Be sure to get the shots you need
Each year 50,000 adults in the U.S. die from vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). That’s more deaths than from HIV/AIDS, breast cancer or traffic accidents.
The CDC and most health care professionals recommend vaccinations as standard preventive care for children and adults. Exceptions include people who are allergic to a vaccine component, or have a very weak immune system, such as cancer patients. A person with a mild, common illness, such as a cold with a low-grade fever, does not have to wait to be vaccinated. Ask your health care provider for more information.
In general, vaccine-preventable diseases are far more serious for young children and older adults. “As we get older, our immunity declines which makes us more susceptible to communicable diseases,” said Sharon Congleton, health promotion nurse consultant at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA).
“The symptoms associated with conditions like the flu, hepatitis and shingles will be more severe in an older person. Recovery will be longer and harder on an older person’s body.”
If you have a chronic health condition, including HIV, kidney disease, damanged or removed spleen, heart or lung disease, chronic alcoholism or diabetes, your risk of becoming seriously ill from a preventable condition is even greater.
That’s why it’s so important for adults age 65-plus to receive all recommended vaccines. Even if you received vaccines as a child or young adult, it may be time for additional shots.