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It is widely accepted that immunizations are important to the prevention of childhood diseases. What may not be as well known is the importance of immunizations for adult health. The need for pneumonia and flu vaccines for older adults is well publicized, but do you know about the importance of Whooping cough and Hepatitis B vaccines? If you are caring for an older adult, his or her physician will advise you about which vaccines should be administered. While vaccines are beneficial, sometimes they are delayed or avoided altogether if they will adversely impact the frail health or chronic diseases of a senior. The Centers for Disease Control is one of the best resources for information about adult immunizations. According to the CDC, adults need vaccines even if they were immunized as a child because they may not be protected, for several reasons:
  • Newer vaccines were not available when some adults were children.
  • Immunity can fade over time.
  • As we age, we become more susceptible to serious disease caused by common infections (such as flu and pneumococcus).
Here are the most important things you need to know about adult immunizations. 1: All adults need:
  • Influenza (flu) vaccine every year.
  • Td vaccine every 10 years to protect against tetanus.
  • Tdap vaccine once instead of Td vaccine to protect against tetanus and diphtheria plus pertussis (Whooping cough).
2: Whooping cough — known medically as pertussis — is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. New mothers are told by their pediatricians to make sure that all family members have this vaccine in order to protect the infant. Whooping cough symptoms are initially similar to those of the common cold, but whooping cough can eventually become much more serious, particularly in infants. The best way to prevent the disease is through vaccinations. 3: Other vaccines that the doctor may recommend include those to prevent:
  • Pneumococcal disease: Pneumococcus can cause many types of illnesses, including ear infections and meningitis.
  • Meningococcal disease: This disease can cause meningococcal meningitis, causing the membranes of the brain and spinal cord to become infected and swell.
  • Hepatitis A and B: Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are liver diseases. Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death.
  • Chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps, and rubella: Some seniors were not immunized for these childhood diseases because the vaccines were not yet developed. Outbreaks still occur in the U.S. and it is important to discuss this with the doctor.
4: Chronic diseases such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes may require that your loved one have a different set of immunizations. These can include pneumococcal vaccines, a yearly influenza (flu) vaccine, and a hepatitis B vaccine series. Tracking immunizations and getting your loved one to the doctor can be difficult. That is why Home Care Assistance caregivers offer complete flexibility to meet your needs, including transporting your loved one to medical appointments. Home Care Assistance is flexible and happy to provide care whenever and wherever needed. We offer the peace of mind that comes when you know that a reliable, qualified caregiver is caring for your loved one.
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