Need a boost?

HARLINGEN — Thought you were vaccinated against pertussis, also known as whooping cough?

Guess again. Maybe you had all your shots and boosters when you were a child. Most of them are good for life, but a few need to be repeated.

“You should be keeping up with tetanus for sure,” said Penny Hodgins, director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health at Harlingen Medical Center.

In fact, adults should get a tetanus and diphtheria booster every 10 years.

“At some point in their life, their next one should really be a Tdap with pertussis in it,” she said. Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

“It’s not that pertussis is serious for adults,” Hodgins said. “It’s that they can very easily think that they just have a cold and it endangers babies who are too young to get immunized.”

Fortunately, most of our other childhood vaccinations are good for life. The measles, mumps and rubella shot (MMR) should still be good as long as you had two doses. If you didn’t have two doses, you need to get a second one, Hodgins said.

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