Adults need vaccines, too

They're not just for kids.

We're good about keeping our children's shots up to date, but we're not so good at protecting ourselves: Government reports show fewer than 6 percent of adults received the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine in 2009. Even if you got your shots as a child, immunity can fade over time. So roll up your sleeve for these four shots:

Flu: It's recommended for all adults, particularly those age 50 or older, anyone with chronic medical conditions (like asthma or diabetes) and pregnant women-new research suggests babies whose moms received the vaccine were nearly 50 percent less likely to be hospitalized with flu. Some new options: The intradermal vaccine (approved for adults up to age 64) is just as effective as a regular shot but uses a needle that's 90 percent smaller. People ages 65 and older may opt for the new Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, designed for a better immune response. The regular shot is still fine for all adults, and the nasal spray is available for non-pregnant, healthy adults younger than 50.

Td/Tdap: Those stand for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). The CDC recommends a one-time Tdap dose for adults under age 65; older people also can be vaccinated if they are in close contact with an infant, work in a health care setting or simply want protection.

Zoster: The vaccine for shingles - a viral infection that causes a painful, blistery skin rash - is recommended for adults 60 and older. The older a person is, the more severe the effects of the infection.

MMR: (For measles, mumps, rubella.) This year has seen the highest reported cases of measles in the USA in 15 years, many of which were brought in by people who traveled overseas. The CDC recommends one dose of MMR if you were born in 1957 or later.

• The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels and psychologist Wendy Walsh. Check for local listings.


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