A flu shot helps keep older adults healthy

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(BPT) - As we age, it becomes more important to take care of our health. For example, adults 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications due, in part, to changes in the immune system caused by aging. While flu seasons vary in severity, during most seasons, people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease, accounting for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths. A flu shot is the best way to protect against flu illness and its potentially serious complications this fall and winter. This season, CDC is recommending that people 65 and older get one of three preferred flu vaccines that are specially designed for people in this age group.

CDC updated flu vaccine guidance this year for adults 65 years and older.

CDC wants people 65 years and older to get a higher-dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine, if available. These include:

  • Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine
  • Flublok Quadrivalent vaccine
  • Fluad Quadrivalent vaccine

These vaccines are preferred because research suggests that, in this age group, these vaccines are potentially more effective than standard-dose flu shots used for people under 65. When scheduling your appointment, ask which vaccine you will get. However, if the higher-dose or adjuvanted flu shots are unavailable, people in this age group should get a standard-dose flu shot.

In numerous studies since 2010, flu vaccines have helped protect older adults against influenza by reducing their risk of getting sick and being hospitalized. There is also more evidence that flu vaccines can make illness less severe in people who get vaccinated but still get sick from the flu.

Get a flu shot today.

CDC recommends people get vaccinated before the end of October, if possible, because flu activity can start increasing in parts of the country during this month, and it’s important to get vaccinated before flu starts spreading in your community. However, vaccination after October can still provide protection against flu because flu most commonly peaks in February and significant flu activity can continue into May.

Speak with your health care provider today to find out the best way to protect yourself against flu. Learn more about flu vaccination for older adults.