What Adults Over 50 Should Know About the Flu Vaccine
The idea of influenza vaccination may create images of children stopped on a stool in the doctor’s office, but vaccination is just as important for older people as it is for young people. Although the CDC recommends influenza vaccination for people over six months of age, they are especially important for older people.
This group is at high risk for serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
The problem is that many older people are not sure if they need a flu shot. “The most common misconception is that it doesn’t work,” said Amesh Adala, an infectious disease physician and senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security.
The flu shot can save your life
While it is true that the influenza vaccine is not one of the most effective vaccines, it is the primary means of preventing influenza. According to the CDC, people aged 65 and older account for about 70-90% of seasonal flu deaths and 50-70% of flu-related hospitalizations. It should also be noted that the risk of developing severe COVID-19 increases with age. According to the CDC, people in their 50s are at greater risk than those in their 40s, and people between the ages of 60 and 70 are more likely to develop serious illnesses than people in their 50s.
Why? Your immune system weakens as you age, reducing your ability to fight viruses and recover from illness. Also, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reported that older people likely suffer from diseases such as diabetes, COPD, and cancer, which lower their immunity and increase their risk of influenza.
The selected vaccine may have additional side effects
According to the CDC, high doses of flu vaccines and adjuvants can cause more side effects than standard vaccines. These can include pain, redness, swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle pain, and a decreased interest in normal activities. Dr. Glatt hears most often that patients complain of pain that may last for several days. It’s important to remember that the flu vaccine doesn’t cause flu – if you get sick after immunization, you’re likely already incubating the disease.
The flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19
While health officials have repeatedly stressed the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu, especially this year, it won’t stop you from getting COVID-19. However, it can lower your risk of getting the flu, a serious flu attack, or a serious COVID-19 flu attack.
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