LIFE SAVERS FOR SENIORS – VACCINATION FOR INFLUENZA
Influenza is a serious, contagious – and usually preventable. Seniors, in particular, should make sure to be immunized. The influenza vaccine should be received every year.
HOW FLU SPREADS
Flu viruses spread in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. They usually spread from person to person, though sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 days after becoming sick. That means that you can pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
PREVENT THE FLU: GET VACCINATED
The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccination each fall. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies develop that protect against influenza virus infection. Flu vaccines will not protect against influenza-like illnesses caused by other viruses.
WHEN TO GET VACCINATED
October or November is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated in December or even later can still be beneficial. Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
PEOPLE WHO SHOULD GET VACCINATED EACH YEAR . . .
PEOPLE AT HIGH RISH FOR COMPLICATIONS
FROM THE FLU:
- People 65 years and older
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- Adults and children 6 months and older with chronic heart or lung conditions
- Adults and children 6 months and older who needed regular medical care or who were hospitalized during the previous year.
- Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- All children 6 to 23 months of age
- People with any condition that can compromise respiratory function
PEOPLE 50-64 YEARS OF AGE
Because nearly 1/3 of people 50 to 64 years of age in the U.S. have one or more medical conditions that place them at increased risk for serious flu complications, vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 50 to 64.
PEOPLE WHO CAN TRANSMIT FLU TO OTHERS AT HIGH RISK FOR COMPLICATIONS
Any person in close contact with someone in a high-risk group should get vaccinated. This includes all health-care workers, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children 6 to 23 months of age, and close contacts of people 65 years and older.