GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - Getting an annual flu shot is something many families have on their radar screen during autumn, but it doesn't have to be cold to get a cold. Infection of all kinds can spread throughout the year, which is why healthcare professionals promote prevention through immunization for people of all ages.
"Immunization works, but in order for it to work correctly it is important to know which vaccines are needed and when to schedule them," said Therese Ganster, branch director, Peninsula Home Care. "As a community, we become vulnerable specifically because vaccines work so well that people forget to vaccinate themselves and their children. That is why National Immunization Awareness Month is so critical. Every American needs to be reminded about the importance of staying up to date with recommended vaccinations."
Seniors are more vulnerable when it comes to serious and possibly life-threatening infections and illnesses. An estimated 45,000 adults ages 65 and older die annually from complications due to vaccine-preventable diseases. It is critical for these "seniors" to keep vaccines current. Many may not have been vaccinated as children, or, their immunity may have faded. And, new vaccinations that were not previously may now be available. The most important vaccinations seniors should discuss with their physicians include the flu vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine to prevent pneumonia, shingles vaccine, and a tetanus-diptheria-pertussis vaccine (Tdap).
"The chances of a grandparent becoming at risk of getting or giving their loved ones any of the above illnesses that they can be vaccinated are great. Therefore, make sure their great grandchildren, grandchildren and children, infants through adulthood, receive their vaccinations."
Vaccinations – which depending on the type may be administered by injection, oral suspension or nasal spray – work best when they are given at specific ages. Here are some general guidelines:
- Everyone over age 6 months needs to be vaccinated against seasonal flu every year.
- Children need a series of vaccinations from birth to age 6, such as
- Pre-teens need recommended vaccinations at age 11 or 12, such as
- Teens require additional vaccines as they enter into high school and college
- All adults need a variety of vaccinations to prevent diseases such as whooping cough, pneumonia, flu, shingles and more.
For a full 2013 CDC recommended immunization schedule for people from birth to age 18 years and a full adult schedule go to www.peninsulahomecare.com.
Each schedule includes number of doses and intervals between doses.
Track Your Shots:
Keeping up-to-date immunization records for your family is important. Many parents will need their children's immunization records to register them for school, child care and sports teams. Ask the doctor or nurse to record each vaccine on an immunization tracker card. Make sure to write down the name of the doctor's office or clinic in order to obtain official records later, should they be needed.
To make an informal record, include the name of the vaccination, the date give, the dosage and the name of and contact information for the doctor or nurse who administered the vaccine.
About Peninsula Home Care:
Peninsula Home Care provides health care services, resources and "real world" therapy in the home. The home health staff provides and coordinates a plan of care and/or therapy that a patient's doctor orders to help maintain the patient's physical, mental and social well-being. Services include nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology and access to medical social workers and home health aides.
Peninsula Home Care ensures that all patients are involved in their plan of care and strives to give them every opportunity to maintain their independence in the home. The agency has recently surpassed serving 30,000 patients and has been named to the "Home Health Care Elite" for the third time in four years. The Home Health Care Elite, awarded by OCS Home Care, recognizes the top 25-percent of home health agencies based on performance measures in quality outcomes, quality improvement and financial performance.
For more information, visit www.peninsulahomecare.com.