Important Immunizations that Seniors Should Consider for Optimal Health
August has been deemed National Immunization Awareness Month and is recognized annually to “highlight the importance of vaccination of people of all ages,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fellowship Square delves into the importance of immunizations for seniors, and some specific safety precautions this beloved demographic should take.
There are several important vaccinations that seniors will benefit from to stay healthy all year round — and the good news is that Medicare will assist in covering cost for many of the following. It’s critical that every senior speak with his or her own physician to discuss specific health history and medical status before proceeding with any immunizations.
Though it’s only August, believe it or not, flu season is just around the corner. It is recommended that seniors receive the influenza vaccine to protect themselves against this highly contagious respiratory illness that can be life-threatening for seniors. This is due to the fact that the immune system weakens as people age, according to the National Council on Aging. Those that are living with a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease are even more susceptible to developing complications or becoming hospitalized due to the impact of the flu. A higher-dose version of the flu shot is designed for older adults, and it’s ideal that seniors receive it as early in the flu season as it becomes available because it takes up to two weeks for the body to build full immunity.
Another important vaccine for seniors, according to the National Council on Aging, defends against Shingles, a contagious virus with its most pronounced symptom being a painful rash. It’s important for seniors to receive this vaccine because researchers “believe that the age-related weakening of our immune systems can trigger the ‘reawakening’ of the dormant chickenpox virus.” There is a two-dose version of the vaccine that the CDC recommends for healthy adults over the age of 50, and a single-dose version for healthy seniors over the age of 60.
Pneumococcal Disease can cause “severe infections throughout the bloodstream and/or key organs,” according to the National Council for Aging including resulting conditions such as meningitis, pneumonia, and even brain damage, deafness and possibly death. Every year, this disease kills 18,000 adults ages 65 and older, and those with a weakened immune system are at greater risk. The vaccine for this disease calls for two shots administered about a year apart.
To maintain optimal health through their golden years, seniors should see their physicians regularly. It’s important that every individual follow his or her own medical plan designed with their doctor to ensure safety, health and happiness!