Shots and Screenings – A Maintenance Manual to Staying Healthy!
Regular Screenings and Immunizations
Staying healthy requires regular attention and screenings and immunizations are part of that. However, it’s easy to lose track of what you need, when and how often. Below is a list that will keep you on schedule:
General preventive care screenings and immunizations
- Breast cancer screening, starting at age 40, with mammograms every 1-2 years for all women, especially between the ages of 50-79.
- Cervical cancer screening, starting at age 21.
- Colorectal screening, starting at age 50 or sooner if there is a family history or by age 45 for African-Americans.
- Periodic screening for cholesterol (at least every five years), hypertension (annual blood pressure checks), diabetes (blood sugars every three years after age 45 or if there is a family history), osteoporosis (by menopause and every two to five years pending results) and thyroid disorders (TSH thyroid blood tests every five years or yearly if on thyroid hormone).
- Tetanus booster every 10 years. Get the superTdap (adacel) that covers whooping cough if you have not received.
- Flu vaccine every fall for all adults. Females who are pregnant during the months of November-February also should get the vaccine.
- Women over age 60 (or younger, if they have chronic medical problems like diabetes or are absent a spleen) should have the pneumonia vaccine PNEUMOVAX.
- Women by age 60 (and approved for adults over age 50 who are not allergic to gelatin or neomycin) should get the shingles vaccine ZOSTAVAX. Even if you’ve had shingles you can get it again. You can receive the vaccine a year after getting shingles. People with compromised immune systems cannot receive live attenuated vaccines.
- Young girls and women ages 9 to 26 should strongly consider the HPV vaccine Gardasil or Cervarix as well as the meningitis vaccine Menactra (prior to heading off to a college dorm or the military).
Test for cervical and gynecological cancers
- HPV DNA testing (plus a ThinPrep Pap Test) for women over the age of 30 or with abnormal Paps. If both results are normal, testing can be reduced to every five years.
- If a woman has a positive HPV result, but a negative result on her Pap, she should repeat both tests in six to 12 months.
Put together a complete family medical history and share it with your doctor. The information in it can indicate whether you are at risk for some conditions and diseases and whether you should get earlier or additional testing.
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