From the moment we’re born, we’re receiving vaccines. Our infant vaccines usually include chicken pox and mumps. When we get older, we may get vaccines to leave the country or enter into higher education. But vaccines don’t stop with this season of life. As we keep aging, there are vaccines that those over 50 years old should consider. Check all of these off your list and you’re likely to be much lower risk of encountering these illnesses, if at all.
First, shingles should be a concern of those that over 50 years old. Shingles is the adult version of chicken pox. Even if you had chicken pox as a youngster, you can still get shingles. It can often be spotted by an itchy rash that appears on the body. The individual may also feel a slight fever or feel weak a day or two before the rash even appears. It’s also possible that people have shooting pains in the area where the rash has shown up on the body. If you get the vaccine, however, you decrease your chances of encountering this debilitating disease. You won’t have to experience the chills, upset stomach or headaches that come with it. In fact, shingles is caused from the chicken pox virus and can come back later if it’s not treated—so don’t take a risk.
Another vaccine you may want to consider is the measles vaccine, but this one depends on your age. All individuals born before 1957 are thought of as being immune to the virus. This is because measles was so wide-spread throughout the country. On the contrary, those born after 1957 (while they might’ve had the vaccine as a child) should probably get the vaccine as adults. Measles is caused by a virus. Its symptoms include a fever, runny nose, red eyes and a sore throat. This is considered to be a contagious disease that usually is spread through coughing or sneezing. With the vaccine, however, you won’t have to worry about measles and you’ll be in the clear.
For those 50 and older, the influenza vaccine is vitally important. It is much easier for the younger crowd to fight this respiratory disease that usually is accompanied by coughing, sneezing, chills, aches and pains or a sore throat. There may also be signs of a fever, weakness or fatigue. When you get the vaccine, it’s important to understand the manufacturers put the influenza virus inside the vaccine. This helps your body get immune to it. If you do encounter it, the vaccine can make the symptoms much lighter on your body than a traditional flu. The vaccine also helps older adults stay out of the hospital more often either because they don’t get sick or because the flu systems are mild, easily treated with over-the-counter cold medications.
Finally, consider getting re-vaccinated for whooping cough. While it’s possible you may have had this vaccine as a child, this vaccine has a tendency to ware off after a certain period of time. Whopping cough has similar symptoms to the common cold. Individuals can expect to experience a runny and stuffed-up nose, while they may also have itchy, watery eyes. A fever and cough might also be present, in addition to vomiting or struggles to breathe. Another reason to get the whopping cough vaccine—it protects against tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria. All of these diseases (technically, all four diseases) can claim your life.
So what are you waiting for? Get to the doctor and get the vaccine. When I was a little kid, they used to give me cute band-aids and hold my hand while they stuck with baby-sized needles. Maybe you’ll be that lucky too!