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Getting an annual flu vaccine is essential for minimizing the severity and spread of respiratory illnesses. In the current situation, where the flu, RSV, and Covid-19 are circulating simultaneously during the fall and winter seasons, getting vaccinated is more crucial than ever before.
For older adults aged 65 and older, who are at a higher risk of hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from flu and Covid-19, flu vaccination is particularly critical.
We have compiled five reasons why it is crucial for seniors to receive a flu shot in order to protect their health.
The flu poses a significant health threat to seniors
Seniors are highly susceptible to flu and can quickly develop severe illness, even leading to death.
However, getting a flu shot significantly reduces the risk of severe illness among older adults.
Furthermore, even if they do contract the flu, having received the flu vaccine beforehand can lessen the severity of their illness and reduce the likelihood of dangerous complications.
Seniors and caregivers face increased vulnerability to the flu
Seniors are particularly susceptible to seasonal flu due to the natural weakening of their immune systems as they age, which is often exacerbated by existing chronic health conditions. Caregivers, on the other hand, face the added challenge of chronic stress from caring for their older adults, which can compromise their own immune systems and make them more susceptible to illness. Additionally, spending significant amounts of time with older adults increases the risk of passing germs back and forth between them.
By getting a flu shot, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling sick and potentially infecting your senior loved one. Not only does this protect them, but it also saves you from the distress of being unwell while continuing to provide care.
Reduce your risk and severity of the flu by getting the flu shot
Even though the flu vaccine may not provide complete protection, it is still highly beneficial.
Studies have proven that individuals who receive the flu vaccine and still contract the flu will experience a less severe case.
Individuals who are 65 years and older face a higher risk of serious flu complications and are responsible for the majority of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths annually.
However, seniors who have received the flu shot have significantly reduced their chances of being hospitalized due to the flu by 40 to 60%.
Receive the flu shot at no cost with Medicare coverage
If an older adult is enrolled in Medicare, they can receive the flu shot at no cost, as long as the healthcare provider accepts Medicare. There is no need for any co-insurance or co-payment, and your older adult does not have to meet their deductible to receive the vaccine.
Additionally, many private insurance companies cover flu shots as a preventive service. If you or an senior loved one does not have insurance, there are various drugstores and clinics that offer flu shots at affordable prices.
Protect yourself from life-threatening flu complications
Pneumonia, a severe and potentially fatal complication of the flu, is a serious concern. If you are over the age of 65, a smoker, or have diabetes or lung problems, it is important to consider getting a pneumococcal vaccination in addition to the flu shot.
Remember, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be taken every year, so consult with your older adult’s doctor to determine if they require one this year.
The Perfect Time for Seniors to Get Their Flu Shot
As flu and Covid-19 continue to circulate, it is highly recommended by the CDC that individuals, especially those over the age of 65, get vaccinated during the months of September and October. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October to ensure maximum protection.
Once vaccinated, it takes approximately 2 weeks for the body to develop the necessary flu antibodies for defense. By getting vaccinated as soon as possible, both you and your older adult will gain protection against the flu sooner.
It is important to note that experts unanimously agree that receiving the flu shot at any time is far superior to not getting vaccinated at all.
Looking for more information on the flu? Look no further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the latest updates on the flu and flu shots from a reliable and trustworthy source, explore the CDC’s Flu Info page. Discover the exciting advancements for the 2023-2024 flu season, explore the various types of vaccinations available, and uncover more valuable information.