February 10, 2014 - To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate?...I get a lot of questions about vaccines and whether people should get them.  I will review a few of them briefly.

-The Flu shot absolutely will decrease your risk of getting the flu, absolutely will not give you the flu, and gives some people side effects but the vast majority of people get it without any adverse effects.

-The Shingles shot is absolutely not a necessity, does not save lives like other vaccines since no one dies from Shingles, and will decrease but not eliminate the risk of getting it.  Also keep in mind that most people get Shingles and get over it in a couple of weeks while only a small percent get pain after the infection and rash resolves.  

-The Pneumonia vaccine is for everyone at age 65 and is usually given just once.  Exceptions are those with lung disease like asthma. 

-Hepatitis A is good for international travelers.

-Hepatitis B is good for gay men, healthcare workers and students.

-The HPV vaccine is mainly for women and gay men age 26 or younger.

-The tetanus shot is given every 10 years and now includes the pertussis vaccine (whooping cough) in it.  This is an essential for all new parents or those in direct contact with newborns.  

Exceptions to all of these do exist but vaccinating yourself is a personal decision.  There are other vaccines as well so just ask me if you have questions at your next office visit or check my "Are You Up To Date" section.

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