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Home arrow Opinion arrow Shots, sorry to say, aren't just for tots

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Shots, sorry to say, aren't just for tots

Let's be brutally honest: Getting a shot hurts.

No one, no matter their tolerance for pain, confuses that instant when the hypodermic needle plunges into his or her arm with, say, a kiss.

But those few seconds of agony, as some kindly nurse probably once told you, won't kill you.

Tetanus, on the other hand, might.

And diphtheria's not always as benign as a cold, either.

Most adults understand that these and other diseases, though rare, can be dangerous.

But what a lot of adults don't understand, based on surveys, is that all those skin-pricks they endured as kids might not still protect them from a litany of unpleasant afflictions.

For instance, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control's National Immunization Survey, a mere 2 percent of Americans ages 18 to 64 have been vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Yet CDC recommends that adults have a tetanus/diphtheria booster shot every 10 years.

Adults who haven't been inoculated against whooping cough since childhood should arrange for a single injection that protects against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria, then follow with a tetanus/diphtheria booster every decade.

Fortunately, adults needn't go any farther than the Baker County Health Department (523-8211) to make sure they're up to date on immunizations.

Becky Sanders, the department's nursing supervisor, sums up the situation succinctly: "If you don't remember," she said, meaning the last time you had a booster, "you're due."

And remember: It'll only hurt for a second.

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