Flu Shots for Seniors: Types, Cost, Side Effects and More
There always seems to be confusion when it comes to whether or not it is a good idea for seniors to get the flu shot. Family members and even seniors themselves are concerned about the benefits versus the risks and reactions.
Flu shots for seniors are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of hospitalizations and deaths during the flu season is a major problem in this age range, and it is vital to help guard your loved one.
Here are some answers to the most pressing questions about the flu shot and seniors.
Does the Flu Shot Give You the Flu?
There is wrong information circulated every flu season that the flu shot can give you the flu. This is not true.
It is true the vaccine does contain inactivated flu viruses, but this does not cause the actual influenza infection to take hold. It is only enough to cause the body to create the antibodies to fight against the real virus.
The immune system’s response takes about two weeks to complete, so it is possible to be infected during that period and still get the flu shortly after taking the shot.
However, the most important thing to remember is that the flu shot does NOT cause the flu.
What About Egg Allergies?
Certain flu shots do use antigens as the active ingredient to jump-start the immune system. It is common for some antigens to be grown in eggs and other animal cells.
This is a concern for those who have an egg allergy. It is important to note, however, that there are other options available. If you, or your loved one, is allergic to eggs, please talk to your doctor before getting the flu shot and discuss the best way to proceed.
Reactions To The Flu Shot
It is very rare to have a severe reaction to a flu shot. As always, if any type of major discomfort or reaction does occur, seek medical help immediately.
The most common reactions are redness, pain, and swelling at the site of the injection. Some also experience a slight fever or aches. If the vaccine is administered as a nasal spray, you may experience a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or even a headache.
These reactions are typically mild and do not last very long.
Flu Shots for Seniors – When Not to Get One
It is suggested, due to certain health concerns, that some people avoid getting the flu vaccine, or talk with their doctor first.
If there was an allergic reaction to a previous flu shot, consult your doctor before getting it again. If someone is already sick, many doctors advice to wait until fully recovered before going to get your flu shot.
Anyone with a history of GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) is advised against receiving the flu shot due to the rare, but potentially dangerous, reaction it could cause.
Individuals who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma should only have the flu shot after discussing the potential complications with their doctor.
Getting the flu shot is good advice for all ages, but especially seniors.
The risk of complications from the flu far outweigh the potential reactions caused by the injection. Make sure to take advantage of this potentially life-saving vaccine.
For more information on our services for seniors, please contact us today.