What You Need to Know about Adult Vaccinations

By Rebecca Jones

While vaccines are something most of us forget about as soon as we are old enough to vote there are many preventable diseases that can affect us later in life if we do not continue to get vaccinated. Here are 6 diseases that you should talk to your doctor about and see if you are due for a vaccine.


Mumps is a contagious virus that is characterized by sore throat, fever, swelling of the neck, body aches and fatigue. While less serious than the measles or chickenpox it is very contagious and can occasionally have complications in adults. There is no treatment for mumps and if the body is unable to fight the virus inflammation of the testes, brain, ovaries or spinal cord can occur; in rare cases deafness and pancreatitis have occurred as well. It is advised that anyone under the age of 55 get vaccinated.


Cases of the human papilloma virus are on the rise, not only is it one of the most prevalent STD’s but it’s responsible for most cases of cervical cancer. There are now vaccines available that not only protect against HPV but most types of genital warts as well. Vaccines can be administered to men and women between the ages of 9 and 26.


Chickenpox is not just a disease that affects children, in fact the older you are the more severe the symptoms and risk of complications will be. Chickenpox is a virus of the herpes family characterized by an itchy blister like rash, fatigue and fever. While adults account for only 5% of annual chickenpox cases they account for 55% of deaths from the virus. Getting vaccinated, even after exposure, greatly reduces your chance of contracting chickenpox and can help protect you from shingles as well.


Most people are vaccinated for tetanus as children but a booster shot is required every ten years to keep you protected. Tetanus can enter the body through a deep cut or puncture wound and can lead to muscle spasms, lockjaw and stiffness. Be sure to ask your doctor when you had your last booster shot to keep yourself protected and up to date.


If you are over the age of sixty it’s advised that you get vaccinated for shingles. Caused by the same virus as chickenpox this herpes relative causes painful blisters and can lead to eye damage and chronic pain. A one-time vaccine can protect you from developing this painful condition.


Hepatitis A is the most common form of hepatitis and can be contracted by consuming contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B can be spread through an exchange of bodily fluids such as sexual contact or sharing of needles. While both types will usually clear up on their own after a few months they can also cause significant damage to the body.  Each is usually characterized by flu like symptoms but can lead to swelling, hives, liver problems such as cancer or cirrhosis or even death. Unlike hepatitis C you can be vaccinated for types A and B so check with your doctor to see if you are eligible.

While going to the doctor for shots doesn’t seem any more pleasant now than it did as children, preventive medicine like vaccines can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the long run.