Lives Made Better | Summer 2011

Vaccinations:
Not Just for Kids

by Amanda Overmyer, M.D.

About the Doctor

Amanda Overmyer, M.D., is a family practice physician and member of the medical staff at Memorial Medical Center. Her practice encompasses both adult and pediatric medicine, with a particular interest in women’s, adolescent, and preventive health care issues. She earned her medical degree from Wayne State University.

Vaccinations are lifesavers for adults as well as children. But many adults aren’t up on their recommended vaccines. As noted in Dr. Buckles’ article, some vaccines are equally important for children and adults. Adult vaccinations are recommended against illnesses such as these:

  • Influenza. Each year, the flu and its complications kill 30,000 to 50,000 Americans. Another 200,000-plus must be hospitalized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu vaccine for all people ages 6 months and older.
  • Tetanus (lockjaw). You can pick up this nasty bacterial infection from a tiny scratchor puncture wound, and it causes death in about one out of 10 cases. Often, it’s given in combination with diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines. Everyone needs a tetanus booster shot at least every 10 years.
  • Herpes zoster (shingles). This vaccine is recommended for adults ages 60 and older who have had chickenpox. More than 1 million Americans come down with this painful condition every year.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV). A common infection, HPV is a major cause of cervical cancer in women, and it’s preventable. It’s recommended for females ages 11 to 26, ideally before they become sexually active.
  • Pneumonia. Vaccination is recommended for all adults ages 65 and older.

Remember: Vaccines can prevent disease and save lives. I urge you to ask your doctor about these and other immunizations that may benefit you.