Sunday, January 15, 2006

immunization in the elderly (tetanus immunization, diptheria immunization, influenza immunization, pneumonia immunization)

Tetanus and Diptheria: Every adult should be immunized against tetanus and diptheria. For those who are certain of having been immunized, boosters should be given every 10 years. The mortality from tetanus in those over age 70 is greater than 60 percent-three to four times greater than in younger adults and children.
Influenza: Current recommendations for influenza vaccination include all people over age 65 and high-risk patients of all ages with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, renal failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, immunosuppression therapy, and malignancy. The only contraindications to use of the vaccine is patients with an allergy to eggs, and patients on chemotherapy. The vaccine should be administered yearly, two to three months prior to the expected epidemic seasons.
Pneumonia: The elderly in the high-risk group and asplenic patients should receive polyvalent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Immunity generally lasts five years. The vaccine should not be given more frequently than every three years because more severe local reactions may occur. Major side effects of the vaccine are local tenderness and swelling.
Covington, T., and Walker, J. Current Geriatric Therapy. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1984.

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