Immunity and Booster Shots
Now more than ever, it’s important to remember the crucial role immunizations play in our lives. Immunity works best when widely shared, and we all benefit from individual immunity.
But keeping up to date on which immunizations you’ve had or might need can be tricky on the memory. When did you get that shot? That booster? Is it really that important to check in with your physician about it?
UAB Medical West reminds you to take immunizations as seriously as you would regular checkups. These are just a few of the most common immunizations you may have had, may need, or may require a booster for.
Everyone’s favorite annual immunization, flu shots play an important role in keeping us and our loved ones safe each year. Even so, we’re seldom more inventive than when figuring out a way to avoid them.
Flu shots are important for many reasons, but the top two reasons are these.
1. Our immunity to the flu degrades over time. By getting your annual flu shot, you give yourself the best chances of avoiding it for the season.
2. Not all flu viruses are created equal. The flu is diverse, and flu shots are purposely curated to combat the anticipated strain in the upcoming season.
The most likely candidate for the immunization you forgot you had, tetanus is a serious bacterial infection most commonly known to cause lockjaw and other painful muscle spasms. What’s lesser-known about tetanus is that it requires a booster shot every 10 years.
Tetanus affects the nerves and can even become fatal once it reaches the brain. A vaccine prevents it, but it has no known cure otherwise.
Like tetanus, you may have forgotten about diphtheria. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection causing a thick film to develop in the throat. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, paralysis, and heart failure.
Diphtheria can be fatal and, like tetanus, requires a booster just about every 10 years.
More commonly known as the “whooping cough,” this respiratory tract infection is highly contagious and can even lead to death in infants and children. Breathing difficulty, wet coughs, and frequent sneezing can lead to serious cases of pneumonia.
Booster shots are recommended for adults, though the most serious cases occur in children and newborns.
These two similarly-named bacterial infections are both especially nasty. The former may cause ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, and even infections in the bloodstream.
The latter causes inflammation in both the brain and spinal cord. If that weren’t bad enough, meningococcal infections may also increase vulnerability to sepsis.
Most doctors recommend an initial vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 while a booster may be required around age 16.
Give Your Immune System a Fighting Chance
Our immune systems work best when they know who the enemy is. By introducing your body to the kind of infections it may be required to fight, we give our immune systems the vital information it needs to target and destroy.
While many vaccines and immunizations are administered while we’re young, keeping track of how long it’s been--especially with the flu--can keep you safe for years to come.
Catch up on your Immunizations at Medical West
Medical West can arm your immune system to do battle with the most common bugs. If you have young children in need of vaccines or immunization, or if you need a booster yourself, call 205-996-WEST to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Serving Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance, Medical West has the information and immunizations you need!