Understand what you need to do to stay healthy over 65

If you are 65 or older, you may be at increased risk for potentially serious disease, even if you are healthy. Talk to your doctor about staying up to date with the CDC-recommended adult vaccinations and help protect yourself.

(BPT) – Today’s Boomer generation feels young at heart. They’re living an active lifestyle, they have no intention of slowing down, they’re booming. Many Boomers feel that because they are healthy and taking care of themselves, they are not at risk for potentially serious infectious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia. But if you are over 65, even if you are healthy, you are at increased risk. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and a great opportunity for anyone over 65 to learn about the myths and facts of adult immunization and to get a new attitude toward vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Every year thousands of adults in the United States suffer from serious illnesses, are hospitalized or even die from diseases for which vaccines are available,” said Dr. Otha Myles, Infectious Disease Physician at Medical Specialists of St. Luke’s Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. “But adults can reduce this threat by talking to their doctor about the facts of adult immunization and about their personal risk of catching a potentially serious disease.”

According to a Pfizer Inc survey of adults aged 65 years and older, 67 percent describe themselves as taking an active role in maintaining their health.[1] However, many misconceptions about adult immunization still persist, preventing Boomers from taking the important step of vaccinating against serious diseases.

Read below for 5 Common Myths and Facts about Adult vaccination:

Myth: Vaccines are for children, adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: While many are familiar with the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule for children, the CDC also has recommended immunizations for adults depending on their health and age. All adults, even healthy ones, should talk to their doctor about the potential risks and the importance of staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccinations.

Myth: Vaccination is only for the very elderly.

Fact: The immune system naturally weakens as people get older, putting even healthy and active adults as young as 65 at risk[2] for diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that can strike anyone over 65, anywhere, anytime.

Myth: Healthy adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: The young at heart may not feel they are at risk for vaccine-preventable illnesses because they live an active lifestyle and take good care of themselves. But our immune system naturally weakens as we age, and adults 65 and older are at an eight times greater risk of being hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to adults younger than 50.[3]

Myth: Vaccines are not proven to be effective.

Fact: According to the CDC, vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself.[4]

Myth: Adults only need to get the flu vaccine.

Fact: The CDC recommends several vaccinations for adults dependent on their age and health-factors.[5] However, flu season is a good time to speak to healthcare providers about staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended adult vaccinations. Beyond just getting the flu vaccine, adults, particularly those 65 and older, should discuss vaccination against other potentially serious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, with their doctor.

This National Immunization Awareness Month, take the opportunity to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. For more information about immunization and vaccination options, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. Visit KnowPneumonia.com for more information about pneumococcal pneumonia.

[1] Omnibus survey, sponsored by Pfizer. September 8-12, 2016.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease: Risk Factors & Transmission. http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/risk-transmission.html. Accessed March 27, 2017.

[3] Jain S, Self WH, Wunderink RG, et al. CDC EPIC Study Team. Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among US adults. N Engl J Med 2015;373(5):415-427

[4] Center for Disease Control and Prevention Fast Facts. (2015). http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/facts.html. Accessed March 23, 2017

[5] Vaccine Information for Adults. (2017, January 30). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html

PP-PNA-USA-2645 © 2017 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. August 2017