Your job, lifestyle, or personal health may make you more susceptible to certain illnesses. As a result, your health-care provider may recommend some additional vaccines to protect you.
Hepatitis B: If you're a health-care worker or day-care worker, or live with someone infected with hepatitis B, you should seriously consider being vaccinated with this genetically engineered vaccine. Hepatitis B is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and many other distressing symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, and jaundice. In some cases, it can cause chronic liver disease, cancer, and death. A pregnant woman with hepatitis B can pass the infection on to her baby during labor and delivery. If this happens, the baby is at high risk of contracting serious liver diseases as an adult.
Hepatitis A: There's also a vaccine for hepatitis A, another form of the disease that is usually spread via contaminated food or water. Its health ramifications are not as serious as those of hepatitis B, and the illness usually does not affect an unborn baby. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, and nausea. Occasionally, however, hepatitis A can contribute to premature labor and fetal death. If you live in an area where this virus is common, such as the West Coast or the Southwest, or if you're planning to visit a developing country, ask your doctor about the vaccine, which is made from killed viruses.
Polio: You've probably received a polio vaccine, and this central nervous system disease has been extremely rare in the United States for the past two decades. However, if you plan on visiting India, Southeast Asia, or Africa, you may need a polio booster shot, which is made from a killed virus. (If you've already received a vaccine, booster shots are small, additional doses used to keep your immunity at the proper level.)
Pneumococcus: If you have a lung condition, such as asthma, your doctor may recommend the genetically engineered pneumococcal vaccine, which prevents some forms of pneumonia.
Though it may seem as if you'll be seeing a lot of needles in the near future, relax. Your doctor will ensure that you get the right immunization for your health and lifestyle.
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