Vaccines

Do adults really need tetanus booster shots?

Sara W. Dong, MD

Contributor
Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

Can childhood tetanus vaccinations offer sufficient protection during adulthood without regular booster shots? Although a new study posits this, the CDC continues to recommend booster shots every 10 years.

No spleen? What you need to know to stay healthy

Wendy Stead, MD

Contributor

You don’t need your spleen to live a normal, healthy life, but the spleen does play an important role in defending the body against infection, so those without it need to take certain precautions to ensure they remain healthy.

Is it safe to see the pediatrician for vaccines and medical visits?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Concerned about pediatric visits right now? Is it okay to wait on a child’s vaccinations or better to stick to the schedule? What about appointments for other routine matters? What is serious enough to justify the risk?

Why follow a vaccine schedule?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

New research suggests just 63% of families follow the recommended childhood vaccination schedule. Altering the schedule by skipping vaccines or spreading them out may putting children at risk, as well as others in the community.

What can you do to reduce the risk of birth defects?

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Women who are hoping to become pregnant want to do everything they can to ensure that their babies will be as healthy as possible, which means following recommendations to minimize the possibility of birth defects.

Vaccines for women: Before conception, during pregnancy, and after a birth

Thinking about becoming pregnant? Already pregnant? It helps to be aware of which vaccines to consider getting, and the timing for these. Some vaccinations for women also help protect newborns.

Harvard Health Ad Watch: When marketing puts your health at risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Can health marketing be harmful? Watch out for health ads that make misleading or even dangerous claims that an unproven product or treatment is better than a proven one.

How to help your baby through shots and blood tests

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Vaccinations and blood draws for testing are painful moments for babies. But there are things parents can do to help their baby get through these procedures more easily.

HPV and cancer: The underappreciated connection

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Human papilloma virus (HPV), a common viral infection, has been linked to cancer of the genitals, anus, mouth, and throat, as well as cervical cancer. Yet a survey of US adults found that many people are not aware of this connection.

Bad flu season predicted — did you get your shot?

John Ross, MD, FIDSA

Contributing Editor

This year’s flu season may be severe. Almost everyone should get vaccinated, but which vaccine might be best for you? And how else can you avoid the flu?