As summer winds down, our in-home care professionals have the
information you need to prepare for the next season: flu season. August is
National Immunization Awareness Month, and it’s important for all of us to
ensure we’re protected.
For older adults in particular, vaccinations are crucial, as complications from the flu, pneumonia, and other diseases can be deadly. Yet surprisingly, a low percentage of all adults age 65 and older in the United States are receiving recommended immunizations, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Reasons given for skipping vaccinations include:
- Fear of pain from the injection
- Miseducation and misconceptions about
- Problems with accessing vaccines (related to
either transportation or financial difficulties)
We can all take steps to help the older adults in our lives ensure
they’re up to date on vaccines before flu season kicks in. Recommendations for
seniors this year include immunizations against:
- Flu. For those aged 65 and older, a high-dose
vaccine is best, to help compensate for the weakened immune system in older
adults. Ideally, the vaccine should be given before the end of October.
- Pneumonia. Two separate vaccines are required to
protect seniors against pneumococcal disease, given a year apart. Death from
pneumococcal disease increases in those older than 50, with an even greater
increase in those 65 years and older.
- Shingles. As many as 50% of adults age 85 and
older will experience shingles, which causes chronic neuropathic pain in nearly
half of those who contract the disease over age 60. Two doses of the shingles
vaccine are recommended for all older adults, given 2 to 6 months apart.
As the flu and pneumonia are the most common cause of hospitalization
due to infection in older adults, and the 8th leading cause of death
in the U.S., take steps today to protect seniors by encouraging adherence to
the recommended vaccination schedule.
For more senior health tips and resources, and for the professional care at home that improves health and quality of life for older adults, call on THE MEDICAL TEAM. Our services are available in a variety of locations throughout the U.S.: New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro DC area. Contact us to see if we’re available to help in your area!