The ADRC of Dane County provides information about resources and support on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability and is a one-stop shop for older adults, people with disabilities and their families. ADRC staff are unbiased and knowledgeable professionals who listen to your concerns, help clarify your options and direct you to appropriate resources. The ADRC is also the access point for information about long-term care options and applying for public benefits. Services provided by the ADRC are free and available to all Dane County residents regardless of income or assets.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month!
National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held each August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Join the initiative have to use the month of August to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.
Older Adults Can Get Added Protection Against Pneumococcal Disease This Flu Season
Each year in the United States, about 18,000 adults 65 years or older die and thousands more end up in the hospital because of infections caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Pneumococcal disease is an infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. Pneumococcal bacteria spread from person-to-person through coughing and sneezing. People sometimes have the bacteria in their nose and throat without feeling sick, but can still spread it to other people.
When pneumococcal bacteria spread from the nose and throat to ears or sinuses, it generally causes mild illness. When the bacteria spread into other parts of the body, it leads to severe health problems such as infections of the lungs (pneumonia), blood (bacteremia), and lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). These illnesses can lead to disability like deafness, brain damage, or loss of arms or legs. These illnesses can also be life-threatening.
Thousands of older adults die and many more are hospitalized from pneumococcal disease every year, but many adults aren’t aware that there are vaccines that can prevent it. A lot of adults get their flu vaccine this time of year, which is a great time to get pneumococcal and other vaccines as well.
Older adults have been recommended to get the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23, Pneumovax®23), which protects against blood and certain other pneumococcal infections. CDC now recommends that adults 65 years or older also receive the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13, Prevnar-13®), which provides added protection against pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria. Getting both vaccines offers the best protection we have available against pneumococcal disease.
Talk to your healthcare professional to make sure you are up-to-date on flu and pneumococcal vaccination, as well as other vaccines that may be recommended for you based on your age, health condition, job, lifestyle, or other factors.
What You Need to Know About Shingles and the Shingles Vaccine
In the United States, currently 1 million people get shingles every year, and about one out of every three people will get shingles in their lifetime.
What is shingles?
Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk of getting shingles.
- One out of every three people 60 years old or older will get shingles.
- One out of six people older than 60 years who get shingles will have severe pain. The pain can last for months or even years.
- The most common complication of shingles is severe pain where the shingles rash was. This pain can be debilitating. There is no treatment or cure from this pain. As people get older, they are more likely to develop long-term pain as a complication of shingles and the pain is likely to be more severe.
- Shingles may also lead to serious complications involving the eye. Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.
Protect Yourself Against Shingles
Adults 60 years old or older should talk to their healthcare professional about getting a one-time dose of the shingles vaccine.
- The shingles vaccine can reduce your risk of shingles and the long-term pain it can cause.
- Persons who have already had shingles or who have a chronic medical condition can receive the shingles vaccine.
- In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults 60 years old or older, the vaccine reduced the risk of shingles by about half. Even if the shingles vaccine doesn’t prevent you from getting shingles, it can still reduce the chance of having long-term pain.