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Staying up to date with vaccines as an adult

With the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in our region and 31 cases in Kanawha and Putnam counties, it has people seeking vaccines. But it also led to the question of what vaccines should adults should be keeping up to date. (WCHS/WVAH)

Other states across the country are sending warning to travelers about being up to date on their Hepatitis vaccines. With the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in our region and 31 cases in Kanawha and Putnam counties, it has people seeking vaccines. But it also led to the question of what vaccines should adults be keeping up to date.

"I feel like it's the last thing on your mind. It should be the first thing because it is very serious," said Nautika Carter of Morgantown. "You need to get your shots and vaccines, but I don't think anyone is paying attention."

Carter said she hates shots and tries to avoid them when she goes to the doctor's office.

"If they don't ask me, I don't say anything about," Carter said.

Dr. Elizabeth Brown, an internal medicine physician, said she goes through a checklist with her patients at their yearly physicals.

"It's a little frustrating because a lot of people don't think it's important and don't see the use of prevention," Brown said. "I think as adults we kind of forget about our own health a lot."

The first set of adult vaccines most college students receive is measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Brown said there are certain immunizations you get in certain ages of your life.

"Pneumonia vaccines we talk about for people age 65 or earlier for people with chronic lung problems," Brown said.

As you get older, Brown along with the CDC also recommend shingles vaccine.

"We now have two different shingles vaccines, one came out starting at age 50, that is the newer one and you want to get two doses of that," Brown said.

Every 10 years adults should get the tetanus booster and the flu vaccine every year. In recent years, children have been vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, but not many adults are immunized.

"Adults who didn't have those, were still not vaccinated unless we happen to travel and decided to get the vaccine," Brown said.

Brown said doctors and even pharmacies track what vaccines you have had and you should check with them at your yearly physicals to see if you are up to date.

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department recommends people get the Hepatitis A vaccine even if you got it more than 15 years ago because vaccines do wear off as one gets older.

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