Why should seniors vaccinate against the flu?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months and older should vaccinate against the flu yearly, and as soon as the shot becomes available. Contracting influenza over the age of 65 can be extremely serious. According to the CDC, it is estimated that between 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths happen to people aged 65 years and older. The CDC also noted that between 50 and 70 percent of seasonal flu hospitalizations occur among the same age group. Due to the high risk of complications in seniors it is paramount to follow the CDC’s guidelines and get vaccinated.
The flu virus reduces the body’s ability to fight other infection, especially in seniors. One of the most common complications from the virus in seniors is bacterial pneumonia. For those that already have heart or lung related illnesses the complications can sometimes be fatal.
Adults over the age of 65 have two flu vaccine options available. The first is a regular dose flu shot and the second is a newer version that has been specifically formulated for those aged 65 and older. The newer vaccine has four times the amount of virus as the regular shot and has been seen to have a higher immune response afterwards.
In addition to taking the necessary precaution of getting the flu shot, here are some steps to help stay healthy during the winter months:
- Wash hands often and carry a sanitizer for in between washes
- Get recommended dietary allowance of fruits and vegetables
- Stay hydrated, remember to drink 6 – 8 glasses of water daily
- Supplement diet with vitamins, but check with physician first
- Avoid interaction with others who are sick or showing symptoms
- If you develop flu-like symptoms consult with your physician immediately