Adult vaccinations — Important to keep up the regimen even after childhood 

Published 5:32 pm Friday, October 25, 2019


Boyle County Extension Office

Do you think infants and children are the only ones who need vaccinations? Think again.  Vaccinations can help people of all ages prevent serious illness from certain common viruses. 

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 Vaccinations given in your childhood can wear off as you get older.  To stay protected, keep up-to-date with them.  For all adults, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated against tetanus and influenza. 

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that can cause serious symptoms such as painful spasms and stiffness of muscles, difficulty breathing and fever. It can result in severe problems like broken bones or even death.  Tetanus develops when its bacteria enters the body through broken skin. Skin breakdowns caused by burns, crush injuries or wounds caused by stepping on a nail can become infected with tetanus. 

To prevent getting tetanus, you can get one of two vaccinations: tetanus (Td) or a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap).  The Tdap protects against tetanus as well as two other diseases.  Afterward, a Td booster is needed every 10 years to stay protected.

The flu vaccine is recommended for all adults every flu season.  Adults should get vaccinated by the end of October, before flu season hits.  Flu activity can start as early as October and can last into May. It usually takes about two weeks before the vaccine becomes effective.  It is important to get vaccinated before flu season to reduce your risk of catching the flu.  

The flu vaccine protects against several strains of the virus that experts think will be the most common.  The vaccine has to be made ahead of time. This means that sometimes the strains chosen for the vaccine do not match the flu virus that is widespread. 

The flu virus also changes constantly. This makes it difficult to create a vaccine that will be a good match for the most common virus going around. These issues affect how well the flu vaccine is going to protect you. You may be tempted to skip out on the vaccine, knowing that the vaccine may be less effective.  However, antibodies made in response to the flu vaccine can sometimes protect you against related flu viruses.  There may also be different types of flu viruses going around during the season.  The vaccine may still protect you against other strains being spread. 

For these reasons, getting the flu vaccination every year can help prevent you from getting sick.  

While the CDC only recommends two vaccinations for all adults, other vaccinations may be necessary.  Different vaccinations are recommended for some adults depending on factors such as age, health conditions, job type or travel plans. 

The CDC has an online quiz for those 19 or older that makes it easy to know which vaccinations are recommended for you.  Take the quiz today at!  Most vaccinations can be obtained at doctors’ offices, pharmacies and local health departments.  If you are unsure where to go, you can find a provider at or talk with a healthcare provider. 

Here are just a few more helpful tips to keep you and your family healthy this year. Wash your hands often, especially when you are handling food, after using the restroom and after you cough or sneeze. Washing with soap and water is more effective than just using hand sanitizer but hand sanitizer is better than nothing. Avoid unnecessary interactions with the public when you are sick. Keep your germs at home to prevent them from spreading. 

For more information on how to stay healthy this flu season contact the Boyle County Extension Office. Email me at