National immunization rates for adults are too low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We asked Sandra A. Fryhofer, M.D., adjunct professor of medicine at Emory University, for three inoculations you may have skipped.
Helps Prevent: Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough, which in 2012 reached its highest levels since 1955)
When You Should Roll Up Your Sleeve: "All adults should get this one-time shot, especially if they are around babies, who are most susceptible to complications from whooping cough," says Dr. Fryhofer. (But in 2012, only 14 percent of adults did.) It can be done in lieu of the Td (tetanus-diphtheria) shot, which is needed every 10 years.
Helps Prevent: Pneumonia, meningitis, bacteremia (a bloodstream infection) and some ear and sinus infections
When You Should Roll Up Your Sleeve: It's recommended for everyone over the age of 65, along with smokers and younger people with long-term health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes and asthma, says Dr. Fryhofer.
Helps Prevent: Herpes zoster (also called shingles)
When You Should Roll Up Your Sleeve: If you've had chickenpox, you can get shingles, and your risk increases as you get older. Currently, the CDC recommends that people over the age of 60 get the vaccine, but it's FDA-approved for those age 50 and up. First talk to your doctor, as you may have to pay for the shot out of pocket.