28 Jan Why Flu Shots are Important for Seniors
The flu virus is not something to be taken lightly, especially if you’re a senior. A simple vaccination can help prevent serious complications like high fevers, respiratory issues, bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues, and multi-organ failure. These complications can occur with anybody, however, they are more likely to happen to older individuals, or those suffering from chronic medical conditions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests all people 65 and older receive an annual flu shot, preferably in the fall as it takes roughly two weeks for the antibodies in the vaccination to protect the body. If you or your senior loved one hasn’t received their vaccination yet, it’s not too late as the flu can be apparent year round. Flu season can start as early as October and continue into May. The worst part of the flu season occurs from January to April, so take action now if you have forgotten to get one during the holidays.
Hospitalizations and Deaths from Influenza
Some people avoid getting the flu shot because of its inconvenience. Others rationalize that the flu isn’t very harmful. And some believe that they only time they get sick with the flu, is after they receive a vaccination for one. Whatever your reason for avoiding a flu shot, know that you are more protected with one. Take a look at these statistics from the CDC:
- Around 85 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred in seniors over the age of 65.
- The timing of flu is unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season.
- The flu has resulted in between 9.3 million and 49 million illnesses each year in the United States since 2010.
- Since 2010, the CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 140,000 and 960,000 hospitalizations each year.
- CDC estimates that from 2010-2011 to 2017-2018, influenza-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of 12,000 (during 2011-2012) to a high of 79,000 (during 2017-2018).
Vaccinating for Seniors
To better protect seniors more susceptible to the influenza virus, Fluzone High-Dose is given to people ages 65 and older. This vaccine is different than a regular flu shot and contains four times the antigen than a standard dose. It helps aging adults develop a stronger immune response to guard against the flu. Talk with your doctor about getting one if you are a senior over age 65.
Preventative Care Tips
While it is possible to still get the flu even after getting a flu shot, it is best to guard against it by taking the following precautions:
- Avoid being near sick people as the flu is very contagious
- Wash your hands regularly to prevent the spreading of germs
- If you contract the flu, stay home to avoid getting others sick, especially young children and those with chronic conditions as they are more susceptible.
- If you get the flu, there are numerous drugs on the market that can help treat it. Contact your doctor immediately.
It is impossible for anyone to fully anticipate what the flu season will be like from year to year. The timing, severity, and length of it will fluctuate as the virus spreads across the country. It is best to get a flu shot annually to guard against the harmful effects from contracting the flu.
Aegis Home & Hospice Care strives for the best quality of care for your aging loved one. Talk to us today about how we can help by calling 480-219-4790.
Download the following printable on Cold and Flu prevention basics: