Mon, Nov 26, 2018

Staying Up-to-date with your vaccines

When it comes to seniors staying up to date on vaccinations, not all seniors adhere to the schedule.

Many older adults don’t always get the shots they need. With most of them covered by insurance and the Health Department offering some through state funding for those who aren’t covered, there’s no reason seniors shouldn’t prevent disease when they can.

Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. Your risk of shingles increases as you grow older. Additionally, over 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older.

As we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain diseases. This is why, in addition to seasonal flu (influenza) vaccine and Td or Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), you should also get:

• Shingles vaccine, which protects against shingles and the complications from the disease (recommended for healthy adults 50 years and older)

• Pneumococcal vaccines, which protect against pneumococcal disease, including infections in the lungs and bloodstream (recommended for all adults over 65 years old, and for adults younger than 65 years who have certain chronic health conditions)

•Flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. For seniors age 65 and older, the high-dose flu shot is recommended because it has extra antigens of the flu in it. For older adults, it takes more antigens to fight off the flu—or any other disease—so they need the extra amount to boost their immune system to give them the response against the flu.

•Tetanus vaccine is recommended every 10 years is the tetanus vaccine, no matter how old they get to be. At least one of those doses needs to contain the pertussis vaccine (also known as Tdap).

•Hepatitis B vaccine -another vaccinations that may be appropriate for seniors, per the Centers for Disease Control’s 2017 recommendations, is the hepatitis B vaccine. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for anyone with diabetes, kidney disease, or an immune system issue. Other vaccines are recommended according to risk factors they have, if they’re traveling outside the country, or what health conditions they have.

Talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional to find out which vaccines are recommended for you at your next medical appointment. For more information or questions, call your local health department.

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