When you think of vaccines, you probably associate them with your childhood, but they are just as important to adults and seniors. Also called immunizations or shots, vaccines provide you with immunity from diseases that can range from the flu to meningitis. According to John Muir Health, “an estimated 45,000 adults die annually from complications due to vaccine-preventable diseases.”
Here’s the important piece, those childhood vaccines don’t last forever. As we age, our immunity against diseases eventually wanes. The diseases you were at risk for as a child can once again become a threat as a senior.
Seniors are at particularly high risk for certain diseases due to their changing immune system and their living situations (i.e., senior care centers). Take a look at our list of vaccines seniors should consider to protect yourself and those you love.
Every year starting in October the flu season starts and causes an annual nuisance. For most people, the flu is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t cause any complications. But for seniors, an influenza infection can be quite serious. With the weakened immune system of an older adult, the flu can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. It’s these complications that result in hospitalizations and deaths among seniors.
“In recent years, for example, it’s estimated that between 70-percent and 85-percent of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older, and between 50-percent and 70-percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Seniors over 65 should get the vaccine via the flu shot (NOT the nasal spray). In addition, seniors qualify for a high dose flu vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen says the CDC.