Health Living Well

The Importance of Vaccines for Aging Adults


Vaccinations aren’t only for children – they are for anyone at risk of contracting serious illness. This includes the elderly, whose weakened immune systems make them vulnerable. As an aging adult, you need to stay current on your vaccines to ward off harmful diseases. Luckily, advances in technology have led to specific vaccines to make senior citizens less vulnerable to dangerous viruses.


Shingles Vaccine


Whether you’ve had chickenpox or not, you are at risk of getting shingles (herpes zoster). The chickenpox virus can flare up later in life as shingles. Shingles causes a painful skin rash that turns into clusters of blisters. It can take two to four weeks for the blisters to heal, sometimes leaving scars. The shingles vaccination cuts your risk of getting this disease almost in half. It can also help prevent a relapse if you’ve had shingles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approves the shingles vaccine for people 50 and older.


Pneumonia Vaccine


Pneumonia is common in children, but its risks do not fade with age. About 18,000 adults ages 65 and older die from pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections in the U.S. every year. When a senior citizen contracts pneumonia, it can cause a serious infection and even death. The CDC recommends pneumonia vaccines for adults 65 and older. Vaccines can reduce your risk of sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia, as well as the life-threatening infections that can accompany them.


Stay Vigilant with Vaccines


There are vaccines that can help prevent the flu, diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough for older adults as well. Ask your doctor which vaccines you should consider based on your age, health, and immune system. Not all vaccines are safe for everyone.

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