Winter Flu Shots

Each year influenza affects 9-60 million Americans, causes between 140,000-710,100 hospitalizations, and results in 12,000-56,000 deaths.

It’s no secret that seniors pose a high risk for contracting the flu as their immune systems are weaker. They can suffer more serious complications from the virus than their younger counterparts–which is why it’s so detrimental to get a flu shot. Studies have shown that vaccinations from the flu are indeed effective in reducing the amount of doctor visits and hospitalizations as a result of the flu.

SENIORS AND FLU SHOTS

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months receive a flu shot. Only those who are allergic to the vaccination’s ingredients, or eggs, are warned to not get a flu shot. All seniors 65 and older are more vulnerable. They are at a higher risk for complications from the flu, especially those who suffer from:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Cardiac problems
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney or liver disease
  • Strokes or other neurological problems

Specific flu vaccinations are given to those over age 65 to help protect them from getting the flu. There are two vaccines developed specifically for people in this age category: High Dose Flu Vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose), and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine (Fluad).

High Dose Flu Vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose) has four times the amount of antigens than a regular flu shot, helping the immune system to respond better and take action, and has been around for about a decade. Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine creates a stronger immune response and was first used in 2016. Talk to your doctor about what the best vaccination for you will be.

SIDE EFFECTS

Senior flu shots have been administered for over ten years, and are very safe. Any potential side effects are, for the most part, fairly mild. Some possible side effects may include fever and soreness/pain at the injection site during the week after vaccination, headaches, muscle aches, and swelling. However, these side effects usually pass quickly and only lasts one to three days.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GET A FLU SHOT

People all over argue on when the best time to get a flu shot is. Some claim that the earlier you get it, the better. Others debate that if received too early, the antibodies could wear off come flu season. However, one factor remains constant: it is necessary to get a flu shot if you want to try to avoid getting the flu. As long as flu viruses are still circulating, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

FLU PREVENTION

While getting a flu shot is the number one way to prevent contracting the flu, there are some other ways to assist you in staving off this virus. The CDC strongly recommends getting vaccinated every year in addition to practicing good hygiene to prevent the spreading of germs. Here are some other tips to keep you healthy:

  • Wash your hands often, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid hand contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Stay home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, aches, chills, headache, vomiting)
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing
  • Avoid those who have been sick for at least five-seven days after they become sick.
  • Get both types of pneumococcal vaccines (helps prevent pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections)
  • Practice healthy eating
  • Stay physically active
  • Get sufficient sleep

Getting a flu shot is a no-brainer. If you are over 65 and you haven’t gotten one yet, talk to your doctor today. Medicare covers these life-saving vaccinations. At Aegis, our medical staff understands the importance of these shots. Let us help you live your life!

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