Vaccines are particularly important for older adults. As we age, our immune systems decline, making it much harder to fight infections and other diseases such as the flu or pneumonia. If we end up with one of these infections, it can be a domino effect that leads to more serious health complications or long-term illness.
Determining which vaccines to get can be tough, so we’ve listed the top four you want at the top of your list:
1. Flu vaccine: The flu shot is especially important to get around the Fall/Winter seasons when these viruses are at their peak. This shot/vaccine causes antibodies to develop in your body which help protect against the infection. Even if you do still get the flu, the vaccine will decrease the severity of the symptoms and the number of days you’re sick.
2. Tdap or Td: Tdap stands for “Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis” which are three potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases. Tetanus can enter your body through a wound or cut and can damage the brain and nervous system causing painful muscle spasms. Diphtheria infections can cause breathing difficulties and in severe cases cause heart or nerve damage. Pertussis (otherwise known as whooping cough), can cause uncontrollable coughing spells and make it difficult to breath. Getting this vaccine and its booster shot (Td) every couple years can protect you against these harmful symptoms.
3. Shingles: Shingles is a condition that causes inflammation to the nerves. Similar to chickenpox, it shows up as a painful rash around the middle of your body. The risk of shingles increases as we get older, so making sure our booster shots are up-to-date is very important.
4. Pneumococcal: To prevent pneumococcal disease, there is the Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine and the Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. These protect against the Streptococcus bacteria which causes health conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis. All of these conditions are more common in older adults, so this vaccine can be lifesaving!
Your health is the most important asset we have, and the older we get, the more invaluable it becomes. Talk to your doctor about these vaccines and whether they are right for you!
Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit https://www.ivhp.com/forhealthandliving
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan