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PREVENTIVE CARE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

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PREVENTIVE CARE KNOWLEDGE CENTRE

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Why is it essential for older adults to consider taking the Influenza (flu) vaccination?

Written By Samarth Staff | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Anup Bagchi, MBBS, Geriatric specialist

As we age, our immune system becomes less robust, making us more susceptible to infections. One such infection that poses a significant risk, especially for older adults, is influenza, commonly known as the flu. In India, the flu season typically peaks during the monsoon, making it crucial for seniors to take preventive measures.  

Benefits of flu vaccination:

1. Reducing Illness Severity: The flu vaccine helps minimize the severity of symptoms if you do contract the flu. It prevents symptoms from disrupting daily life, allowing seniors to maintain their routines.

2. Protecting high-risk individuals: Older adults, young children, pregnant women, and those with underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease) are at higher risk of severe complications from the flu. Vaccination provides crucial protection for these vulnerable groups.

3. Preventing hospitalization: Flu shots significantly reduce the risk of flu-related hospitalizations. By getting vaccinated, seniors can avoid serious complications that might require medical attention. 

4. Community immunity: When enough people get vaccinated, community immunity develops. This prevents the rapid spread of the flu, safeguarding high-risk individuals.

Consequences of not taking the flu vaccine include a higher risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from the flu among older adults.

It is  recommended to get the flu shot between mid-summer and monsoon. Consult your doctor and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Seniors should receive either the high-dose flu vaccine or the adjuvanted vaccine. These options are specifically designed to boost immunity in older adults. The common side effects of the vaccine are mild and temporary and include slight pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms, such as headache, muscle aches, and fatigue, which usually resolve within a few days. Remember, the flu vaccine is safe and offers significant protection. In-spite of the benefits, most older adults ignore taking the influenza vaccine. Only 1.5% of people are estimated to be vaccinated for influenza compared to more than 75% people in the UK, 65% in the United States of America and 70% in Canada.

Don’t delay—consult your doctor and get your flu shot today to stay healthy and protect yourself and others in the community.

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