Saving Seniors From The Flu
Read Time: 3 minutes The 2017/2018 flu season was particularly rough, with a near 80,000 flu-related deaths in America. Despite over 150 million flu vaccines distributed, the strong H3N2 virus was still able to kill thousands. Almost 60% of Americans hospitalized were aged 65 and over. Flu shots for seniors become increasingly important.
Outsmarting the flu virus
The influenza virus continues to evolve year over year. And each year, scientists try to predict the strain and create an appropriate vaccine. Even with a successful prediction, persons of all ages get about a 40-60% protection rate. Seniors must keep this in mind, as immune systems have an integral part to play in the effectiveness of vaccines.
Lacking in defense
With age, the immune system, like bones and muscles, becomes considerably weaker creating fewer antibodies. Seniors, therefore, are more likely to contract the flu virus compared to younger adults. In fact, the age group is the most susceptible to the virus. Flu shots provide an extra line of defense. For seniors dealing with diseases like heart disease or asthma, the flu can cause severe complications.
Stronger flu shots for seniors
Medical practitioners have become more concerned with the weakened immune system of seniors. With that in mind, these professionals created special vaccines to compensate. The vaccines have several times more antigens than traditional vaccines. So seniors can now produce antibodies to make up for weakened immune systems. Persons over 65 can take standard flu shots. But, a New England study revealed high dose vaccines as 24% more effective than standard shots.
Shots are scary, regardless of age
The biggest difficulty encountered by elders is the willingness to take the vaccine. Flu shots make senior citizens skeptical. They believe the shot will be ineffective or get them sick. Needles are just unnerving to others. But getting a flu shot, especially for seniors can be the difference between life and death. A study on nursing homes showed a reduced rate of infection for homes who administered the shot.
Prevention is better than cure
Immune systems combat diseases like the flu. But with a weakened immune system, flu shots can keep seniors safe during the upcoming flu season. Seniors continue to have the highest hospitalization rate for flu per 100,000. If taking the flu shot is a concern, persons around the elderly can protect them by getting a shot. Check in with a doctor for advice on the best vaccine for seniors. Flu shots for seniors may avoid a serious bout of flu and even keep prevent fatal complications.