This August we’re observing National Immunization Awareness Month in conjunction with the CDC and the National Public Health Information Coalition.
What are Immunizations?
Also called vaccines or shots, immunizations keep us healthy by protecting us from serious diseases. This includes the flu, some kinds of pneumonia, meningitis, hepatitis, and many other illnesses.
Vaccines are made from tiny amounts of weakened or dead viruses or bacteria. Your immune system identifies the germ as a threat, and gets to work fighting the toxin. This creates antibodies in your blood that can effectively fight the germ as soon as you catch it—preventing a full-blown infection.
Do Adults Need to be Vaccinated?
Adults should get all the recommended vaccines and boosters at the proper time. Even healthy adults can become ill and pass the disease on to others. Staying up to date on your vaccines can help protect not only yourself, but also your loved ones.
Here are the vaccines grownups should get:
- Annual flu shot to protect against seasonal flu.
- One dose of Tdap if they didn’t get it as a teenager. (Tdap is the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccine)
- A Td (tetanus and diphtheria) booster every 10 years.
- Shingles vaccine for adults 50 years and older.
- Two pneumococcal vaccines for adults aged 65 and up.
Depending on your age, occupation, medical history, and travel plans, you may need to get other vaccines as well.
Why Should Seniors Get Vaccinated?
The elderly are especially vulnerable to these serious disease, and are also at higher risk of developing complications from them. Maintaining their immunization, while not 100 percent effective, is the easiest and best way to protect their health.
Pneumonia, for example, is often caused by a pneumococcal infection. Getting the vaccine reduces the odds of catching the disease by 45 percent. While those don’t seem like very good changes, the vaccine also reduces the change of other potentially deadly pneumococcal infections, such as bacterial meningitis and sepsis, by 75 percent.
Every step you take to reduce your chances of catching a serious disease is a step in the right direction. That’s why we at Park Crescent urge our residents and their family members to stay up to date on their vaccines.