Seniors Urged to Get Shots PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dr. Niru Prasad   

Seniors urged to get shots

For both flu and pneumonia

Medical officials are urging the elderly to get flu shots and vaccinations of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccines.

Dr. Niru Prasad, M.D. at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac said the elderly, chronically ill and residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities should get flu shots. "You are at increased risk for flu and its complications and should be vaccinated if you belong to or are closely associated with someone in one of these groups," Prasad said.

The National Council on the Aging, Inc. has launched a seven-state public awareness campaign to urge those 65 and old to get a pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine at the same time. Michigan has the seventh largest population of adults over age 65 in the nation at 1.2 million.

"Many senior citizens are at increased risk of contracting pneumonia because of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or lung disease," said Daniel Thursz, president of aging council. Most people require only one dose of the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine.

The onset of the pneumonia catches some individuals off-guard. A cold or flu that seems to be subsiding may return with a vengeance, causing a high fever and a painful mucus-producing cough that is sometimes stained with blood.

Other symptoms include chills, fever, difficulty in breathing and confusion.

The earlier medical treatment is sought, the greater the chance for a fast, complete recovery. It is usually treated with antibiotics.

Despite the availability of the antibiotics, about 5 percent of persons who are treated die.

The Council’s vaccine campaign is being done in coordination with Lederle-Praxis Biologicals.