When discussing health concerns in 2020 that residents of Flintridge and elsewhere should be concerned about, the biggie is certainly going to COVID-19. But it’s also important, whether you’re receiving 24-hour care or traditional care, that you also keep other conditions in mind.
The team at Accredited Home Care encourages clients and their loved ones to take proper precautions for COVID-19, such as masks, improved hygiene, and social distancing, but also remain aware of other possible threats to their health.
Being aware doesn’t have to be something scary, either. It could be just a matter of checking in with your primary provider occasionally and learning the status of any existing conditions you may have as well as any possible ways to lower your overall health risks.
For instance, easy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating better, and getting more sleep and more exercise can all combine for substantial improvements to your overall health.
Making sure your vaccinations are up to date also can be quite useful, especially for seniors.
Some people may have had theirs when they were children, but never received a booster. Or some people may not have had their basic ones at all – there was less emphasis on these decades ago.
In other cases, there have been advances in research in just the last few years, so there may be a vaccination out now for certain conditions that may not have been available in the 1940s, 1950s, or 1960s.
Discussing vaccinations with your provider can provide you with good information about how a particular type works, what form it takes, its history, and any possible side effects. Since there is so much misinformation about vaccines these days, especially at the childhood level, sometimes the opinion of a trusted provider – backed up by objective scientific data and legitimate research – can make it easier for people to see the value and consider helping their health and that of those around them with a vaccine.
Some of the more common ones that can be of use to people age 60-plus include
- Flu/Influenza. Flu shots were already recommended annually prior to the current pandemic, especially for those at higher risk. While the strain from 2019-2020 may not work anymore against the 2020-2021 flu. But a new batch of vaccines is expected to be ready by fall. The vaccine often is made of a similar strain to the current flu but designed to be Iess active and less dangerous. Medical experts emphasize that a vaccine by itself won’t automatically block you from getting the flu entirely. But it will decrease the risk of contracting it, and if you do contract it, the symptoms aren’t going to be as bad. The Centers for Disease Control is especially recommending a variety of flu vaccines this year, especially since many flu symptoms are similar to COVID symptoms. They are also working with local public health officials to figure out ways to offer these safely for people concerned about being inside and close to others seeking the vaccine.
- Hepatitis A and B. The contagious blood-borne infection can cause problems through the body, including the liver. Vaccines are recommended for people who may be exposed to blood and other fluids as a regular part of their day. These can include health care workers and employees in foodservice businesses such as restaurants or kitchens. There are vaccines available for Hepatitis A and B, but not currently for Hepatitis C.
- Shingles. The “grown-up” version of chickenpox can cause high amounts of pain, rashes, nerve damage, and more. If you had chickenpox as a child, the virus information may have remained in your body and possibly could re-activate in the future due to stress or a weakened immune system. Although chickenpox has been around for years, a shingles vaccine only recently has become available.
- Tetanus. This vaccine is typically given to children or teens and is recommended every 10 years. Not everyone may have received it in childhood or they may need a booster after many decades have passed. This vaccination can protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and other conditions that could be painful for seniors.
- Pneumonia/lungs. Although this vaccine isn’t necessarily recommended for younger people, the Centers for Disease Control does suggest it for those 65 and older, especially those with past lung or respiratory health conditions. There are actually two types of related vaccines, PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine), which protects against meningitis and various bloodstream infections, and PCV13, or pneumococcal conjugate vaccine that can protect against pneumonia more.
August is a great time to learn even more about vaccines.
This month is an excellent opportunity to learn more. August has been declared National Immunization Awareness Month, an opportunity to learn about the value of vaccinations and immunizations for all ages, from babies and children to seniors. It’s also an opportunity to read information from the medical community about why vaccinations are important and dispel many of the rumors and false information that have come up in recent years. Visitors to the site can also see a general schedule of immunizations for every age group and an explanation of why they’re useful.