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4 Immunizations Seniors Should Receive

May 20, 2016 by Comfort Keepers of Fredericksburg

Seasonal Flu
Pneumonia
Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis
Shingles

Kids are not the only one who benefit from immunizations. The CDC reports that together, the flu and pneumonia rank seventh among leading causes of death for seniors 65 and older. Why? Over time, the body’s immune system weakens, leaving older adults more susceptible to a number of illnesses. Fortunately, seniors can reduce their risk of contracting those illnesses with regular immunizations – and in many cases, getting immunizations is as easy as going to a local pharmacy. What immunizations do seniors need?

  1. Seasonal flu – Every year, more than 60 percent of hospitalizations due to seasonal flu occur in seniors age 65 or older. Seniors should receive the high-dose flu vaccine, rather than the nasal spray, which contains the live virus. Get this shot annually because the flu vaccine changes year-to-year to meet changes in the virus.
  2. Pneumonia – While many think of pneumonia as a wintertime illness, the bacteria-related disease can attack at any time of year. In fact, seniors that experience frequent hospitalizations are at greater risk of contracting pneumonia. The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV), offers protection against 23 common strains of pneumonia.
  3. Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis – This all-in-one vaccination is needed every 10 years to protect against all three illnesses. Tetanus enters the bloodstream through an open wound, resulting in muscle contractions or lockjaw. Diphtheria begins with a sore throat but can cause serious complications including heart failure, paralysis, or death. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly infectious disease so it is especially important for seniors to get this immunization if they are around very young family members who are not yet old enough for immunizations.
  4. Shingles – The CDC notes that among the 1 million Americans that contract shingles every year, nearly 500,000 of them are over 60 years old. If you have seen the TV ads, you know that if you had chickenpox as a child you already have the shingles virus inside you. The vaccine reduces the risk of contracting this painful, potentially very serious illness.

Seniors should always consult a physician to confirm which immunizations are appropriate based on pre-existing medical conditions and other factors.

As part of our in-home care to support independent living, our caregivers, or Comfort Keepers®, help with personal care needs, light household chores, or even incidental transportation for medical appointments. Contact us at the Comfort Keepers® of Fredericksburg, VA to discuss your loved one’s needs.  

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