Avoid the Fall flu – Why flu shots are so important for seniors
It is a widely recognized fact that the flu can be extremely dangerous. But, as people age, the body’s natural immune system weakens, and viruses like the flu can be deadly. People 65 and older are at a much greater risk of developing complications from the flu than younger adults. In fact, the CDC has reported that in recent years, an estimated 70-90 percent of flu-related deaths occurred in people 65 years of age or older.
With these statistics, flu shots are obviously detrimental to the well-being of our aging community.
What Does The Flu Shot Do?
The flu shot, or flu vaccine, create the development of antibodies in the body. Because compromised and weak immune systems have trouble developing and fighting off viruses, the vaccine helps build those antibodies to assist the body in protecting against infection. The flu vaccine also protects against more than just one strain of the flu virus which can aid in the protection against 3 to 4 different types of flu viruses.
Flu vaccinations are also “updated” each season. The flu virus changes often and it’s important for the flu vaccine to keep up with the most current strain of the flu virus. The immunity of the flu vaccine does decrease over a year, so regular, annual flu shots are the best source of protection against the flu.
In the past, the flu vaccine has proven to reduce serious problems related to the flu virus. The flu vaccine has shown to reduce the illnesses that lead to hospitalization and death. The CDC encourages the aging community to get a flu shot every year, before the end of October.
Different Flu Shots To Meet Your Needs
The 65 and older-aged community should not rely on the nasal spray flu vaccine. Currently, there are two vaccines that are specifically made and approved for this age group, but the regular flu shot is an approved choice of flu vaccine. The 65 and older age group can choose whichever flu shot they prefer provided that it is approved for their age group.
Are There Side-Effects?
Mild side effects are reported for the high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines. These side effects might include:
- Headaches and muscle aches
- Swelling, redness, and/or pain at the injection site
Every flu season is different, and the influenza infection doesn’t affect every person the same way. Millions of people are diagnosed with the flu every year, many of which can avoid serious complications, hospitalization, and even death by receiving a yearly flu shot. If you aren’t sure where and when to get your flu shot, check with your doctor or local health department. The flu shot is offered throughout the flu season. You can also check in with a local pharmacy or an urgent care clinic.
Remember, the flu vaccine does not work immediately. It can take about two weeks for the antibodies in the vaccine to build up. Be sure you get your flu shot earlier in the season to prevent infection from happening early on.