Immunizations are widely accepted as an important element to keeping a child healthy as they grow, but many times people forget that as they get older immunizations remain integral to their health. So, whether you’re 6 or 65, it turns out that immunizations are equally important to maintaining your health. While talking to your doctor and getting regular checkups is the best way to know what your body needs as you age, here’s a list of some ofthe most frequently recommended immunizations for seniors.
Flu (Influenza): Whether it’s your doctor, mother, or friendly neighborhood pharmacist, each flu season we’re all reminded by someone about the importance of getting our flu shots. And while many people may skip a year here or there, as you get older it becomes more and more important to stay up to date. The flu is most dangerous for the youngest and the oldest members of our community, so make sure you’re protecting yourself as you age. For those of our community over 65, there is a high-dose flu shot with four times more of the amountof antigen than the typical flu shot to help your body fight off the virus more effectively.
Chickenpox: This shot is recommended for older adults that haven’t had the chickenpox vaccine or chickenpox before. It’s a two dose shot regimen, and can protect seniors at risk for the virus. Make sure you checkwith your doctor for this one though, because while it can help many individuals, it is not recommended for those with immune system deficiencies, cancer, or those of prescriptions that inhibit the immune system.
Shingles: The shingles virusis caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox and it often causes a blistering rash on the skin and can beextremely serious. The good news is that this vaccine is a one-time thing, and it’s recommended for everyone over 60.
Tetanus/ Diphtheria/ Pertussis: Many people have already gotten this one at some point in their childhood, but it remains an important one to boost up on. Make sure you’re getting a booster every 10 years, or after potentially being exposed to the virus—so any time you get a large cut, burn, or other wound.
Pneumonia: The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for everyone over 65 years old. The vaccine consists of two separate shots given at different times.
Measles /Mumps/ Rubella: With the recent rise in measles cases in the communities around us, it’s become more and more important that people knowif they’re protected against the disease. Make sure you mention this to your doctor to see if you need to be vaccinated, or if the vaccination you received when you were younger is still protecting you.
Meningococcal: This one’s recommended for some adults over the age of 56 including those who’ve had their spleen removed, have certain blood deficiencies, or those traveling to certain countries. Check with your doctor if this vaccine is needed to keep you healthy.
Hepatitis A and B: While these two vaccines aren’t recommended for everyone, it’s important to check if they may be needed for you. Checkwith your doctor if you think these vaccines are needed for you.
This list is just the beginning to knowing what your body needs to stay healthy as you age, make sure you’re asking your doctors about all the different ways to ensure your health. And if you have more questions about what vaccines you need, the CDC has a short quiz to help guide you in the right direction: https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/