Did you get your flu shot? Here’s why they’re especially critical for seniors
Posted: 12/2/2019 8:00 AM by
Cold and flu season is among us. More than a nuisance, the flu can be deadly -- especially for seniors. The CDC reports that between 70 and 85 percent of people who die from the flu every year are seniors over the age of 65.
And flu-related deaths among seniors are on the rise. In 2017, more than 12,000 seniors died from the flu. That number is double the total from 2016, and six times the total from 2015-2016.
More seniors receive their flu shots than other age groups (69% of seniors in 2017); however, even with a higher adoption rate, more than 30% of seniors are left unprotected. The numbers are even more alarming in other age groups:
46% for ages 50-64
33% for ages 18-49
48% for ages 17 and under
Nearly everyone should get a flu shot
These deaths are preventable! According to the Centers for Disease Control, everyone age 6 months and older should receive a flu shot each year. While the CDC recommends receiving your flu shot by the end of October, vaccination can continue throughout the flu season. That means it’s not too late for you or your loved one to receive a vaccination.
There are specific instances where a flu shot may not be recommended. Be sure to talk to your or your loved one’s doctor to determine whether a flu shot is appropriate for your health.
Taking a closer look, here are some important reasons you and your senior loved ones should get their flu shot this year:
Flu shots can prevent the onset of the flu
Each year, medical experts predict which flu strains will be the most prevalent during the following flu season. Most often, the vaccination will protect against four specific strains of the flu. That year’s flu shots are established to protect against those strains. This means that the flu shot can help prevent you from becoming sick with the flu altogether.
Seniors may also be advised to receive a higher-dose vaccine for added protection.
Flu shots can also lessen the severity of flu symptoms
Sometimes, the flu shot cannot completely prevent the onset of flu symptoms; however, the protection of your vaccination can lead to reduced severity of symptoms. In these instances, that can mean the difference between feeling under the weather for a few days, and hospitalization (or even, death).
Vaccination can help you prevent spreading the flu
While anyone can have complications from the flu, seniors, small children and those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk for severe complications.
If you’re not at risk, you may think that you do not need a flu shot. However, vaccinating yourself not only protects you, it can prevent the spread of flu strains to those who cannot receive vaccination.
Protect your senior loved ones this flu season.
Vaccination against the flu can prevent serious consequences for your senior loved ones, and your entire family. To learn more about the flu, flu shot, prevention and treatment for seniors over the age of 65, check out this resource from the Centers for Disease Control.