Vaccination for adults : how it can save your life or that of your would be baby
Immunization or vaccination is for children, right? All educated Indians are aware that they should get their children all vaccines as per the immunization schedule. But, have you ever had a discussion with your doctor about your need for vaccines ? I would guess, the answer is no ! But, many life saving vaccines are available for adults in India, which can really save your life. Read below to know more
Recommendation for vaccination in Indian adults:
Hepatitis B vaccine:
Hepatitis B is an infection of liver (hepatitis) caused by the virus of the same name. This virus, once it infects the liver, is cleared by body defenses in most adults. Thus the body rids itself of infection. But, in nearly 10-15% of people the virus does not get cleared off. It can stay in the liver, become active for some time and cause chronic hepatitis B, which can lead to gradual loss of liver function and ultimately failure. Not only that, chronic hepatitis B also leads to liver cancer in a good percentage of cases.
Humans get infected with hepatitis B by blood and body fluids. Meaning sexual activities with a person having hepatitis B, sharing razor or getting contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person can give you hepatitis B. Often people infected with hepatitis B , do not know that they have the infection, unless their liver starts failing. So, one can get unknowingly exposed to hepatitis B. You would have figured out by now that the mode of transmission of hepatitis B is same as HIV. But, the infection or transmission potential of hepatitis B virus is higher than HIV virus. This means that much smaller contact of blood or body fluid can lead to HBV infection
Newborns of infected mothers have a high risk of getting chronic infection, if not protected early after birth
The hepatitis B vaccine ( three shots within 6 months) can protect from HBV infection for life. Therefore, it makes immense sense to get vaccination for HBV done. The UIP (Universal Immunization Program) has introduced this vaccine for children. But the focus on adult vaccination is yet to follow. Therefore, you need to get your well being in your own hands and get vaccination for HBV done.
The hepatitis B vaccine has become available in India, in past few years only. Therefore, most adults would not have been immunized with hepatitis B vaccine
Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines :
Hepatitis A and typhoid are water borne diseases and people who eat out a lot are at risk of catching these infections. The vaccine for hepatitis A ( 2 shots) give life long protection and typhoid vaccine has to be taken every three years. Typhoid is a very common in India. It is very serious diseases which can lead to perforation of intestine and life threatening sepsis as well. These vaccines have become available in last few years, so most adults would not have been immunized with these vaccines
Chicken pox vaccine:
If you have already had chicken pox, you do not need the vaccine. But, if you have not, then you should get vaccinated for chicken pox. Because, chicken pox in adulthood is much more serious than chicken pox in childhood. In addition, if a pregnant women gets chicken pox, the risk to fetus is considerable. Therefore, if you are planning to have a baby, get vaccinated at least 3 months before conceiving.
This is a vaccine for Measles, Mumps and Rubella. All adults who have not received the vaccine ( which will be nearly all adults, because the vaccine is relatively new) , should get vaccinated with MMR. Again, especially recommended for women planning to have a baby
Tetanus or combination Tetanus vaccines :
The common practice in India has been that if you get a wound by some kind of accident, you get tetanus shot within 24-72 hours of that. But, this protection is incomplete and there is a much better way to protect yourself from tetanus. Children and pregnant ladies routinely get tetanus shots for protection. Similar vaccination is recommended for all adults who have not got complete vaccination for tetanus. Those who have got complete vaccination as recommended, need only a booster every ten years.
Often, Diptheria and Pertussis vaccines are given along with Tetanus vaccine. Children get DPT vaccine at 6-8, 10-12 and 14-16 weeks of age, then boosters till five years of age. At ten years they should get another booster of combination vaccine. Similarly all adults, getting tetanus vaccine for the first time should get a combination vaccine (with lower dose of Diptheria and Pertussis components). Discuss with your doctor
Vaccination for adults in special conditions :
You may need some other vaccines, depending on your health condition and age. Generally, people older than 65 years of age or people with diabetes or immuno compromised people need additional vaccines. Some of these vaccines are Flu vaccine, Pneumoccocal vaccine and Zoster vaccine. If you are above 65 or have a chronic illness, discuss with your doctors, what all vaccines you may need in addition
Vaccines are an important part of complete preventive care, check out the complete HealthWise Preventive Program for all the parts of preventive health
Another neglected are in preventive health is cancer prevention, read all about cancer screening, self monitoring and self examinations for cancer preventionhttps://www.healthwiseindian.com/cancer-screening-tests-indians/