While immunizations protect children against preventable diseases, booster shots are equally crucial for elderly individuals because childhood vaccinations wear off over time. Usually, the immune system changes throughout life. As a result, as humans grow older, their body's defense system becomes less effective, exposing them to a greater susceptibility to infections.
Even though immunization is a proven way to protect the body against serious illnesses, most people overlook it, especially in their golden years. The good news is it's never too late to vaccinate. Here are the vaccinations recommended for older loved ones.
Influenza is a viral illness that affects the respiratory system. Age and underlying chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes are the top risk factors for developing the flu. While it can resolve on its own for most people, its complications can sometimes be deadly.
The influenza vaccine is also known as a flu shot. It is highly recommended for senior people to protect them against seasonal influenza. Older adults will need to get the vaccine shot every year. To help them develop a strong immune response, seniors are offered two vaccines:
- High-dose flu
- An adjuvanted flu vaccine
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria or viruses that affect the lungs, blood, and brain. Young children and senior individuals are more susceptible to the disease. Seniors who had had a shot before they were 65 only require one or two additional vaccine shots. They can get vaccinated at any time of the year, and the side effects are usually mild.
Shingles are caused by Varicella-Zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It causes a highly contagious rash that can occur anywhere on the body. Normally, after one has healed from chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in the body throughout life. However, later it may reactivate and present itself as a shingle. While shingles are not life-threatening, their blisters can be painful and uncomfortable.
According to the CDC, the Shingrix vaccine is safe and effective. Seniors should get two doses with an interval of 2-6 months between the shots. Although the shingle vaccine helps prevent the condition, it does not cure those that already have it.
Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
Tetanus is an infection caused by a toxin-producing bacteria found in dirt and affects the nervous system. Diphtheria is a contagious bacterial disease affecting the throat and nose mucous membranes. Pertussis is also known as whooping cough. It is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system. If the senior loved one has not had any tetanus shot for the last decade, a Tdap vaccination is highly recommended. The vaccine effectively prevents the three infections, and only a few people get the mild side effects.
Covid-19 is an infectious disease that causes mild to severe respiratory illness. The Center for Disease Control strongly advocates for the COVID-19 vaccine for seniors because it is the most effective preventive measure. Depending on the vaccine, seniors may get a single or double dose with an interval of 2-3 months between the doses.
Immunization for older people cannot be overstated. The vaccines have minimal side effects and are safe for everyone regardless of age. Seniors can get the vaccines from their preferred health care providers. In addition, many health care providers offer individuals vaccination cards to help them know their vaccines and when they are due.
Delaying on getting vaccinated puts your senior loved one at risk of getting seriously sick. At Senior Helpers Orlando, our trained caregivers can help your loved ones keep track of their vaccination appointments and remind them when their next vaccination is due. In addition, as senior in-home care, we offer companionship and personal care to seniors living with Alzheimer's dementia and Parkinson's around Orlando, Winter Park, Apopka, and Kissimmee. Contact us today to learn more about our services.