You’ve enjoyed a life free from some very serious diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, thanks to the effectiveness of vaccinations you received as a child. As you enter your “senior” years — which means you’re over the age of 64 — now’s not the time to let your guard down. There are some important vaccines that you should receive later in life that will continue to protect you.
At Forest Urgent Care, our team of health care providers offers vaccination services to patients of all ages, from the newest members of the family to the most senior. If you fall more toward the latter category, here’s a look at the most important vaccines for seniors.
The flu shot
As you age, your immune system isn’t what it used to be, so an annual flu vaccine is one of the best steps you can take to safeguard your health each year. Not only are older people more susceptible to the flu, these respiratory infections can create bigger problems in your lungs and even lead to pneumonia. In fact, 50-70% of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people 65 years and older.
To protect yourself, we recommend that you receive the flu vaccine each year, usually before the winter flu season strikes. While the flu vaccine doesn’t provide complete immunity, it can reduce your risk of getting the flu by up to 60%, which are great odds when it comes to this disease.
As we mentioned above, seniors can ill afford to be struck with serious diseases, which is why we recommend a pneumococcal vaccine. We carry the PPSV23 (Pneumovax 23) that protects you against pneumonia as well as blood infections and meningitis.
If you had chickenpox as a child, you may have weathered the initial outbreak, but the virus still lies dormant in your body. This virus can reactivate later in life, which is why we recommend a shingles vaccine for anyone over the age of 50.
If chickenpox reappears, it does so as shingles, which is a painful rash that includes blisters, and the outbreak can lead to ongoing problems with nerve pain. To avoid the pain of shingles and the potential long-term consequences of the disease, we provide a shingles vaccine that offers a 90% protection rate.
When you were a child, you likely received a Tdap immunization, which protects you against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. But this protection can begin to wane as you grow older, which is why we recommend a Td booster every 10 years.
If you never received your Tdap vaccination, it’s especially important to get vaccinated. As you get older, you’re more vulnerable to pertussis and diphtheria and you can also pass it on to infants and small children.
If you have more questions about which vaccinations are right for you, or you’d like to set up a vaccination appointment, please contact us. Book online or call one of our offices in Forest Hills or Long Island City, New York.