It has long been said that people over the age of 65 face a greater risk for complications associated with the flu. But there are certain actions seniors can take to prepare for flu season, including getting the high dose flu vaccine.
Here are some actions seniors can take this flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Get the Flu Shot
The most obvious and best way to prevent the flu is getting the flu shot. Vaccination is particularly important for those 65 and older, since immune systems grow weaker with age. Each year, the vaccine is updated to keep up with changing viruses. There are two types of vaccines recommended specifically for seniors, according to the CDC:
– High dose flu vaccine: This vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen as the regular flu shot and is associated with a higher antibody production after the shot. In fact, adults over the age of 65 who received the high dose flu vaccine had 24% fewer influenza infections as compared to those receiving the standard dose, according to a clinical trial.
– Adjuvanted flu vaccine: This vaccine was also developed to create a stronger immune response to vaccination, and became available for the first time in the United States during the 2016-17 flu season.
It should be noted that the high dose flu vaccine and the adjuvanted flu vaccine can lead to more of the mild side effects that occur with standard doses. These may include pain, headache and muscle ache.
Do Your Part to Stay Healthy
One of the most crucial things seniors can do to prepare for flu season is to practice good health habits. This means doing your best to keep germs from spreading, such as covering coughs and washing hands often. At The Clare, in particular, residents who don’t feel well should consider having dinner delivered to their units and being conscious about going to community lectures and events.
Go to the Doctor
Seniors who begin to develop flu symptoms should seek medical advice as soon as possible. Such symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue. Treatment may come in the form of antiviral drugs. Their benefit is most significant when treatment begins within two days of the illness arising.
Consider Pneumococcal Vaccines
Since pneumonia is serious flu-related complication for seniors, getting pneumococcal vaccination should be considered. The vaccine aims to prevent against pneumonia, meningitis and bloodstream infections. Consult with a medical provider to determine the best vaccine for individual health needs.