Vaccinations shouldn't stop at two years of age, as is generally believed. As you grow older, the protection from vaccines taken at a younger age often wears off and puts you at a higher risk of contracting diseases. These can be prevented by getting vaccinated. There are several vaccines, which are recommended for adults to prevent common health conditions such as influenza, hepatitis, cervical cancer, typhoid, etc. They reduce the chances of developing any complications from preventable diseases.
Vaccinations are even more important when traveling abroad. Visiting a different country makes one more susceptible to various diseases as one gets exposed to foreign organisms in that country. Speak to your doctor about the possible risks and take the appropriate vaccinations to ensure a safe trip.
HEPATITIS A: This is an infection in the liver which spreads when fecal matter enters the mouth. It is caused by direct contact with or objects used by the infected person. Diagnosis takes 1-2 weeks after the initial infection and is seen in all age groups and in both the genders. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting. Dosage of 0.5 ml IM deltoid is given initially, followed by a booster after 6-12 months.
HEPATITIS B: This liver infection is spread through infected body fluids and is seen in all age groups, in both the male and female population. Jaundice, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain are some of the symptoms. Dosage of 1 ml IM deltoid is given at a 0-1-6 months' interval.
INFLUENZA: Commonly known as “flu,” influenza spreads by air contamination and also by touching contaminated surfaces. It is seen in male and female populations of all ages. Fever, chills, cough, common cold, fatigue, body pains, rash, watering of eyes are some of its symptoms. A single dose of IM is given.
CERVICAL CANCER: This cancer of the cervix is caused due to the abnormal growth of cells that can invade or spread to other parts of the body. Abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse are some of its symptoms. Infection with some types of human papilloma virus (HPV) and smoking are some causes. Three doses IM are given at an interval of 0-2-6 months.
RABIES: This viral disease causes acute inflammation of the brain in humans and other warm-blooded animals. Fever and tingling at the site of exposure, violent movements, uncontrolled excitement, fear of water are a few major symptoms. It can be seen in people of all age groups. The dosage includes pre-exposure – 0.1 ml IM at 0-7-28 days' interval and post exposure – 1 ml or 0.5 ml (after 4-5 days) IM deltoid at 0-3-7-14-30 days' interval.
Note: The vaccine should never be administered in the gluteal region.
MMR: This immunization vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) vaccine is generally administered to children around the age of one year, with a second dose before starting school or at 4-5 years of age.
ROTAVIRUS GASTROENTERITES: This virus infects the bowels and is most commonly found in children. Rotavirus A, the most common, causes more than 90% of infections in humans. Repeat infections with different viral strains are possible and most children have several episodes of rotavirus infection in the first years of life.
CHICKEN POX: This is caused by an initial infection with the varicella zoster virus. A skin rash that forms small blisters, fever, tiredness and headaches are some of the symptoms, which last for 5-10 days. It can be seen in all age groups. The duration of the visible blistering in children is usually 4-7 days. The disease takes a more severe form in adults.
SHINGLES: More commonly known as Herpes Zoster or zona, Shingles is a viral disease. Its symptoms include painful skin rash with blisters in a limited area on one side of the body (left or right), often in a stripe. It is usually seen in people under 60 years of age. The most popular test detects VZV-specific IgM antibody in the blood. The evidence suggests that protection lasts for up to 7 years.
TETANUS: This is an infection characterized by muscle spasms, usually lasting a few minutes each time and occurring frequently for 3-4 weeks. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, trouble swallowing, high blood pressure and a fast heart rate. Tetanus is often associated with rust, especially rusty nails, and can occur at any age.
TYPHOID: This is a symptomatic bacterial infection, with high fever, weakness, abdominal pain, constipation and headaches. Diagnosis is made with blood, bone marrow or stool cultures and with the Widal test.
PNEUMOCOCCAL INFECTION: Pneumococci are a type of streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria spread through contact with people who are ill or by healthy people who carry the bacteria in the back of their nose. Vaccines can prevent pneumococcal infections. There are two vaccines: for infants and young children and for people at high risk, like the elderly, those with chronic illnesses or weak immune systems, smokers or asthmatics.
DPT: This is a combination vaccine against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus, usually part of childhood immunization. For adults, separate combination (booster) vaccines are used that adjust the relative concentrations of their component.
MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS: This relates to the inappropriate clotting of blood within the vessels and is seen in youngsters between 11-18 years of age. A single booster is given after 16 years of age.
PNEUMOCOCCAL INFECTION: It is given to people who are below or 65 years of age. A single dose of high booster is given. There is a high risk after 5 years again.
INFLUENZA: It is given to people who are below or equal to 50 years of age. One dose per season is given.
MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS: A primary single dosage and a booster after 5 years is usually given to adults who go as pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
TYPHOID: This is given to those who travel to endemic areas. A booster dose is administered every 3 years.
HEPATITIS B: This is highly recommended for health workers at intervals of 0-1 week, 3-4 weeks and a booster dose at 12 months.
YELLOW FEVER: This is given as and when required by individual countries or travel to endemic areas. A single dose is administered before travel and a booster every 10 years.
SWINE FLU VACCINATION
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of influenza virus. The seasonal flu vaccines don't protect against swine flu, so a new flu vaccine has been developed. For most people, swine flu is mild. It comes on quickly and generally lasts for around a week. It causes fever, tiredness, cough and a sore throat. Other symptoms can include a headache, aching muscles, chills, sneezing, a runny nose, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Some people become more seriously ill. This is why it is important to take a vaccine against swine flu