Keeping current on your recommended vaccines may not only save your life, but could also protect the family and friends around you from illness. During your annual exam, ask your physician whether there are any vaccines to keep you up to date.
Influenza, largely preventable by annual seasonal vaccination, causes up to 50,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations annually, racking up over $10 billion in costs each year.
Pertussis (whooping cough) results in 1 to 3 million cases annually, mostly among adults and adolescents whose immunity has declined. Infants exposed to pertussis are at the greatest risk for death. Pertussis protection is now included in the tetanus/diphtheria booster for adults/adolescents.
Pneumococcal disease can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia, with an estimated 43,000 cases of invasive disease resulting in 5,000 U. S. deaths in 2008.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) results in 6 million new infections annually, and certain strains of HPV cause cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine can prevent approximately 70% of these cervical cancers, and also reduce the burden of abnormal pap smears and pre-cancerous lesions, as well as genital warts.
Shingles results in about 1 million cases annually, more common in the aging population, and can result in painful post-herpetic neuralgia.
Hepatitis B-related liver disease kills about 5,000 people annually. This disease is now preventable with a vaccine.
Tetanus is caused by a bacteria that enters through a break in the skin, and can kill adults in 10-20% of cases. Adults need to have a booster shot every 10 years to prevent this disease.
Varicella (Chicken Pox) is caused by a virus that results fever and itchy rash, easily spread from person-to-person through the air. Two doses of the vaccine can prevent or mitigate this illness. This disease can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, so vaccination is recommended prior to pregnancy if one has never been exposed or vaccinated.
Take this quiz to find out if you may be a candidate to receive any vaccines at your periodic health maintenance exam: