu (influenza) vaccine.
- What is the Flu?
- A disease caused by virus infecting the respiratory tract.
- The flu can be mild or very serious resulting in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.
- To prevent the flu, Alberta Health recommends an annual flu vaccination for everyone ages 6 months or older. The flu can cause serious complications in older adults.
What is Pneumococcal disease?
- Pneumococcal disease causes several infections, such as the more well known pneumonia, but also meningitis and bloodstream infections.
- In older adults and high-risk groups, the protection against a serious infection from pneumococcal disease is 50% to 80%.
- This protection may weaken after 5 to 10 years, but more doses of the vaccine may not boost protection.
- AHS recommends the pneumococcal vaccines for adults age 65 and older. It is also recommended for ages 2-64 and have a high risk of serious pneumococcal disease because of health problems, such as heart, lung, kidney or liver problems, diabetes or weak immune system.
Diptheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (Whooping Cough) dTap/Td
What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a nose and throat infection caused by bacteria. It is spread by coughing, sneezing, or close contact with an infected person. It can cause trouble breathing or swallowing, heart failure, and paralysis. One out of 10 people who get diphtheria will die.
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a bacterial infection that causes uncontrolled movements (spasms) in the muscles of the jaw and other muscles of the body. Tetanus bacteria are common in dirt, manure (animal stool), and human stool. They can get into the body through a cut on the skin or an animal bite. Tetanus can cause a condition called lock jaw where the mouth stays closed and cannot open widely. Also trouble breathing, seizures, and death
What is pertussis?
Pertussis is an infection of the airways caused by bacteria. It is spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with an infected person. Pertussis can cause coughing spells that can last for months. It can make it difficult to eat, drink or breathe (especially in babies). It can lead to pneumonia and in rare cases to seizures, brain injury and death.
- Also known as dTap (1 dose) then a booster of Tetnus and Diptheria (or Td) every 10 years. One dose of Tdap is routinely given to grade 9 students.
- Adults should also have this vaccine after turning age 18 years. Talk to your healthcare provider if you were not immunized as a baby. You may need other vaccines.
- You should have this vaccine during pregnancy, even if you have had it before. It will help protect your baby during the first few months of life, especially against pertussis. In Alberta, the dTap vaccine is recommended in every pregnancy. It is usually given between 27 and 32 weeks of pregnancy.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
What is hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is an infection in the liver that is caused by a virus. Symptoms include poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). Some people do not have any symptoms.
One out of 10 adults who are infected with hepatitis B have an infection that does not go away (called a chronic infection).
The younger you are, the higher the chance of having a chronic infection. For example, more than 9 out of 10 babies who are infected with hepatitis B will have a chronic infection. If you have a chronic hepatitis B infection, you have it forever. You can spread it to others, even if you do not look or feel sick.
A chronic hepatitis B infection can lead to liver damage (cirrhosis), liver cancer, and death. Each year, 500,000 to 1.2 million people die from hepatitis B-related disease in the world.
How does it spread?
- childbirth (if the mother is infected)
- sharing needles, razors, nail clippers, or toothbrushes • contact with equipment that is not cleaned properly (such as needles used for tattoos, body piercings, or acupuncture)
- human bites or open sores
Grade 6 students get the hepatitis B vaccine in school. If you were born in 1981 or later and did not get all the recommended number of doses in school, you can get the hepatitis B vaccine for free.
You should also get this vaccine if you are at risk for hepatitis B because of:
- certain health problems
- the type of work you do
- your lifestyle
- contact with the virus
- You may also benefit from the vaccine if you travel to an area that has a high risk of hepatitis B
Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine (MMR)
What is measles?
Measles is a virus that spreads easily through the air when someone who has measles coughs or sneezes. It can cause high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, a blotchy red rash. Measles can be dangerous because one in 10 people with measles will get middle ear or lung infections. One in 1000 people with measles will get encephalitis (infection of the brain), which can lead to seizures, deafness, or brain damage. One to 2 of every 1,000 people with measles could die.
What is mumps?
Mumps is a virus that spreads by coughing, sneezing, or contact with saliva (such as kissing or sharing toys). You can have no symptoms but still spread mumps. It can cause fever, headache, swelling of the glands around your jaw, swelling of the testicles or ovaries, deafness and encephalitis (infection of the brain)
What is rubella?
Rubella is a virus that spreads by coughing or sneezing. It is usually mild. It can cause fever, sore throat, swollen neck glands, rash with red, raised bumps, painful, swollen joints, encephalitis (infection of the brain) and bleeding disorders. If you get rubella while you are pregnant, it can cause a miscarriage or the baby may be born with disabilities.
- Adults born in 1970 or later need 2 doses of measles and mumps vaccine.
- Adults born before 1970 are usually considered protected for measles and mumps and do not need this vaccine.
- Rubella: Adults born in 1957 or later need at least 1 dose of rubella vaccine.
For the full Alberta Health Services Immunization Schedule go to: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/hp/cdc/if-hp-cdc-ipsm-routine-imm-schedule.pdf
Adults over 50 should also consider:
What is Shingles?
Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso.
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you've had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.
For some people, shingles pain continues long after the blisters have cleared. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain. Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss.
While it isn't a life-threatening condition, shingles can be very painful. Vaccines can help reduce the risk of shingles, while early treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and lessen the chance of complications.
To stay on top of your vaccines. Call one of our locations talk to our pharmacist about the vaccines we offer and schedule an appointment if needed.