People commonly underestimate the impact that the flu can have on elderly individuals. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that the flu causes as least 3,000 deaths per flu-season in the US. Individuals aged 65 and older make up 90% of these cases. Furthermore, people aged 65 years and older account for 50-60% of seasonal flu hospitalizations. In short, people in this age bracket should not take the flu lightly.
Flu season typically begins in early October and can run as late as May. However, the number of cases typically decreases by spring. During prime season, the influenza virus spreads rapidly, making everyone more susceptible to catching it. However, people over 65 years old are at a higher risk for complications from the flu.
Why Seniors Are More at Risk from the Flu
Age weakens our immune systems. This means as you get older, it becomes more difficult to fight off infections and illnesses. In order to compensate for a worn out immune system, doctors have developed a vaccine specifically for seniors.
How the Flu Vaccine Works
Vaccines introduce a dormant virus into your immune system to prompt the creation of antibodies. In other words, they instruct your body to build a preemptive layer of defense against a specific illness.
If you catch the flu after being vaccinated, these antibodies are ready to attack and neutralize the virus, minimizing its impact.
High-dose Influenza Vaccine for Seniors
As previously mentioned, there is also a flu vaccine engineered for seniors known as the Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal influenza vaccine. This vaccine is injected into individuals age 65 or older to protect them against circulating flu strains.
The Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen than the normal flu shot, which increases the production of antibodies. Scientists created this vaccine to give highly susceptible individuals a more robust immune response to the flu virus.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid becoming a statistic. Flu vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available. Nearly every insurance plan covers them, including Medicare.
What are you waiting for? Go get your flu vaccine and enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season!
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