A flu shot is basically a vaccine made to protect people from the influenza virus. The senior flu shot is made precisely for adults 65 years or older. The immune system of seniors is weak due to many factors, including their age. They need more protection as they are more prone to severe flu-related complications due to weakened immune systems. Increasing age reduces immune defenses that lead seniors to be at high risk of flu diseases. Diabetes, obstructive pulmonary disease, or asthma-like chronic diseases can go to the worse stage due to the flu. This is why seniors require senior flu shots instead of regular flu shots. There is a difference between a regular flu shot and a senior flu shot. A senior flu shot is more responsive and effective against the flu virus for elders' immune systems. The vaccine protects the seniors by fighting against the virus by stimulating the production of antibodies. Two flu vaccines are specially made for seniors. It is necessary to consult your doctor to know which senior flu shot should be given to your loved one. The two types are:
High dose Flu VaccineThe high-dose flu vaccine (brand name Fluzone High-Dose) contains four flu strains in which the amount of antigen to cause flu in the coming season is four times that of a regular flu shot. The name shows that the dose is higher, and the higher dose of flu virus antigen makes it more effective for 65 years or older as it is associated with a stronger immune response. Since 2009, a higher dose flu vaccine has been approved for 65 years or older. Study shows that it is highly effective than a regular flu shot. It also has the tendency to reduce the risk of respiratory-related diseases. Hence, it is highly recommended for your 65 years, or older loved one.
Adjuvanted Flu VaccineThe adjuvanted flu vaccine (Fluad; brand name) contains an additive MF59 made with aluminum salts, which generates a stronger immune response than the regular flu shot. It has three different strains but strives better than a standard flu shot in elders. A recent study shows that older people who have received a vaccine made with MF59 had a significantly higher immune response than those who had not received the MF59-adjuvanted vaccine.
How Effective is the Flu Shot for SeniorsThe regular flu shot is less effective than senior flu shots. Senior flu shots are not 100% efficient yet tend to show better results than the standard ones. According to CDC, it is one of the best ways to prevent seasonal flu among elders. It has been estimated that senior flu shots showed a response, and elders who got senior flu shots had 24% lower influenza illnesses than those who took standard flu shots. Research shows that around 40% of flu-related hospitalizations have been lowered among older people due to senior flu vaccines.
Side EffectsThe vaccine is safe and efficient but has mild side effects concerning the body's immune response and inflammation. Once seniors get the vaccine, they may undergo fever, headache, nausea, soreness and swelling at the injection site, and fatigue. The side effects are a little too much in people who have had an autoimmune disease, allergic reaction to a flu shot, or a fever. Therefore, it is necessary to consult the doctor before getting vaccinated.
Importance of Flu Shots Every YearGetting flu vaccines every year prevents you from contracting the seasonal flu. It is the direction of the CDC that 6 months or older get a flu vaccine annually. One good reason to follow the flu vaccine every year is that the vaccines are updated annually to deal with the modifying virus. Another reason is that the immunity decreases against the flu virus over a year, and annual vaccination keeps you protected from the flu virus. Seniors 65 years or older should definitely take flu shots, ideally senior flu shots, because immunity in older age decreases speedily, hence the need for annual flu vaccination to get boosted against the virus. So, if you and your elder loved one have not taken flu vaccination yet, then get vaccinated soon.
Effraim Home Care can help you prevent the flu. Whether it’s helping you or your elderly loved one with caregiving to get ready to go get their flu shot, setting up reminders or helping them stay home with meal preparation assistance, we’re here to help. You can contact us or call us at (215) 826-7422 to find out more about how Effraim Home Care can help you and your elderly loved ones.