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4 Must-Have Vaccines for People Over 60

4 Must-Have Vaccines for People Over 60

By    |   Tuesday, 21 August 2018 11:14 AM

As we get older, our immunity to the diseases we’ve been vaccinated against as a child begins to wane.

“We all know more about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle today than ever before,” Dr. Max Lebow, medical director of Reliant Immediate Care Medical Group, tellsNewsmax. “Most of us try to eat a healthy diet, pursue some form of regular exercise, and take steps to not only live a long life, but also to remain healthy and active into our later years.

“However, with all the resources at our disposal — books and websites — dedicated to a healthy lifestyle, there is one area that is vitally important but does not get the attention it deserves. This is the area of vaccinations for older adults, especially for those over the age of 60.”

Lebow, who is board certified in emergency medicine, explains that the same reasoning applies to older folks as for children when it comes to the need for vaccinations.

“Vaccines are useful when our immune system is more vulnerable, either early in life before it is fully developed or later in life when the immune system can use a boost.”

Here are four vital vaccines he recommends for folks over 60:

  • Shingles. The same virus that causes chicken pox can lead to shingles, characterized by a blister and painful rash that produces a burning shock or stabbing pain where it erupts. More than 200,000 Americans s are affected by this troublesome disorder and most are over the age of 60. In fact, if you’ve had chicken pox, the chances are one out of three that you’ll develop this painful condition that you may have for the rest of our life, says Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a board-certified physician from Orlando, Florida. “Shingles can also cause strokes and clots anywhere in the body,” he tells Newsmax. “I recommend that everybody over the age of 50 gets the shingles vaccine. It is incredible and gives almost 100 percent protection. I recommend the new vaccine called Shingrix because it is more effective than the old vaccine, Zostavax.”
  • Influenza. Getting the flu is nothing to sneeze at because for some folks, it can be a killer. The flu sends over 200,000 people to the hospital each year and is responsible for 36,000 deaths. “Influenza is a potentially dangerous disease for people over the age of 60 and can lead to pneumonia and other dire outcomes,” says Lebow. Because the flu virus mutates every year, it’s important to get your flu shot annually during the flu season which typically lasts from fall to spring. However, if you miss this window, don’t forego the shot altogether say experts. “Even if you contract the flu after getting the vaccine the severity will be lessened,” says Lebow. For those who have egg allergies, there is an egg-free FDA approved flu vaccine.
  • Pneumococcal Pneumonia. This bacterial infection can also have serious consequences especially for those who have certain health conditions such as chronic heart or lung disease, or diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all adults 65 years or older should have the PCV13 or Prevnar13 vaccine and the PPSV23 or Pneumovax23 vaccine. Check with your health care practitioner for possible contra-indications.
  • Tetanus and Pertussis Booster. Experts recommend getting what’s called the Tdap booster every 10 years. This vaccine is the equivalent to the childhood shot called the DTaP and also protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. “As we age we become more susceptible to pertussis or whopping cough,” says Lebow. “A major concern is that adults with whooping cough can spread it to infants who have a high risk of death from the disease.” Furthermore, while it is recommended that you get the tetanus booster every 10 years, if you are bitten by an animal or suffer a cut from a metal object more than five years after your last booster, you should get a shot just to be safe.

“All these steps are important for wellness and disease prevention,” notes Lebow. “They contribute to the old expression: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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As we get older, our immunity to the diseases we've been vaccinated against as a child begins to wane.
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Tuesday, 21 August 2018 11:14 AM
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