FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 6, 2012) -- Keeping abreast of recommended routine immunizations is not just child's play. Adults need immunizations too.

Lyster Army Health Clinic encourages adults to check with their physician to make sure they are up to date on important vaccinations they may have received as a child, but not as an adult.

Vaccinations many adults do not receive include the Tdap shot, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), which is recommended every 10 years. Others include the shingles vaccination for those 60 years and older, and the pneumococcal vaccination for those 65 years and older.

"Adults need immunizations, too," said Donna Upshaw-Combs, community health nurse at Lyster. "As we grow older, childhood immunizations can wear off, and put us and our love ones at risk for acquiring old and new strains of vaccine-preventable diseases."

Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish a recommended adult and child immunization schedule. The adult-specific immunizations are determined by age, lifestyle, health conditions, previous immunizations and other factors.

The CDC recommends adults receive the seasonal influenza, or flu shot, every year; Tdap every 10 years; shingles for those adults 60 years and older; pneumococcal for adults 65 years and older (a one-time shot); and hepatitis B (three-shot series) for adults who have diabetes or are at risk for hepatitis B.

Patients who keep current on vaccinations ensure their body has the right amount of antibodies to fight off the virus or illness, Upshaw-Combs said.

Adults are encouraged to receive their flu vaccination every year because the formula for the vaccine is altered each year to keep up with the ever-changing strain of the virus.

It is also important to make sure patients are up to date on their Tdap shot, especially if they plan to be around children, she said.

"When adults receive their Tdap shot, they are not only protecting themselves from curable illnesses but also protecting their loved ones because whopping cough can be deadly in children, especially those under the age of 6 months," Upshaw-Combs said.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with your provider, call 255-7000.