The Most Important Vaccines for Seniors
Posted: May 10th, 2018 at 04:53PM
As people grow older and their immune systems get weaker, it's important to know what vaccines they need to take. Even if the weather may be warm, the elderly prepare for the next season, especially for when the temperature drops. As the National Council on Aging reports, "Scientists have proven that cooler temperatures weaken our immune systems [and] additionally cooler weather toughen the outer shell of viruses, making it easier for them to travel from person to person."
So with this in mind, here are some of the most important illnesses that seniors should get vaccinated for.
One of the most crucial illnesses seniors need to protect themselves from is influenza, or as we most commonly know it, the flu, which can be potentially fatal for older people.
Seniors are more at risk to contract the flu because of their weakened immune systems, and catching the flu can lead to further complications that can land older people in the hospital. In fact, the flu and pneumonia can be an especially deadly combination for seniors, and it's one of the top 10 causes of death for people aged 65 or older in the United States. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths are with seniors 65 years and older.
Seniors usually have to take a vaccine with a higher dosage for the flu, and it's recommended they get their flu shot every year. It's also recommended that seniors get their vaccinations before the beginning of the holidays, as the peak of flu season is usually from November to March. It usually takes two weeks for the vaccine's full immunity to build in your system, so you should plan your shots accordingly.
Another important illness that seniors should get vaccinated for is shingles, a rash that comes from the same virus that causes chickenpox. While one in three adults will get shingles in their lifetime, the majority of people that will catch it are in the 60 years and older range, and the older you are, the more painful the side effects can be. The side effects of shingles include fever, exhaustion, and depressed appetite. All adults over 50 should be vaccinated for shingles, and the vaccine will protect you for about five years.
Pneumococcal disease can lead to pneumonia (which infects your lungs), meningitis (which infects the lining of your brain and spinal cord), and bacteremia (which infects your blood). 18,000 adults over the age of 65 die from pneumococcal disease every year, and an older, weaker immune system can make you more vulnerable to catching it.
Treatment for pneumococcal disease involves two vaccinations, which are given one year apart, and the vaccine can last in your system for five to 10 years.
Yet another disease seniors need vaccine prevention for is the hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B attacks the liver, and as the National Council on Aging explains, "The liver and its functions change as you age, making hepatitis B more prevalent among older adults."
Symptoms of the hepatitis B virus can last several weeks, and they're similar to the flu, causing fevers and nausea, while chronic hepatitis B can damage your liver and eventually lead to death.
In addition to the diseases mentioned above, seniors should get vaccinated for tetanus and MMR, or measles, mumps and rubella. While many don't realize the importance of keeping up to date on their vaccinations, it's certainly something to keep in mind as you grow older so you can stay healthy in your senior years.
e7 Health is a preventative health and wellness company. We are supervised by Board-certified doctors and provide comprehensive preventative health and wellness services.
Our immunization services include all vaccines available in the US for work, school, travel, and general health. Contact us today for more information!
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