Talk to Your Doctor About Immunizations You May Need in Your Senior Years

As a senior, you want to take good care of your health so you can stay active and independent. That includes eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting regular medical examinations and care. Your doctor may talk to you about important immunizations you should have when you reach your senior years. Together with your doctor, you can decide if the following immunizations would protect your health and help you avoid serious illness.

The Annual Flu Shot

Your doctor might advise you to have a flu shot each year. When you're older, you tend to get hit harder by illnesses than when you're young. Getting the flu in your senior years could have more serious consequences, such as being hospitalized. An annual flu shot might help you avoid the strain of flu going around each year so you can stay healthy and active.

The Pneumonia Vaccine

There are two pneumonia vaccines, and your doctor might recommend you have both of them one year apart. These vaccines protect against pneumococcal illnesses that can infect your lungs or brain. These immunizations protect against both bacterial and viral infections. Pneumonia can be a serious infection for a person of any age, but it tends to be more serious in older adults, especially sedentary adults.

Shingles Immunization

As you get older, your immune system may not work as well. This could allow old viruses in your body to reactivate. This is the case with the chickenpox virus which can cause you to develop shingles in your senior years. Shingles is a painful condition that can weaken your overall health, so your doctor may recommend a shingles vaccine so you can avoid the medical condition.

If you've never had chickenpox, you can't get shingles. Since you may have been very young when you had chickenpox, you might not remember it. Your doctor might recommend you have the shingles vaccine even if you don't think you had chickenpox.

Booster Shots

Your doctor might also advise you to get boosters for shots you've had in the past so you are fully immunized. This might include getting a tetanus booster, especially if you garden or work with soil. You might even need a whooping cough booster shot if you will be around a new grandchild to protect the baby from the illness.

If you'll be traveling during your senior years, your doctor may advise hepatitis vaccines as well as specific vaccines you may need for travel to certain countries. If you didn't have all of your immunizations as a child, or if you didn't keep up with boosters, talk to services like Dino Peds about what you need so you can have a healthy and enjoyable trip.