Immunization for Adults: Shingles & Pneumonia
Are you up to date with your immunizations?Each August is honored as National Immunization Awareness Month to serve as a reminder for keeping up to date with your medical shots and vaccines.Just as kids are required to keep up with their immunizations for
school, adults should also be aware of their vaccination history and ensure their shots are up to date, especially during later adulthood when we become more susceptible to disease.
Born from the same virus as the chickenpox, Shingles is a skin rash that is usually identified by blisters on the body. All people who had chickenpox still carry the original virus which stays dormant in the body’s nerve tissues.
As we age and experience physical or emotional stress, the body’s immune system weakens. A weakened immune system allows for the Shingles virus to reactivate and
spread within the body’s nerve fibers, often causing painful sensations around the nerves which are infected.
Symptoms for Shingles include burning or tingling sensations in one particular location of the body and typically begin to appear one to five days prior to the infected area breaking out in a rash. While there currently is no cure, antiviral medications can put the brakes on an attack.
Shingles is a contagious infection so it is strongly suggested for those most at risk to receive immunization.
Regardless of if you’ve had Shingles or not, adults over the age of 60 should receive the shingles vaccination as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The vaccine has also been approved for adults starting at age 50 and is highly recommended for patients who are prescribed cancer or steroid medicines, as well as those who have experienced long-term stress or trauma.
Beginning with symptoms of fatigue, cough, and fever, Pneumonia is often mistaken for a common cold. However, there are over 80 different strands of the pneumonia bacteria, and fortunately 23 of these strands are covered by the vaccine.
Aside from disrupting day-to-day life, many cases Pneumonia can be fatal for those who have not been vaccinated, especially among older adults with existing medical conditions due to their weakened immune system. Children under the age of five and adults over the age of 65 are at the greatest risk of contracting fatal Pneumonia.
There are two variations of the Pneumonia vaccine, and both children and adults are eligible to receive the immunization shot.
Treasure Coast Primary Care strongly recommends adults age 65 and older ensure they’re receiving an annual Pneumonia vaccination and make an immediate appointment if it has been five years or more since their last immunization.
Patients with existing medical conditions are also at greater risk for contracting serious cases of Pneumonia and should speak with their healthcare provider about if they’re eligible to receive the vaccination.
The vaccine is also beneficial for any adult over the age of 19 who smokes or consumes alcohol regularly.
Pneumonia and Shingles are two of the most common illnesses afflicting adults. If you have additional questions about either infection, or would like to schedule your vaccination, give us a call today at Treasure Coast Primary Care at 772-678-7043. Let us help you stay on the path to greater health and disease prevention!