Immunizations Seniors Should Discuss with their Doctor

Jun 28, 2019
Immunizations Seniors Should Discuss with their Doctor

Just when you thought you were done with vaccinations, the needle makes its reappearance. Caregivers and older adults need vaccinations, including some that we used to think were just for kids. But now, there are the grown-up versions that can save lives.

Several vaccinations are recommended by the U.S. Center for Disease Control to prevent complications and serious illness. They often include:

  • Influenza (Flu)
  • Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
  • Diphtheria.
  • Tetanus.
  • Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  • Pneumococcal disease (Pneumonia)

Let’s Explore Vaccines for Seniors in More Detail

  1. Influenza (Flu)

    If you live or work around people who are at risk for complications from the flu, it’s important to get a vaccine before the start of each cold and flu season. Schedule yours as soon as they are available at your doctor’s office.

    Also, if your Mom or Dad receives visits from grandkids who may unknowingly be carriers for the flu virus, it’s important for the entire family to get the vaccine.

    Any side effects, such as soreness in the injection site, are usually minimal. However, difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the face requires immediate medical attention.

  2. Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

    This rash can occur on the face or body. It can cause excruciating pain. People over the age of 60 are at higher risk for shingles, and the complications can be severe. The shingles vaccine is a one-time shot that can reduce the likelihood of the disease. There is no upper age limit for receiving the vaccination.

    If your parent already had shingles, the vaccination may prevent future outbreaks of the rash. Encourage them to talk to their health care provider about the vaccination.

  3. Diphtheria

    In addition to breathing problems, diphtheria can cause paralysis, heart failure, and death. Coughing and sneezing can spread the disease, so most people need a vaccine.

    Vaccinations are typically given in childhood. But every ten years, most adults need a booster shot for it. The risk of a severe allergic reaction is usually very low. Most physicians say the risks of the complications from the illness outweigh the low risk of an extreme reaction. Talk with your physician for their advice.

  4. Tetanus

    Also known as “lockjaw”, tetanus is a nerve condition caused by bacteria that lives in the soil, dust, animal excrement, and the colon. The toxin can enter the bloodstream through a deep wound and move toward the spine, causing muscle contractions in the face, limbs and lungs. It can result in an inability to breathe. Because immunity decreases with time, adults should receive the vaccine every ten years or anytime they experience a deep wound.

  5. Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

    Whooping cough can lead to uncontrollable bouts of coughing that make it difficult to breathe, eat, or sleep. The initial symptoms are similar to a cold, but the coughing becomes worse and can continue for 10 weeks or more.

    For an older person, whooping cough can be very serious. The infection can trigger pneumonia and require hospitalization.

    The whopping cough vaccine is called Tdap which stands for tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis. Grandparents who have contact with babies less than one year of age should usually receive the vaccine. It should be done two or more weeks before coming in to contact with babies. Call your doctor to learn more.

  6. Pneumococcal disease (Pneumonia)

    This lung infection is common and serious. It involves fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and low alertness. Some of the complications of the infection can include inflammation of the area around the heart and blockage of the airway to the lungs. Pneumonia can be lethal for older patients.

    To protect against the bacteria, there are two types of vaccines—PCV 13 and PPSV23. Certain medical conditions--such as cancer, organ transplants, and injury to the inner ear followed by cochlear implants—warrant receiving a dose of PCV13. This specifically includes people with long-term health problems and conditions that lower the body’s immune system.

    Seniors should talk with their primary care physician about the pneumonia vaccine and how often they need it.

Wellness is a Way of Live at Five Star Senior Living

It’s not much fun to get vaccinations, but the benefits of good health are worth it. At Five Star Senior Living communities, we take resident wellness seriously. Our holistic approach to life means we help nurture each resident’s individual needs.

Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest to your Indiana home to learn more!

Give us a call: (833) 457-8271