Thursday, September 28, 2023

Stronger Flu Shots For Seniors

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Types Of Flu Shots For People 65 And Older

Lack of flu vaccine tailored for seniors prompts Warren County woman to search high and low for f…

People 65 years and older should get a flu shot, not a nasal spray vaccine. They can get any flu vaccine approved for use in their age group with no preference for any one vaccine over another. There are regular flu shots that are approved for use in people 65 years and older and there also are two vaccines designed specifically for this age group:

High Dose and Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine Side Effects

The high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines may result in more of the temporary, mild side effects that can occur with standard-dose seasonal flu shots. Side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle ache and malaise, and typically resolve with 1 to 3 days.

Recombinant Vaccine

When Is The Best Time To Get A Flu Shot

Its best to get vaccinated before the flu begins to spread in your community. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after getting the flu shot.

However, getting vaccinated too early, like in the summer, may reduce protection against the flu virus. This is why the CDC recommends getting the flu shot early in the fall, right before the flu season begins. Plan to take your aging loved one to get a senior flu shot by the end of October.

Although getting a senior flu shot is a great way to help prevent the flu, also encourage your aging loved one to take these steps to stay healthy:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Pay attention to symptoms, such as a fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, and cough.
  • Practice healthy habits to support immune health and prevent disease.
  • Eat a balanced diet, stay physically active, manage stress, and get plenty of rest.

Original article by A Place for Mom senior content strategist Angelike Gaunt.

Should I Get A Flu Shot

Yes! An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against influenza. Flu vaccines are very safe and help lower the risk of severe illness and death due to the flu. Thats why an annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months, including pregnant people and people with weakened immune systems.

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Why Should I Get Vaccinated

While it would be ideal to keep our bodys defenses as vigorous as they were when we were young, our immune system loses strength as we age.

While the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 monthswith few exceptionsbe vaccinated, those over the age of 50 are especially susceptible to complications from the seasonal flu virus. Residents of nursing homes or other care facilities are also strongly encouraged to get a flu vaccination.

A major flu-related concern for the elderly is the risk of developing pneumonia, which can be fatal if left untreated.

Where Can Seniors Get A Flu Shot

Flu &  People 65 Years and Older

Several locations offer senior flu shots, including doctors offices, local health departments, and pharmacies.

You may be worried about taking your senior relative to get a flu shot this year if COVID-19 is still spreading in your community. However, the CDC says its especially important for seniors and others who are at increased risk for flu complications to get vaccinated.

There are certain steps your loved one can take to stay safe when going to get the flu shot:

  • Wear a mask to the vaccine appointment.
  • If your loved one has a fever, hold off on vaccinating them until theyre feeling better.
  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

View CDC guidelines for more information on protecting yourself and senior relatives from the seasonal flu as well as COVID-19.

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Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention

Some side effects of influenza virus vaccine, inactivated may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.

Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • pain at the injection site

Less common

Applies to influenza virus vaccine, inactivated: intradermal suspension, intramuscular solution, intramuscular suspension, nasal spray

Senior Flu Shot: What You Need To Know

Each fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to get the influenza vaccine. As the U.S. continues to see the devastating effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get a senior flu shot. If your loved one is 65 or older, getting a flu shot is still important, even if theyve received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Older adults are at high risk for life-threatening complications from the flu, including hospitalizations and death. The CDC estimates the flu causes 140,000 to 810,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. The CDC also estimates up to 70% of flu-related hospitalizations and 85% of deaths associated with the flu occur in seniors age 65 and older.

Ensuring your senior loved one is protected against the flu can help prevent flu-related complications and hospitalizations. Learn about the different types of senior flu shots, their effectiveness, possible side effects, and how they can prevent flu-related complications.

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Whats New And Resources For The 2021

The CDC maintains a page dedicated to the current flu season. There is a section for the public and also a section for providers. This is a good place to get up-to-date information on influenza and influenza vaccination. You can find it here:

Note that the CDCs Flu FAQ page currently includes lots of information about influenza and COVID-19, such as how to tell them apart, why its safe to be vaccinated for both at the same time, and more.

