Aches, pains, fever, stuffy nose and fatigue are symptoms with which we are all familiar. Flu season is coming.
After the age of 65, you aren’t more susceptible to flu, contrary to popular opinion. You are, however, far more likely to experience complications. Tens of thousands of seniors are hospitalized and influenza is the trigger. Complications can include pneumonia, falls, and medication interactions. These can be serious life disrupters and potentially deadly.
Your best hope for avoiding complications is to avoid the flu in the first place.
Everyone should get a flu vaccine. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommend a high dose flu vaccine for people over 65.
Each year a new flu vaccine is available. The vaccine is designed to protect you from three or four of the most common strains of flu. The specific strains are those predicted by the CDC to be the most common and/or dangerous strains.
Risks of Vaccination
Today vaccination risks are extremely small. The most common side effects are pain or redness around the injection site.
Some people are allergic to the vaccine, however this is rare, less than 1 in 10,000. Allergic reactions are also typically minor and treatable.
People with egg allergies (strains are cultivated using eggs) should request a special egg-free vaccine.
Vaccines no longer use “live virus”. In the past some vaccinations used actual viruses to trigger the body’s own immune system. Today, however, vaccines do not expose the body to the actual virus.
Vaccines are available through your doctor’s office, many clinics and pharmacies. In times of a vaccine shortage, seniors are given the preferential treatment. You should not have problems obtaining the vaccine.
Lastly, annual Influenza vaccines are covered by Medicare and virtually all insurance policies.