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Adult Preventative Healthcare Guidelines

People aged 60 years and older should receive the herpes zoster vaccine to prevent the development of shingles. A single dose of the vaccine can be given to adults even if they have already had an episode of shingles.

The Zoster Vaccine is not recommended for persons with a history of allergic reactions to any components of the vaccine, including gelatin and neomycin. Persons with primary or acquired immunodeficiency (HIV) or any Rheumatology patient on immunosuppressive treatment should also refrain from receiving the vaccine, as it is a live vaccine.

The most common side effect is redness, pain and swelling at the injection site as well as itching and headache.

The risk of developing shingles increases with age, and approximately half of people who live to age 85 will develop Shingles.

Recommended Immunization Schedule Flu/Pneumonia Vaccine – All adults age 65 and older as well as all Rheumatology patients on immunosuppressive treatment regardless of their age should get the flu and pneumonia vaccine. The Flu Shot is given yearly in the fall and the Pneumonia shot is given every 5 years.

Hepatitis B Vaccine – this is recommended for adults with end stage kidney disease, patients who have hemophilia or who have bleeding disorders such as Factor VII or IX Concentrates, persons who live in the same household as someone who has Hepatitis B, homosexual men, health care professionals, and illicit injectable drug users. This is given as a series of three injections. After the initial vaccine is given, the second vaccine is given one month later and then third vaccine is given 6 months after the first injection. This is good for life. Tetanus and Diphtheria Vaccine – recommended once every 10 years or it can be updated with tetanus toxoid in 5 years if needed for a bad cut.

HPV Vaccine (Cervical Cancer Vaccine) – this is recommended for women ages 9-25 preferably never having been sexually active. This is given as a series of three injections. After the initial vaccine is given, the second vaccine is given one month later and then third vaccine is given 6 months after the first injection. This is good for life. Meningitis Vaccine – this is recommended for young adults in high school and entering college. One injection is given that is good for life.

Vaccines are available through pharmacy clinics at Walgreens, CVS, and some grocery stores. Vaccines are always available at the St. Louis City and County Health Departments.

Cancer Screenings (American Cancer Society Guidelines) Mammograms – should be done yearly at age 40 and beyond as long as a woman is in good health. Monthly self-breast exams should be done.

Colonoscopy – should be done at 50 years old and every 10 years thereafter or as directed by your gastroenterologist. If there is a family history (First Degree Relatives i.e. Mother/Father/Sister/Brother/Children) of colon cancer, you should be screened 10 years prior to their age at the onset of colon cancer.

Pap Test & Pelvic Exam – should be done about 3 years after women begin having sexual intercourse or at age 21. Screening should be done every year. Women age 70 or older who have had 3 or more normal pap tests in a row and no abnormal pap test results in the last 10 years may choose to stop having cervical cancer screening. Women who have had a total hysterectomy may also choose to stop having cervical cancer screening, unless the surgery was done as a treatment for cervical cancer or pre-cancer. Women who have a hysterectomy without removal of the cervix should continue to follow the above guidelines.

Prostate Exam – both PSA and digital rectal exams should be done annually beginning at age 50. African-American men and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer should begin testing at age 45. Men with multiple first-degree relatives with prostate cancer at an early age could begin at 40.

Other Screenings

  • Bone Density – should be done every year or two (insurance dependent) after onset of menopause or with a loss of height of over ½ inch in one year.
  • Dental Exam – should be done every 6 months to yearly
  • Eye Exams – should be done yearly to every 3 years

Physical Exam – complete physical with fasting labs is recommended every 3 years for adults up to age 40, every 2 years at ages 40-50 and yearly for people over 50 years of age. If you haven’t had a physical in a while, call your primary care physician to schedule one right away.

– If you have any questions about the above recommended vaccines or tests please discuss it with your provider at your next visit.

Remember…prevention is the key to keeping you healthy!