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Should Seniors Get The Flu Vaccine?

November 1, 2016

 

     Seniors are at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus infections, and therefore it is advisable for seniors to get a yearly flu vaccine.  There are some reactions that you could develop from the vaccine such as pain, soreness, redness along with headaches, muscle aches, and general malaise feelings.  These reactions are much less severe than suffering from complications of being infected with the influenza (flu) virus.

     It is imperative to receive the flu vaccine before the actual flu season starts, because the vaccine may take up to 2 weeks to fully protect you against the influenza virus.  Flu season is typically between October and May.  This time period is considered flu season due to the actual number of people that will get infected with the flu.

     There are other ways to help prevent becoming infected with the flu.  Practicing safety precautions such as good hand washing, discarding used tissues, and coughing or sneezing into your sleeve are excellent preventative measures.  Staying at home when you are ill and may have a weakened immune system may also protect you against becoming infected with the flu.  But the best preventative measure against getting the flu is getting the flu vaccine before the flu season begins.

     There are people who are at a higher risk for developing the flu.  Elderly people over the age of 65 who have a weakened immune system, people that suffer from asthma or cystic fibrosis, chronic lung diseases like COPD or congestive heart failure are at risk for developing complications from the flu.  Pregnant women and children under the age of 5 are additionally considered to be at a higher risk for developing complications from the flu.  Anyone who has a compromised immune system should consider getting the flu vaccine before flu season begins.

     It is possible, however, to develop the flu even if you have been vaccinated.  If you are exposed to the flu before you get the flu vaccine, you may become infected.  Remember, it takes 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine to become fully protected.  Additionally, the flu vaccine does not protect against all of the flu strains.  Each year, a new vaccine is developed to only include the most popular strains of the virus.  The flu vaccine may not always be effective, but it is the best way to prevent becoming infected with the flu.

     

 

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