When most people think about getting vaccinated, either young children or the annual flu shot come to mind. However, there are certain vaccines that people need as they individuals get older, too. One of the biggest concerns in the aging population is the outbreak of shingles, which can happen as a result of the dormant chickenpox virus. The question is should individuals over the age of 50 in senior assisted living get this vaccine or is there no real concern involved?
Shingles is produced by the same virus that causes chickenpox in children. After having chickenpox or receiving the vaccine, the virus can continue to live in an individual’s body in a dormant state for decades. Most people will experience no ill effects from this. However, about a third of seniors, including those who reside in senior communities in Oklahoma City, can get an outbreak at some point. The risk for those over the age of 50 is significantly increased, which means getting a shingles vaccine can be the best option to reduce the chances of developing this painful ailment.
There are individuals who make it to their senior years without ever getting chicken pox, whether they managed to never be exposed to the disease or they seem to have a natural immunity to it. This means they are unable to develop shingles because the disease is not present in their bodies. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk for this virus at all. While they won’t be able to get shingles, they can develop chickenpox if they are exposed to someone who is experiencing symptoms of shingles. This means everyone over the age of 50 who has had chickenpox should get the vaccine in order to protect those who haven’t had chickenpox during their lifetime. This is especially important because chicken pox is extremely dangerous for older individuals and could even result in death.
The first vaccine developed for shingles is the Zostavax vaccine. While this method is still effective for individuals aged 60 and over, it is no longer the recommended option for most people. Today, the CDC recommends Shingrix, which received its FDA approval in 2017 and is now widely used. This vaccine has proven effective in individuals ages 50 and over, which is the same age range in which the risk of developing shingles begins to increase. This process requires two vaccinations spaced between two and six months apart. It’s important to talk to your doctor who offers senior care in OKC about which option is right for your loved one.
Protecting yourself from illnesses is important. While many vaccines are designed for younger people, seniors also require certain vaccinations. Those who are under senior care in OKC should carefully consider the need for a shingles vaccine so they can protect themselves from this often painful disease and its resulting long-term problems.
Are you concerned whether your loved one is getting the senior care they require? Contact us. Our senior living community will ensure your loved one makes the right choices for their long-term health and wellbeing.