The importance and significance of preventative medicine is vastly misunderstood. Although it may seem like an inconvenience, or be unimportant, the pain, time, energy, money, and even life that a simple vaccine can save should alone prompt an individual to stay up to date on immunizations.[blockquote]Many debilitating diseases can be truncated, altered, or even prevented if vaccines are administered and received properly.[/blockquote]

There are significant public campaigns to increase awareness of the need to utilize annual influenza vaccines. This is of course extremely important in the elder population as a primary susceptible group. However, there are quite a few other afflictions which safe and effective vaccines are readily available, as well as often free to seniors through Medicare or other health and wellness programs. Below are some of the diseases or conditions that can be easily prevented with vaccines.

Influenza – Each year the Centers for Disease Control and other institutions proactively design a vaccine against the 3 greatest threatening influenza strains for the upcoming season. It is recommended that every individual receive the annual vaccine in the fall before flu season begins, and may need a second dose at the beginning of the year when there is a longer flu season persisting late in the spring. The vaccine is highly effective against the 3 targeted strains, and may provide some protection against other minor, less virulent strains as well.

Varicella/Zoster (Shingles) – Although many individuals are exposed to Chicken Pox as a child, and may have exposure again as a parent, this natural immunity wanes in adulthood. In the absence of this exposure, or waned immunity, adults can be susceptible and develop the adult form of Chicken Pox known as Shingles. Shingles are a persistent and painful form of this condition, but can easily be prevented by receiving 2 doses of the varicella vaccine or a single dose when there is documented exposure in the last 5 years.

Whooping Cough- There has been a recent resurgence of whooping cough, caused by pertussis toxin. The standard tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (dpt, tetanus shot) vaccine is recommended to be administered every 10 years to retain immunity. If you have not recently received your dpt booster, it is highly recommended to receive a booster to prevent whooping cough.

Pneumonia – There are vaccines available to prevent some forms of pneumonia. Most individuals have received these throughout their lives, but are recommended to receive another dose after the age of 65 to retain immunity.

Meningitis – Bacterial meningitis can sometimes be prevented or averted with the administration of the meningococcal vaccine. Most individuals have received this in their lifetimes, and must receive 2 doses at least 1 month apart for full immunity.

It is important to consult your primary care physician and keep or obtain records of your vaccination schedule in order to properly obtain the full dosing schedule to create and maintain immunity. Many debilitating diseases can be truncated, altered, or even prevented if vaccines are administered and received properly.

Centennial Adultcare Center has provided nursing care and assistance to its members for more than 25 years. We have and continue to work with multiple local primary care physicians and geriatricians to develop individualized care plans for each of our members in order to help provide medical assistance to those who need it. Please call us at (615) 383-3399 or contact us today to see how we can assist you and your loved one.