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6 Immunizations Every Seniors Should Have

By Rick Cohen, 9:00 am on

Older adults are most vulnerable to infections and viruses due to age-related changes that occur within the immune system. For this reason, elder care agencies in Milwaukee remind caregivers and family members that it’s important for seniors to stay updated on certain immunizations–including some that lose their potency and protective effects over time.

1. Influenza (Flu)

More than half of all flu-related hospitalizations are people 60 and older, according to the CDC. Since there are different strains of influenza that become dominate each year in different parts of the United States, annual vaccinations are typically recommended for seniors in the early fall just before flu season starts.

2. Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

The majority of the million or so cases of shingles each year in the U.S. affect seniors. The CDC recommends the Zoster vaccine even for seniors who never had chickenpox when younger.

3. Diphtheria

Especially worrisome for seniors with existing respiratory problems, diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection that affects mucus membranes. A booster is recommended every 10 years for optimal protection for seniors.

4. Tetanus

Sometimes referred to as “lockjaw,” tetanus is a bacterial toxin often resulting from a cut from a knife or nail that affects the nervous system. Seniors never immunized against tetanus will need a three-dose series of shots given over a 7-12 month period.

5. Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

With initial symptoms similar to a cold, whooping cough can quickly become serious and potentially life-threatening for seniors. Tdap, a combination booster that also protects against diphtheria and tetanus, is normally recommended for seniors to prevent whooping cough.

6. Pneumococcal Disease (Pneumonia)

Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 are the two vaccines the CDC recommends for adults 65 and older since they offer protection against several different strains of pneumonia. An infection of the lungs, pneumonia is especially serious in seniors with an underlying medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes.

Learn more about keeping seniors healthy and happy from the friendly and experienced staff at Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers in Milwaukee can help with numerous activities including meal preparation, light housework, and running errands. Discover how else we can help your senior loved one maintain a high-quality lifestyle by calling (414) 964-8000 and speaking with a dedicated Care Manager today.

Senior Health: 6 Immunizations for People Over 65