As we age, our immune systems become weaker, making it more difficult to fight off infections. Older adults are more susceptible to diseases such as the flu, shingles and pneumonia. They are also more likely to suffer from complications of these diseases, which may even lead to death.
Vaccines are especially important for people suffering from chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, but they are essential for all senior citizens. The following vaccines are covered by Medicare and should be given to seniors.
Complications of flu combined with pneumonia are one of the top 10 causes of death for older adults.
The flu vaccine is administered annually in the fall in preparation for winter. Flu season starts in November and the vaccine takes two weeks to take effect, so it’s best to get it as early in the season as possible. Ask for the higher dose which is specifically designed for older adults.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B is a contagious disease which causes liver damage. Because it often has no symptoms, it can be extremely dangerous.
Most babies in the United States have been vaccinated for Hepatitis B, but it’s worth checking whether you have received it and if you need an update.
Shingles is similar to chicken pox and caused by the same virus, but it can be contracted more than once and by people who have already had chicken pox. It can lead to long-term pain, malnutrition and additional infections.
All adults 50 and over should be vaccinated for shingles (although some seniors are advised to get the shot at age 60).
This virus causes meningitis, bacteremia and pneumonia. Adults over 65 are at greater risk for these diseases, which kill 18,000 senior citizens each year.
This vaccine is administered in two shots, about a year apart. If you’re not sure if you’ve had both or one of the shots, check with your doctor.
August has been declared National Immunization Month, so it’s a good time to review your vaccines and ask your doctor if you are missing anything essential.
We wish you good health and much happiness!