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Vaccination: also not just for kids!

When did you last ask your doctor about updating your immunization status with a booster? Or, when did your doctor last tell you it was time to do so?

If you can't rememeber when you last had a routine "shot," it's time you found out. In the past, most adults only sought immunization when they were traveling to some distant land--because of either fears for their health or international requirements.

Except for yellow fever, the vaccination for which is good for 10 years, there are no more international requirements, so many of us are not as well immunized as we used to be.

Here's a list to discuss with your doctor:

Tetanus-diphtheria: Don't wait for an injury before getting a booster--get one every 10 years.

Measles: If you know that you have not had measles (the regular kind, not the three-day variety) in your lifetime, and you were born after 1956, you should be vaccinated. Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1956, which greatly reduced everyone's exposure to measles, few of us old-timers escaped having measles, from which we got lifetime immunity.

German measles (the three-day variety): Although the disease is a mild one, all adults who have not had it should be immunized to decrease the potential for pregnant women contracting it, with subsequent serious effects on the fetus.

Influenza: This is the only one that has to be repeated every year. It is recommended that everyone over 65 be vaccinated, as well as everyone with chronic disease.

Pneumococcal pneumonia: Also recommended for everyone over 65.

Two excellent pamphlets may be obtained free by writing to: FDA, 5600 Fishers Lane, HFB 142, Rockville, MD 20857. Ask for "Shots Adults Shouldn't Do Without" and "Vaccines: Precious Ounces of Prevention."
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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