Adult Immunization Week

Adult Vaccinations- What you need to know!

 

Today we have numerous vaccines for adults that may not have been available to them when they were children. These vaccines include: Hepatitis A and B, Prevnar and Pneumovax to prevent pneumonia, zostavax to prevent shingles and PHN, Tdap to prevent tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and multiple flu vaccinations.

 

Why is it important for adults to be vaccinated?

 

Many adults today were raised before vaccinations were made readily available as part of our childhood physicals. This means they may not have received the protection that vaccines provide. As we get older, our immune system and our body’s capability to fight off serious diseases decreases. This makes adults, especially our seniors, at higher risk of contracting and experiencing serious complications from preventable diseases.

 

Who is at risk for pneumonia?

 

Many factors such as age, smoking, and other medical conditions can increase your chances of getting pneumonia and having more severe pneumonia. People who are 65 years old or older have a higher risk  because their immune systems begin to change as a normal part of aging Your risk for pneumonia may increase if you have been exposed to certain chemicals, pollutants, or toxic fumes. Smoking cigarettes, excessive use of alcohol, or being undernourished also increases your risk for pneumonia. You are also at risk if have recently been hospitalized, have a sedentary lifestyle, have any kind of chronic respiratory disease, have difficulty swallowing or coughing due to a stroke, had a recent illness such as the flu or a cold, or are immunocompromised due to HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy treatments, steroid use, or have had an organ transplant.

 

It is recommended by the CDC that adults 65 and older receive a two dose series of pneumonia vaccinations. This includes the Prevnar 13 and the Pneumovax 23. For those at higher risk for pneumonia is recommended that you receive these vaccines at least 8 weeks apart. If you received your first pneumonia vaccine before you turned 65 and 5 years have lapsed, you need another dose.

 

How is hepatitis contracted?

 

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. Currently there are vaccinations to prevent only Hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis A is generally spread by ingesting contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B and C are usually transmitted by infected body fluids. Unfortunately, there is no vaccination to prevent  Hepatitis C, but it is treatable if contracted. It is recommended that individuals born between 1945 and 1965 be screened for Hepatitis C because they are 5 times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other populations. Hepatitis A and B are a series of vaccinations that can be administered through a combined shot or individually.  

 

What is Zostavax and who should be vaccinated for it?

 

CDC recommends that people 60 years old and older get shingles vaccine to prevent shingles and postherpetic neuralgia. Shingles vaccine has been used since 2006. Zostavax is the only shingles vaccine currently approved for use in the United States. This vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles by 51% and PHN by 67%. They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember getting the disease. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine. If you have previously been diagnosed with shingles, you should still get the vaccine.

 

What you need to know about the flu shot?

 

Everyone 6 months and older is recommended for annual flu vaccination with rare exception. Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. For those under the age of 65 the quadrivalent (4 components) flu vaccine is administered. Individuals over the age of 65 should get a high dose trivalent (3 components)  flu vaccine. Young children and people 65 and older are at higher risk for contracting influenza and experiencing serious complications from it.

 

What is the TDaP Vaccine?

 

The TDaP vaccine protects against Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis. It is recommended that you receive a tetanus shot every 7 to 10 years. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that attacks your respiratory system. Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, is a serious respiratory infection that is easily spread. It is important to have the pertussis component if you are ever in contact with infants and young children as they are very susceptible to contracting this illness.

 

So, Why is it important for Adults to be vaccinated?

 

Adults, especially those in the older population, are at risk for contracting and spreading the diseases that vaccines prevent. Being vaccinated not only reduces your risk of becoming ill, but also those around you. By protecting yourself, you are reducing the risk of time lost at work, hospitalizations, serious health complications, and possibly death. If you are unsure of your vaccination history or what vaccines you should have, call the health department or talk to your physician.

For more information visit CDC website

Source: CDC.gov

 

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