With the start of Fall, comes the beginning of flu season. But the flu shot is not the only immunization you should receive. It is crucial to ensure sure you are protected with several vaccines, depending on your age and risk factors.
Flu Season: Why get a Flu Shot?
As the weather gets colder, seasonal influenza, pneumonia and other illnesses become common. Some of these illnesses can cause complications which are serious enough to require hospitalization. You can reduce your risk of getting sick this fall by getting vaccinated. Adults in Kentucky should consider getting a flu shot, along with other vaccines this fall.
Flu shots provide significant protection from seasonal influenza, which begins each Fall. While many flu cases are mild, this disease may cause severe complications in some people. Since flu strains change each year, you need a flu shot every year to be protected. Keep in mind, flu shots can take up to two weeks to start working, so you could become ill during that window if you are exposed to this virus.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
Measles, mumps and rubella can cause serious complications, including pneumonia and seizures. If you did not receive this vaccine during childhood, it is crucial that you get it in adulthood. You should need one dose of the vaccine, although some adults, such as college students, may need two doses.
Pneumococcal vaccines (known as PCV13 and PPSV23), provide protection from pneumonia, meningitis and other pneumococcal diseases. If you are at least 65 years old, you should get a PCV13 vaccine if you have never had one, and a PPSV23 vaccine one year later. If you are under 65, you should consider getting these vaccines if you have a health condition that puts you at a higher risk of complications from pneumococcal diseases.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Whooping Cough Vaccines
This vaccine, commonly referred to as “Tdap”, protects you from tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. While tetanus and diphtheria are rare in the United States, whooping cough outbreaks have occurred in recent years in some regions. Whooping cough can cause breathing difficulties and can develop into pneumonia or other life-threatening complications. You should consider getting this vaccine if you did not receive it in childhood. If you have had the vaccine in the past, you will need a booster shot every ten years.
Zoster (Shingles) Vaccine
Shingles can lead to vision loss, nerve damage, skin infections and other serious complications. If you have not received a shingles vaccine and you are at least 60 years old, you should consider getting vaccinated to lower your risk of developing shingles.
Creating Healthier Communities in Kentucky
KentuckyCare is committed to providing care for our patients to prevent the flu, pneumonia, and other illnesses. If you would like to learn more about receiving immunizations, schedule an appointment or call 877-791-9154 today.