With so much talk in the news lately regarding childhood immunizations, it got us thinking about others who are at risk for serious illness and of course, the subject of seniors and the health risks they face surfaced. Though we tend to think of immunizations as those prevention measures that typically affect the young, there are a number of illnesses that the elderly face where immunizations can be help at a life-saving level. As a retirement community in Hot Springs, we know first-hand the difference immunizations make in a setting like ours and work closely with health care professionals who recommend the following vaccines for seniors:
- Influenza – Seniors face much higher risk of death from the flu than other demographics. One study found that people aged 85 or older were 16 times more likely to die from the flu as their counterparts aged 65 to 69.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) – A recent study has shown that cases of pertussis among adults older than 65 has more than tripled since 2006. Though often less severe in older adults than in infants and children, the ailment can cause serious respiratory health problems in the elderly.
- Shingles – About half of all people who reach the age of 80 have experienced shingles. The illness can cause such painful rashes that sufferers often cant bear to even wear clothes. Through vaccines we can work to reduce the amount of shingles in the US.
- Pneumonia – Vaccines for pneumonia are especially important with the elderly as, combined with the flu, it ranks as the eighth leading cause of death in the US.
- Diphtheria/Tetanus – With up to 20% of tetanus cases in the US being fatal and death more likely to occur in persons 60 years or older, a tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years for all adults.