Immunization and the Elderly
Immunization and the Elderly
As National Immunization Month comes to a close, it is important to
remember that seniors need to make sure they are keeping up on what
immunizations they should have to protect themselves. A weak immune
system can lead to serious health problems. All adults should get
vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become
seriously ill, and can pasFacebooks
certain illnesses on to others. Immunization is especially important
for older adults and for adults with chronic conditions such as asthma,
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), diabetes or heart disease.
Immunization is also important for anyone who is in close contact with
the very young, the very old, people with weakened immune systems, and
those who cannot be vaccinated.
- All adults should get the influenza (flu) vaccine each year to
protect against seasonal flu. Every adult should also get the Td or Tdap
vaccine once if they did not receive it as an adolescent to protect
against pertussis (whooping cough), and then a Td (tetanus, diphtheria)
booster shot every 10 years.
- If you are age 60 or older: Get a shot to prevent shingles.
Shingles causes a rash and can lead to pain that lasts for months. Learn
about the shingles vaccine.
- If you are age 65 or older: Get shots to prevent pneumococcal
(“noo-muh-KOK-uhl”) disease. Pneumococcal disease can include pneumonia
(“noo-MOHN-yah”), meningitis, and blood infections. Learn about
- The need for vaccination does not end in childhood. Vaccines are
recommended throughout our lives based on age, lifestyle, and
occupation, locations of travel, medical conditions and vaccines
received in the past. Some vaccines can help prevent cancer. Hepatitis B
vaccine can prevent liver cancer that can develop after developing
chronic hepatitis B. The HPV vaccine can prevent cancers caused by HPV
infection, including cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancer.
- Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person
receiving the vaccine, but also helps prevent the spread of diseases to
others –especially those who are most vulnerable to serious
complications, such as infants and young children, the elderly, and
those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems. The single
best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. A
yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older.
- While everyone should get vaccinated, certain people are at
greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu, including:
people 65 years and older, young children, pregnant women, people with
certain health conditions such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease (COPD), diabetes or heart disease, and people living in
facilities like nursing homes.
- Annual flu vaccination is also important for anyone who lives
with or cares for people at high risk for developing flu-related
Make sure you and your loved ones are current on all important
vaccines and immunizations. It will help everyone stay happy and
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