Did you know that August is National Immunization Awareness Month? Did you also know that vaccines aren’t just for children?
In recent years vaccines have been created specifically for people aged 50 and older to protect them from risks that occur with age. As seasons come and go, certain immunizations are needed at certain times and many are covered by Medicare.
It’s important to check with the physician caring for your senior in order to stay informed on what is needed to protect him or her from disease and illness.
Anyone who had chicken pox as a child has the varicella-zoster virus lying dormant in their system. That is the virus that causes shingles. The shingles vaccine, Zostavax, was created only recently, and is for those over 50 who are more likely at risk of developing the disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the vaccine be given to those aged 60 and older. It is important that seniors receive the shingles vaccine for protection. If the senior was lucky enough not to have had chicken pox as a child, the Varivax vaccine can prevent both chicken pox and shingles.
What else do you need to know?
Medicare beneficiaries are covered for a variety of shots. Hepatitis B shots are offered for those at high or intermediary risk of developing Hepatitis B.
Pneumococcal immunization is provided once in a lifetime, based on risk of susceptibility. Annual flu shots are covered as well. Winter lowers the immune system and brings with it a variety of illnesses and different forms of flu. Get a flu shot, it’s crucial to stay healthy.
A Td or Tdap vaccination helps defend against tetanus. Diphtheria and pertussis, both of which are caused by bacteria just like tetanus, can also protected against with this shot. Receiving the Td vaccine every 10 years is advised for maximum protection. The Tdap shot is a perfect example of why vaccinations aren’t just for kids.
As we age, our bodies and immune systems weaken. Winter comes along and we become even less able to stay healthy and strong. It’s important for seniors and their caregivers to stay in touch with the doctor, and up-to-date on what is available to bolster health. Use the month of August to plan some vaccinations ahead of time. Why not beat seasonal sicknesses to the punch? Seniors should know more about the importance of vaccines to protect their health and immune systems.
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