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Vaccinations For Adults

Vaccinations aren't just important for children. Adults are also at risk for a variety of diseases that can be prevented with a few shots, The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports.

Assuming you got all your vaccinations on schedule when you were a child, there are only a few you really need to remember to get as an adult, says Senay.

Senay recommends a tetanus booster every ten years; a yearly influenza shot is optional up to the age of 50, and recommended every year from 50 on up; and once you're 65, you should get a shot for pneumonia.

Certain people at high risk from other health problems should talk to their doctor about getting some shots earlier.

Senay says another reason to get vaccinations is to prevent spreading a disease among family and friends or the general population.

Adults also need to make sure they received vaccinations as children, advices Senay. The measles, mumps and rubella shot, or the MMR is very important to have. And there is also a shot for chickenpox now available if you never got it when you were a kid.

Many adults are still at risk for these childhood diseases. An adult should consider getting an MMR booster shot or a shot in adulthood if they haven't had these diseases, there's no record of having these diseases and know for a fact that you didn't get vaccinated as a child born after 1956 when the MMR vaccination began.

Getting these childhood diseases in adulthood is much riskier and can they can cause much more suffering and dangerous consequences. Measles in adults can cause pneumonia or serious brain inflammation. Women who are not immune to rubella and get pregnant risk having a child with birth defects or even death of the fetus. Mumps in adult men past puberty can cause sterility. Chickenpox is also a much more severe disease in adults.

Senay says certain people should only be vaccinated if they are at high risk because of occupation or other risk factors.

Also, there are effective vaccines available for Hepatitis A, which can spread through contaminated food. Hepatitis B is another type transmitted by blood. Meninogoccal disease is one that young college-age adults might want to be aware of because it is found in some dorms that has rooms within close quarters of each other.

If you're not sure if you need any of these shots, check with your doctor. Also, anybody planning a trip overseas may require different shots for certain countries where different diseases may be prevalent.

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