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August is Immunization Awareness Month

Few things play a larger role in continued senior health than vaccinations, yet many seniors still go without important immunizations every year. Influenza, or the flu, alone is responsible for 30,000 senior deaths and hundreds of thousands of senior hospital deaths annually. Pneumonia causes between 350,000 and 620,000 hospitalizations in the 65+ age bracket every single year, which most of the cases coming in Fall and Winter. Alarmingly, 90% of the deaths associated with these two illnesses occur in those over the age of 65.

Whether you are at an assisted living facility in Seattle, living on your own in San Francisco, or doing live-in care in Orlando. Fall weather brings Fall stuffy noses, colds, and fevers every year without fail. Between the months of September and February seniors are far more likely to contract everything from the flu, to shingles, to meningitis and pneumonia. That’s why Immunization Awareness Month was created and August was chosen as the annual reminder date.

Seniors typically account for the lion’s share of contracted preventable diseases, primarily because they are the most at risk population for illnesses that attack weak immune systems. However, CDC data shows that only 66.7% or 2/3rd of seniors are immunized against the flu, and only 60.6% are immunized against pneumonia.

The importance of preventative medicine can’t be stressed enough, especially in relation to common illnesses that affect seniors. Avoiding illnesses that are entirely preventable can extend seniors longevity well into their golden years, health intact. Your doctor will be more than happy to point you in the right direction for your specific health circumstances.

The CDC has released an easy to read list, split by impairments and age groups to help seniors identify exactly which vaccines they should be getting this year. It can be accessed here, or referenced below in our quick cheat sheet for senior vaccinations.

Important Vaccines for Seniors

Influenza You should get the flu vaccine every year.
Tdap You should get the Tdap vaccine renewed every 10 years, starting immediately.
Shingles RSV You should get this initial shingles vaccine at age 50.
Shingles ZVL This shingles vaccine should follow up your initial vaccine at age 60.
Pneumonia It is incredibly important to receive both pneumonia vaccines once you are age 65+.
Meningitis Meningitis vaccines are primarily based on your overall health, doctor consultation is needed.
Chickenpox You should get this vaccine if you didn’t receive it as a child. If you were immunized as a child you can safely disregard it.
Hepatitis A Hepatitis A and B vaccines are only required under specific health circumstances, your doctor will let you know if
Hepatitis B See Hepatitis A.
HPV You should get the HPV vaccine if you suffer from heart, lung, liver, spleen, or kidney issues.
Measles The MMR vaccination is important if you suffer from heart, spleen, or kidney issues.

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