A common misconception is that immunizations are only for kids. Not true. Although we develop immunities to many different micro-organisms as we get older, simply because we have had a longer time to be exposed to the many different strains, our immune function, especially after the age of 60, declines with time. Certain immunizations are therefore typically recommended in the adult population:
1)Influenza vaccine. Now recommended for all adults, especially for those greater than 50 years of age, those with conditions that weaken their immune function such as hepatitis and diabetes and those with underlying heart and lung disease. A more potent version is now being offered to those patients older than 65.
2)Pneumonia vaccine. Known as pneumovax, this shot protects against the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia, strep pneumoniae. Typically given when a patient turns 65, it is also offered to those younger who have had pneumonia, asthma or other conditions that weaken one’s immune system.
3)Shingles vaccine (Zostavax). Older patients who have had chicken pox as a child have a good chance of developing a reactivation of the rash in a localized area. This painful condition is known as shingles, and patients older than 50 should consider this preventative vaccine.
4)Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). Don’t forget getting updated with this vaccine every 10 years. Many cases of life threatening pertussis (whooping cough) in small children could have prevented if a parent or grandparent had been vaccinated to prevent transmission as well as infection…..Richard R Samuel, MD Family Practice and Urgent Care Hayden, ID USA