Many adults don’t think about vaccinations. Often they are considered “only for kids”.
When it’s actually true that vaccinations are important for adults, too. Especially for potentially serious infections, and for people with potentially compromised immune systems. Probably including the person you care for.
How do you know? Well, your health care provider should be aware of the latest guidelines. And the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases has recently published the following article and infographic to help explain the need for pneumococcal vaccination.
Too Many Adults Lack Protection from Serious Infection
Should You Get the Pneumococcal Vaccination?
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that many adults skip pneumococcal and other recommended vaccinations, leaving them needlessly at risk for serious illnesses and even death. As one example, about 73 million U.S. adults who are recommended for pneumococcal vaccination have not received it.
If you have children or grandchildren, you may know that they receive pneumococcal vaccines as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. You might not be aware, though, that certain adults also need protection. Pneumococcal disease is a bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, or blood poisoning (sepsis). It kills thousands of adults in the U.S. each year and sickens many more, leading to more than 175,000 hospitalizations annually.
“Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health,” says Dr. Thomas M. File, Jr., an infectious disease specialist and president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). “It’s important to know which vaccines you need as an adult to avoid serious illness.”
So, how do you know if you need pneumococcal vaccination? According to NFID, everyone age 65 and older and adults of any age who smoke or have certain health conditions should be vaccinated. These conditions include asthma; diabetes; heart, liver, lung or kidney disease; or HIV/AIDS or other conditions that weaken the immune system. (Click here to see a full list.)
The bacteria are spread through coughing, sneezing, or direct contact, such as kissing. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but it’s most dangerous for those listed above. Most adults only need to receive one pneumococcal vaccination in their lifetime, though some will need more than one dose depending on age and personal health.
Dr. File advises that pneumococcal disease is a common complication of the flu. However, he emphasizes that adults can receive a pneumococcal vaccination at any time of year. He also urges adults to ask about other vaccines they may need including shingles, pertussis, or hepatitis.
“Vaccines are a simple and effective tool you can use to help protect your health now and in the future,” says Dr. File.
5 Reasons to Get Vaccinated for Pneumococcal Disease:
- Pneumococcal disease is a potentially deadly infection that can strike quickly.
- In its worst forms, pneumococcal disease kills one out of every four to five people over the age of 65 who get it.
- Getting vaccinated is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself.
- Even if vaccination does not stop you from getting the infection, it can reduce the severity, helping to keep you out of the hospital.
- Medicare covers the cost of vaccination, and most private insurers will pay for those in at-risk groups.
For more information, visit www.adultvaccination.org
If you and the person you care for should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, have you or they?
Why or why not? Leave a comment below.
From my heart to yours… Laugh Well, Love Well and Live Well!
Ina Gilmore, M.D. (Retired)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Founder, www.CaregivingWithPurpose.com and www.TheKnittingYarn.com
Ambassador of Caregiving at www.HowToLiveOnPurpose.com