If you or a loved one is 65 years of age or older, the flu could be more dangerous than you realize. As we age, our immune systems get weaker. With a weakened defense system, the risks of catching viruses and developing complications increases. Seniors, children and those with chronic health conditions make up the highest rate of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths. In recent years, flu vaccinations have been developed that are specially formulated, heavier doses for seniors to help lower the health risks associated with the flu.
The difference in vaccinations for seniors
The vaccine designated for seniors and provided at Urgent Team Family & Urgent Care Centers, is called Fluzone High-Dose. Both the standard and senior flu vaccines are produced by the same manufacturer, but the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibodies) versus standard flu shots. The additional antigens are intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibodies) in seniors who get the vaccine. Studies found there were 25 percent fewer cases of influenza in seniors who took the high-dose vaccination compared to those who took the standard-dose.
Potential side effects
Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccine you should get, especially if you have ever had an allergic reaction to previous vaccinations. The most commonly reported side effects of the high-dose flu vaccination are minimal and include: low grade fever, headache, and redness/soreness at injection site for a few days following the shot. All vaccines carry risks, however, the risks and side effects are generally mild and only affect a small percentage of people. Getting an annual flu shot remains the best way to protect yourself from the flu and lower possible flu-related complications.
For more information about Fluzone High-Dose
Visit Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC and www.Fluzone.com