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Are you immunized? Don’t skip this healthy habit no matter what your age

Sure, you eat right, exercise regularly and do other things to protect your health. But are you really doing enough to stay well? The answer is no, if you aren't getting the immunizations you need.

“Back-to-school time is especially important to make sure your kids get all their vaccines to help protect them from serious diseases like whooping cough,” said Stephanie Videan, Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Aspirus Laurium Clinic. “All it takes is one to spread the disease.”

Even as an adult, you need vaccines to help prevent diseases that are serious enough to land you in a hospital—or worse. Why? For one, immunity from some vaccines can fade with time.

Just because you had a shot years ago doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. For instance, adults need a booster to renew protection against tetanus every 10 years. And you need a flu shot every year.

Or you may need other vaccinations because of reasons such as:

Your age (the immune system weakens with age).
Your lifestyle.
Your health—for instance, if you have a weakened immune system or a chronic disease.
Shots you missed when you were a kid.

What adults may need

Ask your doctor if you're due for any vaccinations, including:

The zoster vaccine to prevent shingles, a painful disease.
Yearly shots to prevent the flu.
Pneumococcal vaccines to prevent lung and bloodstream infections.
Td/Tdap to prevent tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and whooping cough.
Vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and B infections.
MMR shots to prevent measles, mumps and rubella.
A vaccine to help prevent meningitis (inflammation around the spinal cord and brain).
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines that help prevent cervical cancer in women and certain other cancers in both women and men.

One more thing: Getting your vaccinations doesn't just protect you. It can help protect any friends and family—including babies and older adults—around you from getting very sick too.