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What Vaccines Should You and Your Family Have?

Many diseases can be prevented by vaccines. The CDC has vaccine schedules for adults and children. You and your family can use these to make sure you are protected. Getting vaccines when advised may help prevent the spread of these diseases.

The vaccine advice varies by:

  • Your age

  • Where you live

  • The risk factors you may have

Many basic vaccines are often given in combination. This means there are 2 or more vaccines in 1 shot (injection). This is done to reduce the number of shots needed. These diseases may be prevented by following the CDC guidelines for vaccines:

  • Chickenpox (varicella). This is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus. It spreads easily from person to person. It causes a skin rash. It may lead to complications like pneumonia. It is most common in children.

  • COVID-19. This is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads very easily from person to person. It infects the lungs and other organs. The disease can be serious and life-threatening. This is most true for people in high-risk groups. These include older adults and people with chronic health problems. The CDC and other experts advise COVID-19 vaccines for most age groups to prevent the spread of the infection.

  • Diphtheria. This is a serious disease caused by a poison (toxin) made by bacteria. It may damage the heart, lungs, and nerves. It can lead to death.

  • Flu (influenza). This is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads easily from person to person. It affects your nose, throat, and lungs. It is caused by different strains of flu viruses. The flu causes mild to severe illness. It may lead to pneumonia. In some cases, it can cause death.

  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).  This is an infection caused by bacteria. It leads to serious conditions. They include meningitis, pneumonia, and epiglottitis.

  • Hepatitis A. This is a liver disease caused by a virus. You can get it by eating food or drinking water that has poop in it. You can get it by coming in contact with someone who has the infection. Symptoms may include upset stomach, and severe tiredness (fatigue). It can cause yellowing of the skin (jaundice). But some people have no symptoms. This is often true in younger children.

  • Hepatitis B (hep B). This is a liver disease caused by a virus. It is spread through blood and other body fluids. It is also spread in childbirth from an infected mother. Symptoms may include fever, tiredness, and digestive problems. It can cause joint pain and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Symptoms can last for weeks or months. Hepatitis B is often more severe than hepatitis A. This is because it can cause more liver damage. It can also turn into a long-term (chronic) hepatitis B infection. This can lead to a severe liver disease called cirrhosis. It can lead to liver cancer. 

  • HPV. This is a type of sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is very common. It can cause genital warts. It can lead to cervical or anal cancer. It can lead to other serious cancers that are less common.

  • Measles (rubeola). Measles is a disease caused by a virus. It is spread very easily from person to person. It causes fever, cough, runny nose, and a rash all over the body.

  • Meningococcal meningitis. This is a severe infection caused by bacteria. It affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (meninges). It can be life-threatening. Symptoms can include fever, headache, a stiff neck, and nausea. It can also cause mental confusion.

  • Mumps. Mumps is caused by a virus. It causes a painful infection in some of the glands that make saliva. They are called the parotid glands. It can also affect other parts of the body. In rare cases, it can infect the testicles. This can cause sterility.

  • Pertussis (whooping cough). This is a disease caused by a type of bacteria. It is spread very easily from person to person. It affects the lungs. It causes severe, high-pitched coughing spasms. The coughing may be violent. It may last for long periods.

  • Pneumococcal pneumonia. This is a serious lung infection. It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can also spread into the blood. This is called sepsis. It can cause a spinal infection. This is called meningitis. It can also cause other infections.

  • Polio. This is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads very easily from person to person. It affects the nervous system. Symptoms may include a flu-like illness. It can cause stiffness in the neck and back, with pain in the arms and legs. In some cases, it can cause lifelong paralysis. This is often in the legs.

  • Rotavirus. This is a virus that spreads very easily from person to person. It is the main cause of severe diarrhea in children.

  • Rubella (German measles). This is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads very easily from person to person. Symptoms include a rash and fever. It can cause birth defects in a baby if a pregnant person has the virus.

  • Shingles (zoster). This is a disease caused by the varicella zoster virus. It causes a painful skin rash with blisters. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a chickenpox infection, the virus stays for life in nerve cells. It can act up years later as a shingles rash. 

  • Tetanus (lockjaw). This is a disease of the nervous system. It is caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. Symptoms include painful muscle contractions. These can lead to seizure-like movements. It may lead to nervous system disorders.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Barry Zingman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.