Immunizations Have a Role in Maintaining Good Health
Like many people, you probably get a flu shot every year. But what about the other immunizations you’ve heard about? Your Pegasus caregiver and your doctor can answer your questions.
It’s easy to decide as you age that you don’t need a vaccination against this or that. Although you are well past childhood diseases, maturity doesn’t bestow protection from infection. And infection of any kind is your worst enemy.
Experts advise talking to your doctor about getting vaccinations now because:
- Perhaps you didn’t get vaccinated as a child
- New and better vaccines are available
- Your immunity isn’t what it used to be
The biggest problem, however, is that you’re at risk of dangerous complications from any disease.
A viral infection can’t be treated with antibiotics. Any infection, viral or otherwise, weakens your immune system. Then you can develop a bacterial infection.
Too many bacterial infections don’t respond to traditional antibiotics. Stronger and stronger antibiotics are required. You can end up chronically ill and weak.
Vaccines are designed to stimulate your immune system. By doing so, your body develops an immunity against a particular disease without you having the disease. Vaccines are usually injected, but some can be administered in other ways.
Preventing Infection Is a Part of Home Health Care
Home health care professionals stay current with their immunizations so that they are able to assist you. Because they get the same shots you do, they experience the side effects, if any. They can also reassure you that getting vaccinated doesn’t make you sick.
The vaccines are made from viruses that have been killed. Dead viruses don’t have the ability to cause disease. Other factors can cause a reaction.
Tell your doctor before any injection if you:
- Are allergic to eggs
- Are allergic to latex
- Have Guillain-Barre syndrome
- Have a fever
- Have any illness or disease
Your doctor also needs to know if you’ve had a severe reaction to a vaccine in the past.
Minor reactions to immunization are limited to:
- Redness at the injection site
- Slight pain at the injection site
- Muscle aches
- Low fever
These are all temporary symptoms and pass within a day or two.
Your caregiver is trained to recognize serious reactions. He or she will consult with your doctor to ensure that you obtain treatment if needed. Otherwise, your caregiver will strive to keep you comfortable.
It’s also important that you receive your immunizations at the right time. A home health care specialist helps you keep a record of what you’ve had and when. If needed, your caregiver will schedule an appointment and transport you to the doctor’s office.
Most physicians recommend the following vaccinations for seniors:
These are all intended to prevent infection.
Influenza, or the flu, is very contagious. The older an individual is, the more serious it can be. The flu can worsen any existing condition.
Complications of the flu can land you in a hospital. You may still get the flu if you’re vaccinated, but the infection will be much milder. Because the viruses that cause influenza constantly change, you need a new flu shot each year.
Pneumonia is usually a bacterial infection. It’s serious enough to require hospitalization. You may need more than one injection as several kinds of bacteria cause pneumonia.
As time goes on, fewer and fewer antibiotics are effective against pneumonia. That makes preventing it by vaccination even more important.
If you had chicken pox as a child, you could potentially develop shingles in your later years. The virus that causes chicken pox remains dormant in your system for your lifetime.
Shingles is an extremely painful rash with blisters. It can permanently damage your eyes if it breaks out on your face. It can also leave scars.
You must get the vaccine before a breakout occurs. The vaccine may not prevent all breakouts, but it reduces the symptoms.
Tdap is tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine. Pertussis (whooping cough) has begun infecting more seniors. Your doctor will need to know your previous inoculation history.
Your age is also a factor, as there are various combinations of Tdap. The right kind at the right time is essential. Your caregiver will help you make sure that your doctor has all the information needed.
Preventing Disease Helps Prevent Infections
Keeping current on your vaccinations helps prevent disease. Preventing disease helps prevent secondary infections. You may need booster shots to remain fully immunized.
Reducing infection also reduces the need for antibiotics. Worldwide, more and more kinds of bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Fatalities due to bacterial infections are increasing as a result.
Your Pegasus home health care professional is familiar with your health needs. He or she works with you and your doctor to keep you free of infection. Immunization equal good health, and good health equals independence.