It’s that time of the year again! As you stock your medicine cabinet with cold and allergy medicine and take yourself for a flu shot, be sure to ask the doctor about other vaccinations that may be in order. Adults are never too old to get vaccinated. In fact, following an immunization schedule is one of the best ways to protect your health.
Let’s review some of the shots that older adults should be up to date on.
Doctors agree that a flu vaccine is one of the best defenses we have against the flu virus. It’s still possible to get the flu with the vaccine, but the symptoms will be less severe and last a shorter amount of time. It’s recommended to get the flu shot each year because it’s not effective for more than one season.
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Everyone should get this vaccine, particularly those that travel or are around infants. There is a booster for tetanus and diphtheria called Td that is given every 10 years or if a person comes into contact with tetanus.
Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis viruses affect the liver. A hepatitis vaccine offers protection for 25 years. While anyone can get hepatitis, it’s most common in people who travel overseas, has chronic liver disease or leads a life that involves drugs and alcohol. A hepatitis A and B shot are available, as well as a combination vaccine.
Once you turn 65 years old, your doctor should suggest a pneumococcal immunization. This bacterial infection can be devastating to older adults, as they can develop pneumonia, meningitis or a blood infection. The two vaccines that are available are PCV13 and PPSV23. You get PCV13 first, and a year later, you get PPSV23.
The shingles vaccine was introduced in 2006 and has reduced shingles by 51%, according to WebMD. The shot is recommended for most adults over the age of 60, even those who have already had shingles because the virus can return. Shingles can still occur with the shot, but the symptoms will be less severe.
As you or your loved one schedules a fall appointment, ask the doctor about getting up to date on other important vaccines.