Every year, about 45,000 adults die from complications of illnesses that can be prevented with vaccinations, including about 25,000 from influenza. There are several immunizations recommended for seniors, including boosters of vaccines received as a younger adult. In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, North Houston Home Care Assistance highlights five immunizations seniors are encouraged to discuss with their doctor.
1. Flu Vaccine
The elderly are more likely to die from influenza or pneumonia than they are to die in a car accident. Pneumonia and flu are together the 7th leading cause of death among seniors in the United States, according to the CDC. The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of contracting these illnesses and it’s recommended for seniors as well as in-home caregivers.
2. Chickenpox Vaccine
Seniors who have never had chickenpox or received the chickenpox vaccine are encouraged to get a preventative, two-dose regimen–except for seniors with immune deficiencies, cancer, and those on certain medications that affect the immune system.
3. Measles/Mumps/Rubella Vaccine
An increasing number of unvaccinated children are contracting measles and some physicians are now recommending seniors get an MMR vaccine to protect against this disease. While people born before 1957 likely have immunity, those who received the inactivated measles vaccine in the 1960s or did not receive a vaccination as a child are encouraged to get the vaccine.
4. Shingles Vaccine
Shingles is common among seniors, and it can be very severe, especially among people with immune deficiencies. Half of people have had or will get shingles by the age of 85, yet half of all seniors do not understand the serious risks of the disease, according to the CDC. Shingles usually produces a painful and blistering rash, but it can also cause vision problems, hearing loss, and chronic pain. It’s recommended seniors get the shingles vaccine even if they have already had shingles. The shingles vaccine is safe to get at the same time as a flu vaccine.
5. Pneumococcal Vaccine
The pneumococcal vaccine protects against the bacteria that causes sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. Pneumococcal infection is a major cause of death throughout the world and seniors are most vulnerable to complications. The CDC recommends seniors receive two pneumococcal vaccines.
Common side effects of most vaccines include discomfort and swelling at the injection site, itching, or headache.
Learn more about promoting health after 65 by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. We offer live-in, hourly, and respite care North Houston families rely on and ensure seniors have all the support needed to remain safe and comfortable at home. Give us a call today at 832-412-1345 and schedule a free in-home consultation.