Curvy Questions, Straight Answers: Vaccines

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: May 29, 2012

Curvy-Question-VaccinesFrom the Spring 2012 Healthy Woman publication

Q: I'm a 45-year-old woman and got the flu vaccine this year for the first time. I was wondering if there are any other vaccines that I need?

A: "Vaccinations are not just for children. Thousands of American lives could be saved each year if we could increase the number of adults who receive recommended vaccinations," said Family Medicine Physician Giridhar Chilukuri, MD, with Westchester Medical Group.

"For a woman in her mid-forties, I would recommend a tetanus booster if it's been 10 years or longer since you received one. Continue getting this booster every 10 years," said Chilukuri. He also recommends the varicella or chicken pox vaccine for women who haven't had a confirmed case of chicken pox. "This is a two-dose vaccination and I definitely encourage the vaccination," he said. "Also consider the MMR vaccine for measles-mumps-rubella. Some adults may need two doses of this vaccine, depending on when they were born and if they're at high risk, based on their job or their international travel."

There are other vaccines available, such as those for pneumonia, hepatitis A and B, and meningitis. Talk to your doctor about those that make sense for you based on your medical history, your lifestyle or your occupation.

Visit the Porter Health System website
Valparaiso Campus
814 LaPorte Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: 219-263-4600

"I strongly encourage patients to consider immunizations. It's like looking both ways before you cross the street. You reduce your risk by taking precautions. That's what immunizations do. Yet, a recent study* showed that millions of Americans go without vaccinations each year, leading to an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 preventable deaths, thousands of preventable illnesses and $10 billion in preventable health care costs each year. Immunizations help us to do more to prevent illness," Chilukuri added.

*Source: Adult Immunization Shots to Save lives, February, 2010

Dr. Chilukuri is a member staff at Porter. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Chilukuri at Westchester Medical Group in Chesterton, call 219.926.2133