It’s National Immunization Awareness Month, which means there is no better time to get your immunizations than now. Getting the proper vaccinations is important and is not something that is limited to young children and adolescents. In fact, as a senior citizen, now is the time to make sure you are protected against disease. Learn more about the types of immunizations you should be getting to protect yourself!
- Chicken Pox & Shingles: If you have never had the chicken pox vaccination, now is the time to get vaccinated! This also holds true if you were only given the first dose of the vaccine as a child. Proactively protect yourself because this disease can lead to serious complications. Seniors must get a specific vaccine that specifically targets shingles and chicken pox because shingles commonly occurs in people who are over 50 years of age. Many people believe that the chicken pox vaccine protects against shingles because both come from the same bacteria, but this is not the case. Talk with your doctor to ensure you’re getting the protect you need.
- Diphtheria & Tetanus: TDAP is the name for the vaccine that protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis in adults. It is suggested that seniors receive each vaccination every ten years to ensure protection against these diseases. This vaccine also helps to protect against Pertussis, which is more commonly known as whooping cough. Although whooping cough doesn’t pose a serious threat to adults, it can be extremely harmful to infants. Receiving this vaccination helps protect you and your family from getting extremely ill, particularly if you have grandchildren who are very young.
- Influenza: The flu is responsible for many hospitalizations for people of all ages and is not a pleasant illness to deal with, as recovery time can be slow. For seniors, the flu can be especially harmful and even result in death. As you age, your body weakens and lacks the proper ability to fight illnesses as well as it once could. Getting your flu shot each year is important in order to prevent catching the disease. Seniors living in nursing homes should receive their flu shots annually to prevent the spread of the flu within the facility. A higher dose of the vaccine is sometimes available to those who are older to help them prevent the disease even further. Your doctor can help you decide which version of the vaccination is right for you.
- Pneumococcal: Similar to the flu, Pneumonia is responsible for many deaths among the elderly. If you had a pneumonia vaccination as a child, you are still eligible for another one time shot. Those who smoke or have issues with their lungs can see major complications from the pneumonia, making prevention key.
- Other Vaccinations: Some seniors who are older and suffering with other medical conditions may be more susceptible to other illnesses such as Meningitis, Hepatitis A and B, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. Talk to your doctor to find out if any or all of these vaccinations are right for you.
These are just some of the vaccines that will protect you against illnesses and the complications that come along with them, especially if you are considering assisted living. Talk with your doctor or visiting doctor to learn more about protecting your body from severe illness and the vaccinations you may need.
About the Author
Ruth Folger Weiss is a writer for the Mont Marie Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a post acute rehabilitation center in Holyoke, MA.