Every year, the arrival of October marks the beginning of flu season. This is the time of year when your risks for being infected with the contagious disease influenza go up. The flu has some potentially serious consequences, especially for seniors. That means that, as part of seniors’ five dimensions of wellness, an annual flu shot is a major priority.
At Wickshire Senior Living, we help ensure that all of our residents enjoy easy access to flu vaccination. This effort falls in line with our larger goal of promoting your health and well-being throughout the year. Here are three specific reasons why a senior flu shot provides you with needed health protection.
What Is a Senior Flu Shot?
First, what exactly is a senior flu shot, and how does it differ from other shots? Every year, scientists develop flu vaccines for different population groups. They do this because specific groups respond better to specific vaccine formulas. Two types of vaccines are made to meet the unique needs of seniors:
- High-dose flu vaccine
- Adjuvanted flu vaccine
The high-dose vaccine gets its name because it has four times the active ingredients of a regular flu shot. This more potent dose triggers a more robust immune response in your body. As a result, it helps provide seniors with a higher level of flu protection. The adjuvanted vaccine contains an added ingredient called MF59 adjuvant. This extra ingredient also typically produces a stronger immune response for seniors.
Flu Shots for Seniors, Reason #1: Protecting Seniors’ Weaker Immune Systems
As you get older, your immune system tends to weaken. The result of this weakened response is a greater susceptibility to contagious diseases like the flu. You also become more susceptible to secondary infections that can occur alongside the flu. Infections of this type may include:
- Some form of pneumonia
- The lung ailment bronchitis
- Infected sinuses
- Ear infections
By getting a senior flu shot, you help keep your immune system strong enough to protect you.
Flu Shots for Seniors, Reason #2: Decreasing the Severity of Breakthrough Flu
If you’re vaccinated for the flu, you can still get sick. Experts refer to this form of the illness as breakthrough flu. Just like other cases of the flu, breakthrough cases can lead to serious health problems. That’s a distinct possibility for high-risk groups like seniors. A senior flu shot may protect you from the worst effects of breakthrough infection. It does so by helping your immune system keep your flu symptoms under control.
Flu Shots for Seniors, Reason #3: Preventing Severe or Fatal Flu Complications
In a worst-case scenario, a bout of the flu can lead to severe complications or even death. More than any other population group, seniors are at risk for severe complications. People over the age of 65 account for as many as 7 out of 10 hospitalizations for seasonal flu. What’s more, seniors account for up to 85% of all deaths linked to this illness.
By boosting your immune response, a senior flu shot helps make such dire outcomes less likely. This protection can do more than bring you peace of mind. If worse comes to worst, it may also save your life.