Aging is a complex process which more often than not is accompanied by health issues. The body goes through a lot of changes over time. The immune system weakens and seniors become more prone to infections and diseases. At the same time, it takes a while for them to recover as well. This is where vaccines come into play.
Why is vaccination so important for seniors?
The primary reason why vaccination is so important in senior healthcare is to prevent them from contracting any life threatening diseases or infections. The same ailment may not be as harmful for younger people because their immune system is still strong. They also need to be vaccinated from time to time as there might be new and more effective vaccines available.
So, here are a few recommended vaccines for seniors to prevent any serious illness:
Influenza Vaccine For Flu
Seniors are quite vulnerable to the influenza virus as it is a highly infectious flu that spreads from person to person very easily. The immune system develops antibodies through the vaccine and prevents the virus from taking over the body. Since the virus itself changes every year, doctors also come up with a new vaccine for each year. It is therefore recommended that all seniors take this shot annually.
Pneumococcal Vaccine For Pneumonia
The pneumococcal bacteria causes pneumonia and other diseases such as meningitis and septicaemia. It causes severe illness in seniors and is also responsible for 60,000 deaths each year. It can be life endangering if the person infected does not get immediate medical attention. Seniors over the age of 50 with other problems such as asthma, diabetes, heart diseases, liver issues and kidney problems are at a greater risk of contracting this disease. Apart from the vaccination, they may require a booster of it once every 5 years.
Herpes Zoster Vaccine For Shingles
Shingles or Herpes Zoster is an extremely painful, contagious series of blisters and rashes. Its complications can go on for months on end. If a person has had chickenpox before, then the chances of Shingles increase as it is caused by the very same virus. After recovering from chickenpox, the virus stays inactive in the body and as the immune system weakens over time, the virus becomes active again. One out of three seniors is said to be affected by this disease, which is why every senior above the age of 50 should get this vaccine. It reduces the risk by 50% but since it is a relatively new vaccine, it can be challenging to find at all times.
Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
This vaccine has the same composition as the Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccine but with the added Pertussis component for prevention against whooping cough. The first and most important thing to mention here is that if there is any senior who has not taken this vaccine, they must do so immediately. For those who have, it is advisable to take a booster every 10 ten years. This vaccine provides protection against three diseases- tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). It can be life threatening to not just adults but also children, so that is another thing to watch out for.
Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) Vaccine
Everyone gets a shot of MMR soon after birth to protect the infant from the above mentioned three fatal diseases. If a senior is unsure whether or not they received the vaccine after birth, get this shot immediately, irrespective of age or any other factor. You shall be better safe than sorry.
Apart from these vaccines, some doctors may also advise seniors to get a shot for Hepatitis A and B in order to prevent the liver from getting damaged. They may come in contact with these diseases if they have visited a country where it is common. With the right kind of immunisation and medical care, seniors can live a longer and healthy life. So, go to your nearest healthcare provider and enquire about the vaccines that your loved one should take.