It’s back to school time and many neighborhood events have been preparing families for the big day. It’s not just teachers and school supplies on hand but also vaccinations and health information. The Zing Health team reminds us that vaccinations protect the entire family, including elders, who are more prone to serious complications from illnesses. An annual flu vaccine is always important.

For our youngsters, schools now require more immunizations, at different ages than older adults might remember. There are the life-saving Measles, Polio, and Whooping Cough vaccines introduced in the 1960s, but also newer ones for pneumococcal disease, Hepatitis B, and other contagions. Visits to the family doctor are the best way to keep kids healthy and ask any questions about required vaccines, too. Vaccines protect all people, and they save lives—and that is in part why schools require them; another reason is that kids who are healthy and in school naturally learn more and have greater success.

A Lesson in Vaccines: The biggest recent virus threat is, of course, COVID-19, and the global fight to tame it proves the value of vaccines. In basic terms, vaccines create just enough inflammatory responses to effectively and with minimal risk train the body to defend itself. This protection wanes over time, though, and as long as a virus is in circulation, it will often mutate to such a degree that it can overcome vaccine protection.

“Doctors recommend older adults update various antiviral shots during their annual wellness visits” – Zing Health

COVID proved how difficult it is to keep a pandemic-level virus from spreading and mutating. Humans keep adapting as the virus adapts; so, later this year, booster shots will offer added protection against the Omicron Variant. Till then, families should catch up on COVID shots; adults are eligible for boosters five months after their first shot, and older adults who’ve been boosted can get a second booster four months later. All COVID shots are offered free, even to people without health insurance.

The flu works on the body in similar ways: Immunity against Influenza wears off and every year there are new Flu viruses. As a result, Flu shots are an annual event, with each new vaccine geared toward the latest variants. Flu season started early this year and because it’s already spreading, it’s better not to wait till winter to get vaccinated. Doctors will be recommending that older adults get a higher dose, in order to prevent severe symptoms.

Immunity Boosters: Doctors also may recommend older adults update various antiviral shots during their annual wellness visits, such as a one-time pneumococcal booster for infections such as pneumonia or the two-dose varicella-zoster vaccine that protects against shingles. Those who will be spending time with infants in the family will want a TDAP shot to keep from spreading tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

The care team may suggest boosting the immune system in other ways, with food or supplements such as Vitamin D.

Read more about vaccines and better health on the Zing Health blog at getzinghealth.com, or call for more information on Zing Health at 1-844-946-4446 (TTY 711). – Content Curated By AJ Mulhall / Purpose Brand