When you talk about vaccine schedules, it’s easy to think those are something you only worry about for infants and young children preparing to go to school. As adults we’re long past the age of regular shots at our check ups. But keeping up with vaccines is important for people of all ages, and there are some specifically targeted toward older adults that can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and improving your quality of life.
In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month celebrated each August, we at Piedmont HomeHealth wanted to highlight some of the important vaccines for older adults. Vaccines are an important tool in not only helping people contract a disease, but also in helping prevent the spread of disease. Take, for example, the flu vaccine. If you choose not to get vaccinated and happen to get the flu this winter, you could also then share your germs with others who might also get the virus. That’s why vaccines are not only good for the individual, but for society as a whole.
Here are the vaccines older adults should be up to date with:
Flu: Every fall you hear the encouragement to get your flu vaccine. This one needs to be updated every year, and the CDC recommends getting your shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available, usually by the end of October. Of course, you always hear of people who get the vaccine but get the flu anyway. This occurs because the vaccine is designed to protect against the viruses that research shows will be the most common in the upcoming flu season, but unfortunately they can’t protect against every strand. The important thing is to be as protected as possible.ly they can’t protect against every strand. The important thing is to be as protected as possible.
Pneumonia. Unlike the flu shot, the vaccine for pneumonia is a one-time deal recommended for people over the age of 65. However, your doctor might recommend a booster after 10 years. This vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from getting pneumonia, but it does lower your chances, and older adults are at the greatest risk of serious infections or even death after contracting pneumonia.
Shingles: Anyone who’s ever suffered the pain and discomfort of shingles is thrilled to learn about the option of a vaccine. Shingles is a sometimes painful rash caused by the same virus as chicken pox. Anyone who has had chicken pox could have the virus lying dormant, and therefore run the risk of having it break out as an adult through shingles. This vaccine is approved for anyone over the age of 50, but the CDC recommends getting the vaccine after the age of 60 as it protects a person for about five years. And even if you’ve had shingles, you can still get the vaccine to help prevent future outbreaks.
Tetanus. While you’re at the doctor getting up on your vaccines, you should look into a tetanus booster as well. It’s recommended to update this vaccine every 10 years. The vaccine protects you from contracting the tetanus, a bacterial infection that is common in dirt and manure, and
can infect a person through cuts or deep wounds.
Honor National Immunization Awareness Month and call your doctor to make sure you’re up to date with your vaccines.