August is back-to-school month, with children returning to class and young adults leaving for college. August is also National Immunization Awareness Month, an opportunity for people of all ages to make sure they are protected against dangerous or even deadly diseases. While vaccinations for school-age children are often the focus in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that adults need immunizations as well. Vaccinations against the flu, measles, and pneumonia provide protection to not only those immunized, but their communities as well.
At Senior Lifestyle, the health of our residents is our highest priority. Our communities take every opportunity to promote recommended vaccinations for residents, families, volunteers, and members of the surrounding community. Whitney Lane, RN, BSN, MSW, a Senior Lifestyle Divisional Director of Health and Wellness, shares that each Senior Lifestyle community holds an annual flu shot clinic, that also offers the pneumococcal vaccine. Timely immunizations against these and other diseases is a vital part of preventing widespread outbreaks and maintaining the health of our seniors.
Vaccinations produce immunity to disease by introducing a weakened form of the antigen of the disease, causing the body’s immune system to create antibodies against that antigen. When faced again with that particular antigen, our body’s defenses are able to act quickly to contain the threat and limit or avert that illness. For those with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, avoiding infections like the flu can help limit complications of the underlying disease.
For seniors, keeping up with vaccinations is imperative. As we age, our immune system can weaken, increasing our susceptibility to certain diseases and illnesses. In addition, certain vaccines lose their efficiency over time, making booster shots necessary. Wellness visits for adults should include a discussion with your doctor about what immunizations are recommended.