The CDC also provides information specific to older adults here:

What Is The Cost Of The Flu Shot

FDA approves new flu vaccine to better protect seniors

You may have concerns about the cost of getting an annual flu vaccination. The cost varies depending on where you go and whether you have insurance. In some cases, you may be able to get the flu shot free of charge or at a low cost.

Typical prices for the adult flu vaccine range between $0 and $40 , depending on the vaccine you receive and your insurance coverage.

Ask your doctor about getting the flu shot during an office visit. Some pharmacies and hospitals in your community may provide vaccinations. You can also research flu clinics at community centers or senior centers.

Note that some of the typical providers like schools and workplaces may not offer them this year due to closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Use websites like Vaccine Finder to find locations near you that offer the flu vaccine, and contact them to compare costs.

The sooner you get a vaccination, the better. On average, it can take up to 2 weeks for your body to produce antibodies to protect against the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October.

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What Is The High

This year’s high-dose flu shot is called the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, and it’s the only licensed high-dose inactivated flu vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . This vaccine has four components to help boost your immunity to the flu.

For adults 65 and older, the high-dose flu vaccine is recommended. “This type of vaccine contains a lot more viral protein, which is used to stimulate immunity, than the regular flu vaccine,”infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health. Basically, the high-dose flu shot works in the same way as the regular flu shotdelivering inactivated virus to prompt the body to make antibodies. But it’s associated with a stronger immune response.

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Why should seniors get the high-dose vaccine? Because older adults are at a higher risk of flu complications. CDC studies estimate that this age group accounts for 70% to 85% of flu-related deaths and 50% to 70% of flu-related hospitalizations each flu season.

Which Option Is Best For You

If youre getting the flu vaccine, you may wonder whether one option is better than others. Your doctor can point you to the one that should work best for you.

In certain years, the nasal spray hasnt been recommended due to effectiveness concerns. But both the shot and the nasal spray are recommended for the 2020 to 2021 flu season.

For the most part, the flu vaccine is safe. But you should check with your doctor before getting it if you have one the following:

Its not unusual to experience mild flu-like symptoms after a vaccination. These symptoms tend to disappear after one to two days. Other common side effects of the vaccine include soreness and redness at the injection site.

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Severe Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine

While these are much rarer than mild side effects and are unlikely to occur, they do happen and should be recognized. These side effects are a cause for concern, and you should talk to your doctor or visit the hospital as soon as possible if you or your loved one develops them.

  • Hives
  • Paleness
  • High fever

The above list of side effects can be associated with a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine and should be acknowledged immediately. They usually occur within a few hours of receiving the vaccine. Call your doctor or 9-1-1 as soon as any of those side effects present themselves.

What Is The Flu

Study confirms that some flu vaccines cause a stronger ...

While most people recover in 7 to 10 days, severe illness can occur. Some groups, including seniors, are at a greater risk of influenza-related complications.

It is estimated that influenza causes approximately 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year, the majority of which are over age 65.

FluWatch, Canadas national influenza surveillance system, provides up-to-date information about currently circulating influenza strains. Check in regularly for updates. H3N2 strain reported this flu season!

Getting vaccinated against influenza each autumn is the best way to help prevent influenza infection.

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Finding A High Dose Flu Shot For Seniors

BURLINGTON, Vt. – One flu shot does not fit all. There is a shot designed just for seniors to give them an extra boost of defense again the seasonal flu. But this year those shots could be hard to find. Our Kayla Martin talked with a pharmacist about how the vaccine works and why there might be a shortage.

Studies show at best, 50% of Americans get the flu shot. But this year, because of the pandemic, theyre anticipating up to 70% of the population will want one.

Definitely get your vaccine, said Erin Knox, the director of sales and marketing at the Gazebo Senior Living Center in Burlington.

Thats especially true for the elderly. They can get a high dose flu shot made for people age 65 and older. The CDC says its 24% more effective at reducing flu-related illnesses and death in the elderly population.

There has been a shortage of it in years past and there might be again this year.

So this could potentially cause some availability issues. This year, but at the current time the CDC is reporting that there are no backorders or stock issues, said Matt Flint of the UVM Medical Center Pharmacy.

But if you cant find one, its not recommended that you wait just to have the higher dose.

Erin Knox says at the Gazebo Senior Living Center, ordered their vaccines far in advance to make sure they have enough.

Knox understands how concerning this flu season, in particular, can be for older loved ones, and how to make sure they are staying safe.

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Who Should Not Get The Influenza Vaccine

Speak with a health care provider if you:

  • Have had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or any part of the vaccine. People with egg allergies can be safely immunized with the influenza vaccine
  • Have had severe oculo-respiratory syndrome after getting an influenza vaccine
  • Are receiving a checkpoint inhibitor to treat cancer. This may affect when you should get the vaccine
  • Developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 8 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine without another cause being identified

GBS is a rare condition that can result in weakness and paralysis of the body’s muscles. It most commonly occurs after infections. In rare cases GBS can also occur after some vaccines. GBS may be associated with influenza vaccine in about 1 per million recipients.

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Stronger Flu Vaccine May Keep Seniors Out Of Hospital

You are free to share this article under the Attribution 4.0 International license.

A flu vaccine with four times the antigen of a standard vaccine could significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization among especially vulnerable seniors, a large, random clinical trial has found.

Vaccines typically dont work very well in older peoplea problem because the flu can lead to serious respiratory infections in frail patients such as elderly nursing home residents.

the rate of hospitalization for any reason, respiratory or otherwise, was significantly lower in the high-dose group

While a prior study showed that older individuals could respond better to the high-dose vaccine, it focused on relatively healthy older adults, says lead author Stefan Gravenstein, professor at both the Warren Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health at Brown University.

It still needed to be established that it would help even the frailest folks, like those who reside in nursing homes. In our study, a quarter of the sample was over 90. So we asked if the high-dose vaccine also would work better than regular-dose vaccine in the population we consider least able to respond. This paper says yes, it can.

Respiratory illness as the primary reason for hospitalization accounted for only about a third of the reduction in hospitalization that we measured, says Gravenstein.

Nope, the flu vaccine wont give you the flu

What We Know About Covid

Flu season returns: what it means for older adults

Q: How are COVID-19 and influenza similar and how are they different?

A: COVID-19 and influenza have many similarities, but also many differences.

The main similarities are:

  • Both viruses are mostly spread through an airborne route. This means that steps you take to protect yourself from COVID-19, such as social distancing measures and avoiding crowded indoor spaces, will likely reduce your risk of catching influenza as well.
  • The initial symptoms of infection have a lot in common. Namely, both often start with upper respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose, fatigue, fever, and body aches. This means it will be difficult to tell the two conditions apart, unless laboratory testing is used.
  • Both are more likely to cause severe illness in people who are older or frail.

Even though both viruses often cause viral pneumonia, there are significant differences between the two. They are actually quite different types of viruses. The differences include:

In short, influenza and COVID-19 are similar in terms of how they spread and common initial symptoms. But COVID-19 has so far caused more serious disease, and at this time, remains harder to treat, in part because it seems to affect the body in more significant ways than influenza usually does.

For more on the similarities and differences between influenza and COVID-19:

Q: Is it possible to get influenza and COVID-19 at the same time? How do they affect each other?

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But it also causes a slightly higher rate of side effects, mostly short-term aches and flu-like symptoms.

Hendrickson was back to full strength the following Friday. But in hindsight, she wonders if she would have taken the high-dose version if her clinic had offered her a choice.

Fluzone High-Dose was first offered midway through last flu season. Manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur estimates that 10 percent of seniors who were vaccinated last season received the high-dose version.

Studies have shown that the larger dose stimulates the immune system to respond more aggressively against influenza. But research hasnt yet proven that the vaccine is more effective for seniors. Answers to that question are expected in 2014 or 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal agency has taken no position yet on whether seniors should opt for this type of vaccine.

The need for better vaccines is evident from the fact that influenza contributes to 3,000 to 49,000 U.S. deaths each year, according to the CDC. Most victims are 65 or older.

There is little reliable data on the effectiveness of traditional flu vaccine in seniors, and nothing on Fluzone High-Dose. Osterholm still recommends it to seniors.

Would I take it? Yes, he said. At the same time, we have to be honest with the public about what we know and dont know.

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