There’s a lot of talk right now in the news about vaccines, thanks to the fact that a COVID vaccine is in development. While you might not be able to get vaccinated against COVID yet, there is a seasonal vaccine that you should be getting: the flu vaccine. At Piedmont HomeHealth, we know how important it is to take the necessary measures to prevent illness, and a flu vaccine is a simple, easy way to help safeguard your health.
Why is it important for senior citizens to get a flu shot?
The Risk Factor — People over the age of 65 are at a high risk of developing complications from the flu. This is because as you age, your immune system is slower to respond. The body produces fewer white blood cells capable of responding to new antibodies and attack. Getting a flu vaccine helps boost those antigens needed to fight off the virus.
COVID — This year it’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccine in order to reduce the burden on hospitals from flu patients. With the COVID-19 virus still active in the state of North Carolina, it’s important to conserve the resources in our medical communities to care for people with COVID-19. During the 2019-2020 flu season it’s estimated that around 410,000 Americans were hospitalized with flu symptom, yet only about half of Americans got the flu vaccine. Let’s help keep the number of hospitalizations down by getting the number of those vaccinated up.
Types and Timing
There are two types of vaccines designed specifically for people age 65 and older. One is the high-dose vaccine, which contains four times the amount of antigen as the regular flu vaccine. Available since 2009, this vaccine contains more of the activated virus that promotes a protective immune response in the body, and for people over 65 who received this vaccine they showed 24% fewer flu illnesses than those who had the standard shot. The other type of vaccine was introduced in 216, and is call the adjuvented flu vaccine. This is made with MF59 adjuvent an additive that can create a stronger response to a vaccination.
The CDC recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October, for two reasons. First, you want to have the shot soon enough so that it is effective before flu season ramps up in your area. It takes about two weeks after the vaccine for the body to develop enough antibodies to help ward off illness. Second, the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time. As flu season can last into spring, you don’t want to get the shot too early.
Our trained staff at Piedmont HomeHealth is well equipped to help you plan for and receive your flu vaccine. We can help you find the best time to get vaccinated, understand your choices in the types of vaccines available, and even schedule an appointment and get you to the location to receive your flu shot.
Make plans now to get your vaccine. And as always, continue to wash your hands often and stay away from anyone who is sick.