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Senior Health: Immunizations for Those Over 65

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Contrary to popular belief, childhood immunizations wear off over time. Consequently, your elderly loved one is likely to need some additional immunizations–even ones they already received years ago–to increase his or her natural immunity and prevent illnesses or conditions that tend to be more difficult for older individuals to tolerate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors are likely to need the following immunizations.

Shingles (Zoster Vaccine)

If your loved one ever had the chickenpox virus as a child (99 percent of Americans have had it, according to one estimate), he or she is susceptible to developing shingles (herpes zoster), a painful skin rash that primarily affects people over the age of sixty. Doctors recommend another dose about five years after the first shot. Oklahoma elder care professionals note that seniors who have never had chickenpox or did not receive the vaccination as a child will likely need a separate chickenpox vaccination.

Flu Shot

Seniors 65 and older account for approximately 60 percent of all hospitalizations from influenza in the United States, so annual flu shots are a good idea for seniors. Traditional flu vaccines protect against three influenza strains, although researchers are working on a variation that may offer protection against all strains. Adverse reactions tend to be minimal.

Pneumococcal Vaccine

The CDC recommends that all seniors 65 years of age and older receive a pneumococcal vaccine, which offers protection against lung infections, with pneumonia being the most common lung infection in seniors, and infections that may get into the bloodstream (bacteremia/sepsis) and brain. There are two forms of the pneumococcal vaccine that should be administered to seniors eight weeks apart. PPSV23 protects against 23 strains of streptococcus pneumonia. PCV13 offers added protection against conditions that may weaken the immune system.

Tdap Booster Vaccine

The Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccine offers protection against whopping cough, lockjaw, and nose and throat infections. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all adults 65 and older receive a Tdap booster since pertussis (whopping cough) tends to be under-diagnosed and under-reported. There are two forms of the Tdap booster administered in the United States, with Boostrix being the type recommended for use in seniors.

Learn more about senior health from the experienced staff at Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of hourly and live-in elder care for seniors in Oklahoma, changing the way the senior population ages is our top priority. All of our care services include the use of two proprietary care methods that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing and are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Call 405-285-4191 today and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.