By Lynn M. Wilson, DO, Lehigh Valley Health Network
As we age, our immune systems tend to weaken, leading to a higher risk for certain diseases and making vaccinations very important for older adults.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system. 70–85% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occur in people who are aged 65 and older. Receiving the flu vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu by about 50% and diminish more serious flu-related outcomes that can result in hospitalization or even death in older adults.
Pneumococcal disease is an infection that can result in pneumonia, infection of the bloodstream, middle ear infection, and bacterial meningitis. Currently, there are two pneumococcal vaccines recommended for adults 65 and older, as well as for younger adults who have certain chronic health conditions.
Shingles is a painful skin rash that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The shingles vaccine is recommended for healthy adults 50 and older, as well as those who had the vaccine prior to the release of Shingrix, have had shingles in the past, or are unsure if they have had chickenpox.
Find out which vaccines are recommended for you by speaking with your doctor or other healthcare professional.