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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Stop illness before it starts: Immunizations for those over 50

Aug 30, 2017 10:16AM ● By Guest

By Dr. April Goggins

When we talk about needing immunizations and vaccinations, we usually think of infants and school-aged children. But there are several vaccines that prevent or decrease the severity of fairly common illnesses in older adults.

One-time shots

Shingles vaccine helps decrease the severity of shingles attacks and the likelihood of experiencing long-term pain as a result. Anyone can get shingles, but those who have had chicken pox are still at risk because they may still carry the dormant virus. This vaccine is recommended for people 60 and older.

Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines (PCV13 and PPSV23) help prevent pneumococcus, a bacteria that causes a nasty form of pneumonia. Both shots are recommended anytime after age 65.

Varicella vaccine protects against the virus that causes chicken pox, which can be very painful for older adults. If you haven’t had the shot since you were 19, it’s recommended that you get a two-shot series even if you have never had chicken pox.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines are recommended for adults born after 1957 until they reach age 59. The vaccine doesn’t work very well in people older than 59.

Vaccines to get more frequently

Tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis is the tetanus shot everyone gets when they get a significant break in the skin due to injury. This vaccine is recommended routinely every 10 years.

Influenza vaccines should be administered annually. Although it varies in its protection against the most common strains of influenza year to year, the flu shot also provides an immune boost against other cold-type illnesses.

Schedule an appointment with your health care provider to get a set of personalized recommendations and exceptions based on your personal history. Discussing preventive care with your doctor is one of the most valuable conversations you can have.

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