A Quick Guide to Boosting your Immunity!
A couple months ago the Women Thinking Free Foundation elected a few new cohorts to the board including Ashley Hamer (aka Smashley) of Mad Art Lab fame, Katie Hovany, and myself. Since then we have managed to plan a Tdap vaccination clinic at TAM in conjunction with the JREF, so get excited and come say hello to the WTF in Vegas this summer!
The skeptical community is pro-vaccination, but it is surprising that even skeptical adults (19 and over) are unaware of the necessity for booster shots. So let's give our immunity a little boost!
Here is a brief overview of adult vaccinations:
Flu vaccine: This vaccine is recommended for all adults. Double check with your doctor if over the age of 65 as the risks can increase. This should be administered in the fall or winter once every year. Generally, adults are familiar with this vaccine as it is readily advertised and often required by employers.
PPSV (Pneumococcal Polysaccharid) : A booster vaccine is recommended if over the age of 65 or for younger people with a high risk of pneumoniae.
MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella): People born after 1957 usually administered this vaccine sometime after their first birthday. People born before 1957 are generally considered immune. Usually, proof of this vaccine is necessary for beginning college or work in the health care profession. Once vaccine is administered, then a booster shot can be necessary for high risk groups.
Varicella (Chicken pox): All adults without evidence of immunity should receive this vaccine. Many of us had chicken pox growing up as children because the vaccine didn't exist yet. Make sure you have antibodies protecting you from this disease because it is often more dangerous in adults.
Zoster (Shingles): Suggested for adults 60 years of age and older.
Hepatitis A: Suggested for all adults traveling for work anywhere EXCEPT the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. It is also suggested for people with chronic liver disease or people expecting to spend an extended period of time with an international adoptee. This vaccine is generally NOT required by schools, so you may not have it. So make sure you get it.
Hepatitis B: This is generally a required vaccination for schools. However, it is recommended for high risk individuals to boost their immunity. Particularly this applies to people with many sexual partners and gay men.
Polio: This is not generally given to US, Western European, Australian, Canadian, and Japanese citizens over the age of 18.
HPV: Women should get this vaccine if they are between the ages of 18 and 26 (recall this is specifically discusisng adult vaccinations) and men between 18-21.
Menningococcal (Meningitis): Administer to first year college students particularly those planning on living in a dorm. Also, a booster shot is recommended if traveling to areas where the disease is still of epidemic status.
Td, Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and Pertusis): This is the vaccine we will be administering at TAM. This is when getting a booster shot is SUPER IMPORTANT! Before 2007, this vaccine did not have the pertussis component. Pertussis is whooping cough and we are in the midst of a serious outbreak. Adults are generally the culprits responsible for spreading the epidemic, so get vaccinated. Also, It should be given for wound management, during pregnancy, and once every 10 years!
So again, come see us at TAM for your Tdap booster shot! If you are not going to TAM, then go see your doctor! Be sexy, get vaccinated. Remember boosting your immunity, also boosts everyone else's immunity.
***Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical doctor. Check with your doctor and vaccination history before administering the vaccines. Also, if you have not received or are unsure of your vaccination status for each of these vaccines, then it is generally suggested to administer each of these.***