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 immunizations
- 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!