The Flu Shot for Seniors: Here’s What You Should Know
If you are an adult over the age of 65, there is no doubt your doctor has advised you to receive the flu shot each and every year. Once you reach a certain age, contracting influenza isn’t a simple health complication – it can be deadly.
How Dangerous is Influenza?
How important is the flu shot for seniors? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 80 and 90 percent of flu-related deaths occur in those aged 65 or older. Every year, over 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications and up to 20 percent of the U.S. population will contract the disease.
You aren’t always most susceptible to contracting the flu in the winter. Flu season stretches from as early as October to as late as May – you need protection throughout this time.
What Vaccines Are Available?
The purpose of the flu vaccine is to help your body develop the necessary antibodies to protect against infection. Each year, a specific range of flu vaccine options are made available to the public.
Trivalent vaccines are made to protect against three different influenza strains while quadrivalent vaccines protect against four different strains. A typical flu shot can be given to anyone aged 6 months of age or older, but there are also nasal sprays that have been approved for those between the ages of 2 and 49.
The special flu shot for seniors that is commonly recommended by medical professionals is a high dosage form of the standard flu shot. The vaccine was designed to fit the needs of the senior immune system, which is usually weaker than in adults who are decades younger, providing more antigens and inducing a stronger immune response against infection.
Who Pays for the Flu Shot?
Seniors who have Medicare Part B coverage will receive one flu shot per season for free. Under original Medicare, the flu shot is also free as long as the doctor administering the shot accepts Medicare assignment.
How Else Can You Avoid Contracting Influenza?
It’s time to avoid your sickly friends and family. Yes, you may want to bring chicken soup to your loved ones, but you should also focus on protecting your own health, especially if you are struggling with any preexisting conditions. Always wash your hands and see your doctor right away at the first sign of any symptoms.
Do you have questions or concerns about your health insurance coverage? Realizing the importance of the flu shot for seniors is only one piece of the puzzle – you should also prioritize preventative checkups and well visits so your primary doctor can spot signs of disease before it progresses.
Contact the team at My Senior Health Plan to form a comprehensive health insurance plan perfectly fit to your needs.