As a senior, you are probably asked every fall or winter whether you have already received the flu shot, which vaccinates you against influenza. You may see this vaccination advertised at your local clinic, on the local news, and in area pharmacies. However, because there is a lot of confusion on this subject, you may not know if it is appropriate for you, if it is safe or if it works. Here are some answers to your most pressing questions.
Rumors & Myth Surrounding Flu Shots
You may have heard that the influenza vaccine does not really work. It is true that it may not completely protect you from contracting influenza. However, the vaccine can limit the symptoms that you will have if you get sick and has been shown to decrease your chances of hospitalization or death from influenza. In fact, up to 85 percent of flu-related deaths have occurred in those older than 65.
Another concern you may have is that you have waited too long to get a flu shot. Many pharmacies begin advertising them in September or October. However, some immunologists actually suggest that those over the age of 65 wait until November to get their shots to increase levels of immunity during the worst part of the flu season between January and April. December and January in many instances are not considered late by most doctors.
Of course, as with all questions that affect your health, you should check with your respected health care provider to determine what is right for your health. He or she will have the most up-to-date information about this year’s flu vaccine, the medications that you are on and your overall health. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu vaccine is important for most people across the United States and is particularly vital for people over the age of 65 to receive. Even though it is already December, you can protect yourself and those you love from horrible flu symptoms and dangerous hospitalizations by doing your part to get vaccinated as soon as possible.