Vaccinations Not Just For Children
By Dr. James Palermo // October 26, 2012
(VIDEO by HomeTownHealth)
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA–Two of my close friends and contemporary colleagues have each recently suffered through an episode of shingles, a very painful skin rash usually appearing in a band, a strip, or a small area on one side of the face or body and caused by the varicella zoster virus (also called herpes zoster). Shingles can occur in anyone who has had chickenpox in the past, and that includes most of my fellow “Baby-Boomers.”
After recovery from chickenpox, the virus sits dormant in nerve roots, and, in most people, it stays dormant forever. However, in some, the virus “wakes up” when disease, stress, or aging weakens the immune system, or certain medicines trigger the virus to wake up and cause a shingles rash. It is not clear why this happens. But after the virus becomes active again, it can only cause shingles, not chickenpox. The good news is that shingles can be prevented with a simple vaccination.
Adults Need Vaccinations, Too
There is a common misconception on the part of many adults that, other than a yearly seasonal flu shot, vaccinations become less important with age. In fact, in the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report earlier this year, it was emphasized that substantial improvement in adult vaccination is needed to reduce the health consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases among adults in the U.S and around the world.
Discussion related to vaccination guidelines commonly focuses on infants and children, however, adults need some shots—such as those against shingles and pneumonia—that children don’t. Adults also need booster shots against some common diseases, such as the vaccine for diptheria, tetanus, and pertusis (whooping cough).