Adults need vaccinations, too

Kids heading to school usually triggers thoughts of vaccinations to ideally protect them from some of the illnesses they might face mingling among other students.

But mom and dad might consider their own vulnerability, experts with Aspirus Health Care advise.

Being an adult doesn’t mean you outgrow the need for certain vaccinations. Some factors to consider when weighing what to do include:

— Age and situation. For example, shingles and pneumonia shots are recommended for people in their 60s. Job and chronic health conditions such as asthma or diabetes could put individuals at higher risk as well.

— Vaccine protection fades over time. For example, adults need a booster every 10 years to renew protection against tetanus, also known as lockjaw. Different flu strains usually require a new shot every year.

— Vaccines also help protect the people in the household and family, especially children or older adults who can be particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases such as whooping cough or the flu.

— Every year, thousands of adults get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. And each year, some people are hospitalized or even die from those diseases.

— For those headed overseas or who regularly travel internationally, some vaccinations often are recommended or might even be required in certain countries.

— Not getting immunized could cost time and money for treatment and lost time at work. As an added note, health insurance plans may cover many immunizations.

— Immunizations are safe. Most side effects, if they happen at all, are mild and go away on their own.

So check with your personal physician on which immunizations might be needed to stay up to date.

“Vaccines save lives and prevent diseases that can be detrimental to you and your community,” said Kasey Burke, family nurse practitioner with Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital and Clinics. “Protect yourself, your friends, your family, your children, and our community. Be knowledgeable. Be aware. Make informed decisions about your health and the health of our communities.”