As a child, you may remember getting vaccinated for chicken pox, measles and mumps. But what you may not realize is that your body's immunity to those vaccines lessens as you age.

Thousands of adults suffer and die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases, according to state epidemiologist Tina Tan. She said as you get older, your health changes and you may have underlying medical conditions that warrant certain vaccines.

There are tests to check your immune status to detect whether you might have adequate immunity to specific infectious diseases, Tan said.

She recommends getting vaccinated for certain diseases every year no matter what your age. For example, the common one is the influenza vaccine. The strains of flu change every year and that's why a new vaccine is formulated all the time.

Pertussis or whooping cough vaccines also wane over time. So that's another vaccine that adults need later in life.

Tan said when you go for your routine checkup, that's a great time to talk about whether your vaccines are up to date.

Tan also said there have been new vaccines introduced over time that people may not know even exist.

You also need to be mindful that vaccine-preventable diseases are a risk when you're traveling to areas of the world where some diseases are more common than what you see in the United States. Travelers going to places where measles are prevalent should check with their doctor to see if extra booster shots are needed.

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