Flu season is upon us and that means it’s time for the flu shot. With so many choices, we’ve helped narrow it down to the right ones for seniors. Our motive is to present you with your options so that with your doctor’s help and the information you’ve gathered here, you’ll be able to select the vaccine that’s suitable for you. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about these options. Together, you can decide which one is best for you based on your age and medical history.
Why do I need a flu shot?
Every year, the virus influenza infects millions of people, causing mild to severe symptoms. Typical flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, and fatigue. For people 65 and older, the flu can lead to more severe complications, including pneumonia or even death. Flu vaccines will provide your body with antibodies to help fight off the influenza virus.
Why are there vaccines specifically for seniors?
As we get older, our immune system stops working as well as it did when we were younger. For seniors, their immune systems aren’t always as responsive to the regular flu vaccines. To address this issue, scientists have created stronger vaccines to cope with weaker immune systems.
Why do I need to get it every year?
New vaccines are developed from year to year to fight to combat the latest strains.
Fluzone High-dose Quadrivalent
Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent contains four times the antigen than the regular flu vaccine, which serve as a vital boost of reinforcements to bodies with weaker immune systems. This vaccine was created primarily for people 65 and older due to their weaker immune systems.
Note: Always consult your healthcare provider before opting for a higher dose. Your provider will help you decide if the high dose flu shot is right for you.
Is it safe?
Yes, but some minor side effects may occur. The most common side effects are muscle aches, headache and pain, swelling, or redness of injection spot.
If you’ve had severe allergic reactions to vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent may not be a suitable choice for you.
How much does it cost?
Both the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and the regular adult dose flu shot are covered and free with Medicare part B. Check with your Medicare Advantage or private insurance plans for a no co-payment or deductible.
How effective are vaccines geared toward seniors?
Both Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent and the regular adult dose will give seniors an extra boost of protection than the regular flu vaccine. Since scientists have to predict which influenza virus strains will be prevalent from year to year, the vaccine might not be a perfect match for each strain of influenza. Therefore, if you are infected by different influenza strains than those addressed by your yearly flu shot, the vaccine’s coverage for flu symptoms might not be optimal. However, the vaccine will still lessen the severity of any symptoms that may arise.
How to decide which vaccine is right for you?
Before deciding on a vaccine, let your doctor know if you have any allergies, especially to eggs and mercury, if you have Guillain-Barré syndrome or have experienced bad reactions after previous vaccines.
Knowing your history and health, together, you and your doctor can determine which vaccine is best for you.
When and where should you get your flu vaccine?
The flu season usually peaks in December and February, so it’s important to be prepared beforehand. It takes two weeks after vaccination for your body to start producing antibodies. Therefore, it’s recommended by the CDC that you get your flu shot at the end of October. If you haven’t done so already, schedule a flu shot today!
For your convenience, Clare Medical travels to independent living communities, senior centers, and personal residences all across New Jersey. We have both flu shots available for our patients. Sometimes our patients specifically request the higher dosage. The ultimate decision about which dosage to use will be made by the patient in conjunction with the patient’s provider. If you’d like to request Clare Medical to come to your center, call (609) 474-0120 or email Contact@GetClare.com. You can also make an appointment with a Clare physician and come to us.
No matter which vaccine you decide to go with, they will all give you the protection you need from the influenza virus.