For our third birthday we launched the Share Your Story: GovGab Guest Writer Challenge. We’re proud to showcase our winning posts, which will run this whole week.

KristaKrista Cook has four higher-education degrees, three in government (B.A., M.P.A., and Ph.D) and she recently finished up a fourth in library/information science (M.L.S.) at Emporia State University. She enjoys helping people find quality information, especially from government sources, and considers herself an information fanatic. She currently resides in Kansas with her husband Greg.

I was 35 when I got married. My husband was substantially older. He didn’t know what immunizations he had had or if they were current. I didn’t want him dying on me before we’d had a chance to be married. So, I started doing everything I could to preserve him. He’s been a good sport about it too. He told me, “if you are willing for me to stay healthy, I’m willing to stick out my arm.”

We hear a lot about immunizing kids and teenagers but adults need to get vaccinated too. Flu season will start soon. Why not get a flu shot and get up-to-date on all the immunizations you need at the same time? The CDC provides a quiz you can complete.  It will tell you which immunizations you ought to get. The quiz only takes a minute or two and you can print off the results.

Keeping records is easy. I use this form from Health care professionals have always been willing to fill out my paperwork as well as their own. After that, I slip the form into a protective cover and store it with my health records.

Your local public health department is usually the best place to get vaccinated. It is one of their main responsibilities and their prices are low. Visit for flu information and to find flu shot clinics in your community.

I discovered that people generally die of pneumonia after their body has been weakened by a flu bug so getting a pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine is important too, especially if you’re getting up there in years.

Another important discovery was the new shingles vaccine (herpes zoster). Recommended for people 60+ it can help prevent or minimize shingles symptoms and pain. The vaccine is a little hard to find and expensive, but worth it. Insurance generally doesn’t cover it yet. New vaccines can make anybody nervous, but the shingles vaccine is actually the chickenpox vaccine (varicella) multiplied 15 times in strength.

So, do yourself and your loved one a favor. After all, being immunized brings peace of mind.