Don't let influenza get you down - get a flu shot today. October is a big month at Capital Senior Living communities across the country, giving seniors many reasons to get excited and celebrate with friends and loved ones. It’s the official kickoff of the 2017 holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are all just weeks away from each other in the next three months. It’s also the unofficial start of fall across the United States, and cooler temperatures are slowly easing their way onto the weather boards, making it much more pleasant to get out and take a walk around beautifully manicured grounds and landscaped courtyards.
While certainly a fun time of year, it’s important to remember that October is also the start of flu season. Much longer-lived than the holiday season, flu season lasts through May, with February being the peak time for the illness. In the United States, 95 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of hospitalizations due to the flu occur in seniors aged 65 and older. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people who receive a flu shot are 60 percent less likely to get the disease that season. That’s why it’s important that all residents in our Capital Senior Living family get vaccinated for the flu.
Seniors this year have two options for vaccination: a regular dose that protects three viruses and a higher dose that should result in a stronger immune response. Both protect against the two common Type A flu strains known as H1N1 and H3N2 as well as one strain of Type B, and both should be covered by Medicare and most other health plans. This season, only injectable flu vaccines are recommended. Seniors who have questions about whether they should get a flu shot can talk with their doctor or health professional.
Many of our communities offer onsite flu shot administration or courtesy transportation to medical offices and local pharmacies where flu shots can be obtained. We recommend that our seniors contact their respective communities directly for further details on available services. Please note that it may be necessary to sign up for a time slot prior to receiving an onsite flu shot or transportation for an offsite flu shot.
In addition to getting a flu shot, there are several additional steps all seniors can take toward staying healthy:
Signs of the flu are similar to those of a common cold. Seniors who believe that they may have contracted the virus should have their health care provider administer a test to determine if their symptoms truly are the flu. Seniors or their caregivers should seek immediate attention if they have:
Seniors who get the flu also have a higher chance of getting pneumonia, so a pneumococcal vaccine also may be recommended at the time of the influenza shot.
Prevention is the key to staying healthy this flu season. Seniors at all of our Capital Senior Living communities are encouraged to get their flu shots in a timely manner to stay well throughout this holiday season and into the new year.
*This blog post has been edited. Its original publish date was October 7, 2013.
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