It is estimated that the Black Death killed about 60% of Europe’s population. If not for modern medicine, a similar fate could await us as well. Thankfully, we now have vaccines that save millions of lives annually. Vaccines are especially important when it comes to children and the elderly. Their immune systems aren’t strong enough to battle the infections on their own, which is why those two groups benefit the most from the effects of the vaccines. Some of them might be quite expensive, though luckily, some of them are covered by insurance programs. In a second, you’ll learn about 4 vaccines that are covered by Medicare, that every senior should take. Let’s go!
It could seem that in 2020, we should no longer worry about the flu. It is true that the advancements in medicine make it possible to help people with illnesses that not that long ago were untreatable. Still, it doesn’t mean that such a common disease as flu is no longer a threat for us. It is often the case that seniors battle with many different health conditions. On top of that, their immune system becomes progressively weaker, which means that no illness could be ignored. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), during the 2019-20 flu season (from October 1, until February 1), in the United States, there were 12,000-30,000 deaths caused by flu. This staggering number could dramatically decrease if people were more eager to take a seasonal flu shot. It is covered by medicare supplement insurance plans, and it should be taken annually.
Shingles vaccine should be taken especially by the seniors who didn’t have chickenpox when they were kids. Shingles is caused by the same virus, and getting infected later in life would make the illness much more unpleasant for the patient, who will develop a painful rash. Unfortunately, that’s not all – other symptoms include fever and lack of appetite. That’s why it is dangerous for the elderly – their bodies are already weakened by age. If they are feverish and don’t consume enough nutrients, it might be just too much for their bodies. Although the shingles vaccine is covered by Medicare, there is, unfortunately, also an out of pocket cost. It’s best to contact your insurer directly or check Medical Resources, as the required amount varies, depending on the health plan.
There is a reason why in the United States, in 2018, 68.9% of adults aged 65 and over got a pneumonia shot. This lung infection is about twice as deadly as the flu, especially when it comes to the seniors. There are a variety of factors that could cause it – bacteria, viruses, but also fungi. In the past, it was enough to receive one shot, though unfortunately, the bacteria have evolved. Now, it is advised to take two pneumonia shots, taken at least 6 months apart. With the majority of health insurance plans, the pneumonia vaccine is covered by Medicare, though it’s best to contact your insurer to make sure. Also, remember that you will receive only one shot of both types for free.
Tetanus is another infection that targets older people. Why? It is caused by the bacteria in your deep skin tissue, that could get there because of an injury. Unfortunately, seniors are also prone to neuropathy, which means that they might not feel that they were hurt. If they don’t feel the pain, they might not react in time, which could sometimes have tragic consequences. It could impair the functioning of the muscles, and lead to problems with breathing. Thankfully, it is partially covered by Medicare, though it isn’t absolutely free. Seniors that suffer from neuropathy, but also other medical conditions that could make it more difficult for them to notice bruises on their bodies should be especially encouraged to take tetanus shots. With the help of the vaccine, it is an easily preventable disease.
Vaccines save lives!
There’s an old saying “prevention is better than cure”. It is especially relevant when it comes to the seniors. Their immune systems aren’t as good at fighting off the diseases as they were when they were younger. It means that vaccines can save their lives. Thankfully, many of the most important vaccines are covered by Medicare, even if not in their entirety. Life has a way of surprising us at every turn, which is why it’s best to be prepared for whatever may come.