How often do we really think about immunization and its importance to our overall health? August’s National Immunization Awareness Month allows us to reflect on this issue by highlighting the vital benefits which immunizations hold for people throughout their entire lives.
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. They’re needed at all stages of life and can be particularly advantageous for seniors, who are more susceptible to diseases. Immunization helps prevent and lower the risk of acquiring and spreading diseases.
Inoculations can range from a measles vaccine to a flu shot. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most important vaccines for seniors and their benefits.
The Influenza Vaccine or Flu Shot
Influenza is a deadly and contagious disease. The flu shot is recommended for most adults and is usually available from September to April.
But did you know the vaccine is modified yearly by manufacturers? They update the vaccine to fight against the most common strains of the flu. Therefore, it’s necessary to get the flu shot each year to protect yourself as much as possible. Many insurance providers, including Medicare, offer coverage for these shots.
Be aware of any allergies and discuss the vaccine with your primary medical care provider.
The Herpes Zoster Vaccine or the Shingles Vaccine
Did you suffer from chickenpox in your youth? This childhood rite of passage can reactivate as shingles later in life. This virus is particularly painful and results in an itchy painful rash that can affect any part of the body.
The Herpes Zoster shot is fairly new and made to prevent or minimize an outbreak of shingles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the Zoster vaccine for adults 60 years of age and older.
The vaccine should not be used to treat a patient during or after an outbreak. So, it’s important to receive the vaccine before shingles strikes.
Tdap or the Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis Vaccine
This combination vaccine is made to protect recipients from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (more commonly known as the whooping cough). The routine vaccine is recommended for anyone 64 years of age or younger. Older patients should speak with their medical provider to discuss the vaccine and alternative options.
The Adult Pneumococcal Vaccines
Pneumonia kills approximately 60,000 people each year in the United States. Seniors are at high risk for acquiring the disease and its related complications.
There are actually two pneumococcal vaccines. Older adults are recommended to receive both the PPSV23 and PCV13 vaccines. Be sure to discuss the timeline with your doctor.
The Primary Benefits of Vaccines for Seniors
Vaccine rates tend to be low for seniors. Remember your immune system weakens as you age and a single sniffle can turn into the full blown flu. Vaccines offer seniors and their loved ones peace of mind by protecting against preventable diseases.
Keep in mind that they do change. You’ll need to stay up-to-date on what is available on the market. While shots are never fun, these immunizations can help you live a healthy, happy and active lifestyle.
All seniors need a customized care plan that allows them to maintain as much dignity and quality of life as possible. Matrix Home Health Care Specialists provide RN Care Managers to clients to assess individual needs and develop a responsive care plan. To find a care management plan that’s perfect for you and your loved ones, contact our team of specialists today.