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Protecting your family's health

You put a lot of energy into caring for the people you love – staying healthy is something you can do for yourself and your family. Most parents make sure their growing children receive all the shots they need, but may not consider it as important for themselves. Immunity is a family affair. Be proactive and make sure you are fully vaccinated against common preventable diseases. Vaccinations you may have received during childhood don’t protect you forever – booster shots are often needed to help maintain immunity.

Consider what might place you at risk for a preventable illness. You may travel outside of Canada, 1a or work in healthcare or spend time in retirement homes. 1b You may have a chronic health condition 1c such as diabetes that makes you more vulnerable to infection. On the home front, you may be providing care to an elderly parent 1b with a chronic illness such as heart, lung, or kidney disease. Or perhaps you look after grandchildren who are younger than 23 months? 1d All these factor into increased risk of exposure to preventable illnesses.

Grown-ups need immunization too

Every adult should be vaccinated once during adulthood against pertussis (whooping cough). Shots to protect against tetanus (a germ found in the soil) and diphtheria should be updated every 10 years. 2a When it comes to measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), and varicella (chickenpox, discussed above), if you have not had either the vaccine or the disease, get immunized. 2b

Influenza (the flu) also poses increasing risks as we age – get a flu shot yearly. 2c Other vaccines may require updating depending on individual needs – check your medical records or ask your doctor how you can get caught up. Then get the shots you need.

Are you over 50 years of age?

Just one shot can significantly reduce your risk of the following two conditions.

1. Remember the chickenpox? If you were affected by chickenpox as a child, you should know that the varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that causes it can remain dormant in your system for many years. In some individuals, for unknown reasons, this virus can be reactivated and result in herpes zoster (shingles). This painful blistering rash resolves with time, but the pain may persist in some people who develop post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a chronic and debilitating condition. 3

2. Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a common bacteria that is easily spread between people in close contact. 4a Pneumococcal infection can cause several illnesses including bacterial pneumonia and middle ear infections; serious or even fatal pneumococcal infections occur most commonly in the elderly and the very young. 4b If you have close contact with a very young or an elderly individual, make sure you are up to date with this vaccine. If you are 65 years of age or older and have not had a dose of pneumococcal vaccine in more than 5 years, it is time to immunize. 5a

No matter what your age, immune protection is important for you and the people around you.


Brought to you by vaccines411.ca – know where to go for your vaccinations.

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Read more Vaccines411® Articles


Note: the hyperlinks that direct to other sites are not continuously updated. It is possible that some links become untraceable over time. Thank you.

  1. Top 10 reasons to be immunized
    https://cdn.vaccines411.ca/assets/pdf/Ref 1_Adults top 10 reasons.pdf
  2. Adult immunizations needed
    https://cdn.vaccines411.ca/assets/pdf/Ref 2_adult immunizations needed.pdf
  3. Protect yourself against shingles brochure
    https://cdn.vaccines411.ca/assets/pdf/Ref 3_shingles HPV brochure.pdf
  4. What you need to know about pneumococcal disease
    https://cdn.vaccines411.ca/assets/pdf/Ref 4_What you need to know about pneumococcal disease - Immunize Your Child - Pub.pdf
  5. Adults need a vaccination today
    https://cdn.vaccines411.ca/assets/pdf/Ref 5_Adults need a vaccine today.pdf