Should Seniors Get the Flu Vaccine?
Preparing for the 2023 Flu Season
Every year, we experience the general flu season, lasting from approximately October through as late as May. However, over the past few years, with COVID precautions like mask wearing and social distancing in place, the season was mild. This year, with many of those precautions no longer in place, reports suggest that the flu season will be more severe.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week to highlight the importance of flu vaccination. In the past decade, as of December 2020, the CDC reported the flu vaccine prevented 50,900,000 flu illnesses, 719,000 flu hospitalizations, and 60,000 flu deaths—and those numbers have only grown in the last two years.
Symptoms of the Flu
- Similar to the common cold (sneezing, cough, sore throat, chest discomfort)
- Usually have a quicker onset
- Can be more severe than a cold
- Can include fever, body aches, chills, headaches, and fatigue
What can you do to prepare?
Experts agree that now is the time—if you haven’t already—to get your flu shot.
According to Kathleen Cameron, the Senior Director of the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging, older adults with underlying conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease, are more likely to develop life-threatening complications from the flu virus. Part of this increased risk is simply due to a declining immune response as you age.
It is also important to note that you cannot get the flu from the flu shot. The vaccine is made from an inactive (or dead) virus that cannot cause an influenza infection. You may experience mild side effects from the flu vaccine that can feel like the flu, but those symptoms will be brief and dissipate after a day or so.
If you have not received your flu shot yet this year, we strongly encourage you to speak to your primary physician and discuss the vaccination. We want all of our seniors to stay healthy through the ongoing flu season. Let us know if you have any questions.