Immunizations are essential for prevention against serious life-threatening infections and diseases.
Many illnesses are contagious and can cause serious complications. Influenza is an illness that affects the respiratory system and individuals that catch the flu viruses can develop symptoms that range from mild to severe. Severe complications from the flu can lead to serious health problems and even result in death. Specific groups of people are at a higher risk of developing complications including young children and the elderly. August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month to help raise awareness of preventable diseases and the importance of vaccinations to stay healthy.
Seniors and Influenza
Seniors are more susceptible to the flu virus due to the immune system weakening with age. One of the most common complications of the flu is pneumonia. Symptoms of pneumonia may be treatable at home; however, hospitalization is often required for those with compromised immune systems. Receiving a vaccine for influenza can reduce the chances of developing pneumonia and other illnesses that often occur after having the cold or flu.
The “Flu Shot”
The influenza vaccine can help protect against three types of flu strains that are predicted to be the most commonly spread throughout the upcoming flu season. The viruses used in the flu vaccine may change each year depending on the research and estimation that helps to predict what strains will be the most harmful and widespread. The flu shot contains killed virus and is administered through a needle typically in the upper arm. Shots are approved for individuals six months of age and older.
The three different types of flu shots available include:
- Regular shots approved for those six months and older
- Intradermal flu shots for people ages 18 through 64
- High-dose flu shots recommended for those over the age of 65
Seniors are advised to receive the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their area. A healthcare professional can help determine what type of vaccine is right for an individual. In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, everyday measures such as eating right, getting an adequate amount of exercise and drinking plenty of fluids can also help seniors stay happy and healthy throughout the flu season.