My MedlinePlus Weekly Newsletter: What Older Adults Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

My MedlinePlus

March 3, 2021

Senior woman wearing a facemask receiving an injection from a female health professional wearing a mask

What Older Adults Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. This is why the CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older are one of the first groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Getting a vaccine is an important step to help prevent getting sick from COVID-19.

The CDC makes recommendations for who should get the vaccine first, then each state makes its own plan. Follow these tips for how to get a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Check your state or territory health department website for more information about getting the vaccine in your state.
  • Ask a family member or friend to help with scheduling an appointment.
  • Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or community health center if they plan to provide vaccines and ask them to let you know when vaccines are available.

Find more information on COVID-19 vaccines for older adults and information about Medicare and COVID-19 vaccines.


Colorectal Cancer

In the United States, colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of death due to cancer. Early diagnosis can often lead to a complete cure. Because you may not have symptoms at first, it's important to have screening tests. Everyone over 50 should get screened. Tests include colonoscopy and tests for blood in the stool. Treatments for colorectal cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination. However, surgery can usually cure it when it is found early.

You have a higher risk for colon cancer if you:

  • Are older than 50
  • Are African American or of eastern European descent
  • Eat a lot of red or processed meats
  • Have colorectal polyps
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Have a family history of colon cancer

Learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, screening, and treatment.


Getting Enough Protein From Plant-Based Diets

Your body needs protein from the foods you eat to build and maintain bones, muscles, and skin. Protein foods are broken down into parts called amino acids during digestion. The human body needs a number of amino acids in large enough amounts to maintain good health. Amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs. If you eat a plant-based diet, you can get protein from sources like soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains (such as wheat germ and quinoa). You don't need to eat animal products to get all the protein you need in your diet. Learn more about dietary protein.


Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common birth defect in the United States and a baby can be affected by one or both.

Cleft Lip:
A cleft lip happens if the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth. This causes an opening in the upper lip that be a small slit or a larger opening that goes through the lip into the nose. It can be on one or both sides of the lip or, rarely, in the middle of the lip. Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate.

Cleft Palate:
In children who have a cleft palate, the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth, or palate, does not join correctly. Babies may have both the front and back parts of the palate open, or they may have only one part open.

Often, surgery can close the lip and palate. Cleft lip surgery is usually done before age 12 months and cleft palate surgery is done before 18 months. Some children have other complications and may need additional surgeries, dental and orthodontic care, and speech therapy as they get older. With treatment, most children with clefts do well and lead a healthy life.


What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is a small evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The root and berry are used to make medicine. Ashwagandha is commonly used for stress and also as an "adaptogen" for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses. ("Adaptogen" is a non-medical term used to describe compounds that might improve resistance to stress.)

Learn about the effectiveness of Ashwagandha, and its interactions with other medications and foods.


Salmon Patties

Eating salmon can help you add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. This quick and easy recipe for salmon patties uses canned salmon, but for a lower sodium version use fresh salmon.