2016-08-18 / News

AUGUST is... National Immunization Awareness Month

Recommended immunizations for those age 50+

Routine immunizations can keep people safe and healthy. Certain vaccinations can prevent diseases from producing symptoms, while others can lessen the duration of an illness or make conditions less severe. Vaccination schedules become a way of life for parents to young children. But vaccinations aren’t just for kids, and adults should keep tabs on their immunization histories to ensure they’re up-to-date with vaccinations for their particular age group and lifestyle.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the elderly are more likely to die of a vaccine-preventable disease than other age groups. The immune system begins to decline as we age, so the body can benefit from the diseasefighting boost provided by vaccinations. Individuals at any age should discuss immunizations with their doctors, but it’s a particularly important conversation for those age 50 and older. Vaccine schedules and recommendations may vary depending on where a person lives, but the following immunization recommendations are offered courtesy of the CDC. • Influenza: An annual flu shot can help prevent the nearly 36,000 deaths that occur due to flu each year in the United States. The flu vaccine is designed to combat the current strain of flu, so it is recommended anytime between September to March, which is the prime flu season. People age 50 and older should opt for the injection rather than the nasal form of the vaccine.

• Tdap: This vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis and is especially necessary for people who have close contact with young infants. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be passed on to youngsters and make them very ill. If you’ve never received a Tdap vaccine, the CDC suggests getting it at least once. Individual tetanus boosters should be received every 10 years.

• Pneumococcal: Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by the pneumococcus bacteria. It can cause pneumonia, blood infection, ear infections, and even bacterial meningitis. This vaccine is given to adults age 65 and older or to younger adults at their physicians’ discretion.

• Hepatitis A: Individuals with medical, occupational or lifestyle conditions, such as healthcare workers or people with chronic liver disease, may need a twodose series of the hepatitis A vaccine.

Adults who are avid travelers to various parts of the world that may bring them in contact with animals or people who do not receive the same course of immunizations may need additional vaccines. Speak with a doctor about which immunizations are recommended before travel.

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