Pneumonia Shots for Seniors
As we age, the need to get more check ups with our doctors, our medication intake, and need for vaccines, increase. Our bodies are not in the shape they used to be, and we want to be sure they remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible. A vaccine for the pneumonia might be something to chat about with your doctor.
In 2017 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a recommended vaccination schedule for seniors. They suggest that seniors aged 65 years and older get two vaccines that prevent against bacterial infection in the blood, which can result in sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. Let’s look a bit more into these diseases and the vaccinations for them.
What is the pneumococcal vaccine?
This vaccine prevents the streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria from affecting your body. The bacteria can cause blood, lung, and even brain infections. The infections are called pneumococcal disease, and they include more than just pneumonia. Meningitis and septicemia are two other diseases this vaccine can help prevent.
What is pneumococcal disease?
Pneumococcal disease is a very serious disease that is a threat to your health, and can even cause death. This infection is one of the leading causes of sickness in adults and children worldwide. Out of all the vaccine-preventable diseases, pneumococcal disease kills more people in the U.S. than any other. Unfortunately, this disease is resistant to antibiotics, which is why a vaccine is recommended.
When should you get this vaccine?
There are two vaccines: pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). It’s recommended that adults over the age of 65 get both of these vaccines. However, it’s very important to speak with your doctor to determine when you should get it, and how much later you should get the next one. Other circumstances do affect which vaccine and what timing is appropriate. Things like smoking, asthma, lung disease, asplenia, sickle cell disease, and other conditions play a part in determining which vaccine is for you. The CDC also recommends those seniors with a weakened immune system, kidney disease or poor kidney function, asplenia, and those who are HIV positive get both pneumonia vaccinations. Please speak to you doctor to discuss your options for this vaccine.
You should not get this vaccine if: you’ve ever had a life-threatening reaction caused by allergies to a vaccination in your past, or if you are allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine. Please speak to your doctor and notify them of any of these issues.
What are the side effects of the pneumonia vaccine?
Side effects of both of the vaccines are overall mild. The chances of harm or death are extremely rare. Some people might have mild swelling in the area of the injections, a bit of a fever, and some muscle aches.
Should you start to have dizziness, difficulty breathing, hives, a high fever, or anything out of the norm that causes extreme discomfort, please see your doctor immediately as this might be an allergic reaction.
Before making any decisions, speaking to your doctor about what is right for you is essential when deciding on any medical procedure.