Flu shot: Why it is important for seniors

What is Influenza?

Influenza is an infection of the upper airway caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, tiredness and sore throat.

How does Influenza spread?

Seasonal flu can be sneaky and is known to spread by mucus droplets from a cough, sneeze or, even, talking if there is proximity between people. It is not generally airborne over more than a few feet. It can be acquired from touching a contaminated surface and then transferring it to your own nose or mouth.

What is an Influenza Vaccine or flu shot?

The influenza vaccination is one of the most important health measures that saves lives throughout the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), immunization saves three million lives, worldwide, annually and it’s a proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening diseases. In industrialized countries, most deaths associated with influenza occur among people 65 years of age or older.

The vaccine is a safe and efficient way to prevent the spread of the virus. The vaccine stimulates the immune system so that it produces antibodies that prevent illness. This immunization helps the immune system build up resistance to the virus. As people get older, they may be at higher risk of complications from influenza. Therefore, seniors are advised to get an influenza vaccine or flu shot.

What are the side effects of the influenza or flu shot?

As with any medical procedure, immunization has some risks. Seniors may react differently to vaccines. When considering immunization, both the risks and the benefits should be discussed with a qualified health care provider. The benefits of immunization are substantial and well documented. Seniors may also be at risk earlier or for longer periods of time than healthy people with no chronic medical problems. Symptoms include fever, headache and aching muscles. These symptoms are less severe and last shorter than the influenza infection.

When should seniors get the influenza or flu shot?

It is important to get the vaccine before the flu season begins. This season typically starts at the beginning of October and last until the end of April.

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