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Vaccines for adults - Protect yourself from serious but preventable illnesses

A Vaccine is a substance containing harmless forms of germs that can provide you with immunity against particular diseases. Everyone is well aware about the use of vaccines in children and make sure they stay up-to-date on their child’s shots with pediatrician.

What most people are not aware is that there are vaccines to prevent deadly diseases in adults too! Read on to find out about the vaccines available for adults and if you need them.

Why do adults need vaccines?

· Prevention of serious and not-so-serious diseases : Vaccines are available not only for serious life threatening diseases but also for those that may not be serious but nevertheless cause suffering, loss of work days and unnecessary healthcare expenditure.

· Immunity for specific risk groups: Some people may be at higher risk for certain diseases and they may require protection against them.

· Elderly, bed ridden and frail patients in whom even a minor illness could cause long term health burden

· Some diseases are more serious in adults than children: Eg-chicken pox

· Prevention of certain cancers: Some diseases like Hepatitis B, Human Papilloma Virus can cause cancers and vaccines are available to prevent them

· Those who travel internationally: While travelling out of the country, you may require protection against diseases that may be found in specific parts of the world.

· Post exposure prophylaxis: Vaccines are usually given to you before you are exposed to the disease. But they can also be used after you have been exposed to prevent or reduce the severity of the disease like rabies, tetanus, Hepatitis B, chickenpox.

Specific risk groups for vaccination:

If you or anyone you know falls among these risk categories, speak to your doctor today regarding the vaccines you need

Common adult vaccines recommended in India:

Here is a list of common adult vaccines along with specific indications for each. Go through these carefully and speak to your physician to know which ones are the best for you and your loved ones.

Vaccine safety – what you can do to have a positive experience

Vaccines are generally safe because every vaccine has to undergo many rigorous tests and pass high quality standards before being released for patient use. Even after release, all vaccines are continuously monitored so they adhere to specific quality requirements.

However just like with all medications, vaccines can cause reactions rarely. Mostly they are mild allergic reactions like itching, rash or a mild fever. Very rarely more serious reactions like severe respiratory distress, nervous system disorders, have been reported. But the benefits of protection from specific illnesses greatly outweighs the risks.

To avoid this you could take the following precautions:

· Discuss with your doctor openly about your doubts and concerns regarding your vaccinations. Check with him/her about the specific precautions available at the clinic/ hospital in case of an adverse reaction.

· Be honest about your previous illnesses, any medications you may be taking or any practices such as smoking, alcohol consumption etc with your doctor beforehand.

· Mention about any specific allergies that you may have such as egg allergy, yeast allergy, latex allergy etc in which case some vaccines may not be suitable for you.

· If you are pregnant or you have a possibility of pregnancy make sure you mention this to your doctor. Many vaccines should not be used during pregnancy.

· Set a reminder on your phone or computer about upcoming vaccine doses. For every vaccine the full schedule should be completed. Missing a vaccine dose may render all the previous doses ineffective.

. Read and learn all about the vaccines you are planning to take from trusted sources like , before you go ahead so that you fully understand the risks and benefits.

· After taking a vaccine, if you notice any reactions such as rash, fever, swelling of face or throat, difficulty in breathing, giddiness or blurred vision report back immediately to your doctor or the nearest emergency care facility.

So what are you waiting for? Book your vaccine appointment today and stay disease free!

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