Perhaps you’re careful to get a regular flu vaccination every fall, but have you kept up with other vaccinations that may be beneficial for you? As we age, and particularly if we have a chronic disease such as COPD, our risks change for diseases such as pneumonia and hepatitis B. When you were younger, or before you were diagnosed with COPD, perhaps you weren’t advised to get vaccines against these diseases. Now, however, they may be recommended for your health and safety. Dr. Raymond Strikas, medical officer in the National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases, says that patients with chronic conditions such as lung disease are at increased risk of developing serious complications from vaccine-preventable diseases, including long-term illness, hospitalization, and even death.
If You Resist Getting the Flu Vaccine
If on the other hand, you’re one of those people who resists getting an annual flu vaccine, consider this: sometimes influenza causes serious complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and ear infections. Influenza also can cause airway edema in patients with chronic lung disease, making it harder for the patient to breathe. Serious respiratory complications and illnesses could result.
When considering whether to get not only a flu shot but additional vaccines, it’s not as simple as just opting for all of the vaccinations that you hear are available. If you have COPD, certain vaccines may not be recommended for you. Ask your medical care provider what additional vaccines, if any, you should be getting.
Meanwhile, to inform yourself about the different types of vaccines that are generally recommended for adults, review the “Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults Aged 19 Years or Older” approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
COPD Patients Might Need the Pneumococcal Vaccine
One vaccine that may be recommended for you is the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcus is a kind of bacteria that is the most common cause of pneumonia. If you’re 65 or older and/or if you have a chronic lung condition, the odds for mortality from pneumococcal pneumonia are increased by 50%. If vaccination against pneumococcal disease is recommended for you, you might be given the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar) and the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (Pneumovax) sequentially in a series.
Don’t Forget to Keep Up With Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis Protection
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults receive a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years – or if you did not receive a tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine as an adolescent, you should receive one dose now, to increase immunity to pertussis.
Protect Against Shingles Too With the Herpes Zoster Vaccine
The CDC also recommends that men and women age 60 and older receive a single herpes zoster vaccine to protect against shingles.
To review all vaccines recommended for adults, consult the full 2017 adult vaccine schedule, available on the CDC website,
Information for this article was obtained from Medscape.