Seniors and small children face a harder time during the flu season. At times, seniors can be hospitalized when flu symptoms get out of hand. It’s important to get the flu vaccine, but it’s nearly equally important that seniors get their vaccine sooner rather than later for a few reasons. Let’s explore those reasons.
Seniors Are More at Risk for the Flu
Seniors tend to have a few issues that affect their health. Because of this, they usually have a weakened immune system. This can be the result from health problems, but other factors cause issues for a weakened immune system. For example, a poor circulation or ongoing ailment can cause issues for a senior’s immune system. Other things, like stress, can decrease the effectiveness of an immune system. Another issue comes with age. You can do things to boost your immune system, but seniors are more likely to be impacted greatly by the flu anyway.
It Takes a While for the Flu Vaccine to Work
It can take a couple of weeks for the body to build up antibodies to the flu virus exposed to the body by the vaccine. The flu season officially begins in October, and it peaks somewhere around January. However, it can start as early as late August to early September. You don’t want a senior to be hit by the flu before getting a vaccine, and you want ample time for them to build up an immunity to the flu virus, so they can avoid it altogether or not be impacted by it as severely. Several strains can circulate during the year, but protecting them from one strain can help to indirectly prevent them from catching another one because their immune system will be stronger.
Although a vaccine isn’t a sure-fire way to avoid getting the flu, it can help to decrease the symptoms experienced by the flu should a senior catch it. Avoiding harsh symptoms can help to avoid hospitalization and possible fatality. The flu vaccine also helps to protect your heart by up to 36 percent. Helping your immune system to fight one virus efficiently can help prevent getting sick from another virus too. Once your immune system is weakened by anything, including allergies or exposure to mold, you are more susceptible to catching something else. People wouldn’t miss work or school as much if more people were vaccinated, and we could save potentially billions of dollars per year in health costs and lost wages.
Avoid Creating a Possible Epidemic
The more people get sick, the greater amount of other people are going to be sick. Each sick person can infect several people. If people got vaccinated earlier in the season, they could help reduce the chances of others getting sick. It is recommended that everyone over the age of six months get the flu shot annually. If most people got the flu vaccine every year, we’d see less cases of sickness and fatalities every year. This includes small children. This is especially true for high population areas and areas with airports because these areas tend to spread sicknesses quickly from person to person.
If you are a caregiver or provide home care, there are some things you should know. The flu virus mutates, and you can catch it again or different strains of it. In addition to getting the vaccine, try to follow other preventative measures to protect your senior from the flu. Wash hands frequently and avoid frequenting areas where there are a lot of people. Bleach is effective at killing viruses in the home. If you notice your senior has an abnormally high temperature, is breathing rapidly, seems lethargic or shows any other alarming symptoms, seek medical help immediately. The flu is nothing to sneeze at. For more on our senior services, contact Always Best Care today at (855) 470-2273 for a free care consultation.