Vaccines aren't just for kids

SAN ANTONIO – When you talk about vaccinations, children typically come to mind. But what about adults? There are several vaccines that are recommended to protect adults, too.

Even if you received the recommended vaccines as a child, doctors recommend several vaccines for adults: an annual flu shot, a Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, and a TD booster every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. Then there’s the shingles vaccine for people age 50 and older, and at 65, one for pneumonia.

Another vaccine some adults are considering protects against HPV, or the human papillomavirus, which can cause cancer in women and men.

“For a lot of adults today, the HPV vaccine wasn’t even available when you were a teenager,” said Consumer Reports health editor Lauren Friedman.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for women through age 26 and men through age 21, although the Food and Drug Administration has approved it for people up to age 45.

If you are worried about that sick feeling you might get after a vaccine, CR says that a shot might cause some mild side effects like a sore arm or even a slight fever. But if you do get sick after being vaccinated, it’s probably just a coincidence.

At least 30,000 people die each year due to complications from diseases that could have been prevented with a vaccine. CR says that although they can’t guarantee you won’t get sick, vaccines can improve your odds and even make symptoms less severe if you do catch something like the flu.

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