You can get a flu shot at any time of the year, but, in the fall, as flu begins to circulate more widely at the beginning of flu season, a flu shot is essential, especially for children and seniors.
At Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, our team, under the leadership of founder Dr. John Monroe, offers flu shots and other vaccinations for adult and pediatric patients. We’ve got you covered during this year’s flu season!
Everyone can benefit from the protection offered by vaccination against flu, also known as influenza. However, for children or seniors aged 65 or above, flu shots are a must. People in these age ranges can be more vulnerable to the flu, and so have a greater need for the protection provided by a yearly flu shot.
Here’s what parents and seniors need to know about flu shots.
Safe and effective vaccination against the flu
Flu shots are a type of vaccine or immunization. Vaccines allow your body to develop immunity to specific diseases, without needing to become ill or infected.
Once you’re vaccinated, you’re protected against the condition targeted by that vaccine. And, vaccines protect entire communities, not just individuals, slowing or preventing the spread of infectious diseases between people.
Unlike the many pediatric vaccines given in early childhood, flu shots have to be updated each year. The vaccine is reformulated each year, as new variants of influenza mutate and circulate. Vaccine manufacturers use current studies and information to determine which variants are likely to become dominant in a given flu season.
Vaccines, including the flu shot, are safe to take. Flu shots are as effective as possible each year, and significantly reduce your risk of getting or spreading the flu.
Flu shots for children
Children under the age of five, and especially children under the age of two, need to be vaccinated yearly against the flu due to the dangers that flu poses to the very young.
Adults can power through a bout with flu, but young children have a higher risk of developing serious complications when they come down with flu. Children younger than five years of age risk hospitalization, as well as complications like pneumonia, dehydration, and brain dysfunction, from the flu.
Flu shots for seniors
Seniors who are 65 years or older also have a heightened risk for serious complications due to the flu. As you get older, your immune system struggles more to defend you against illnesses like the flu. The CDC estimates that between 70-85% of seasonal deaths related to flu occur in patients 65 and older. Patients in this age range also account for at least half of seasonal hospitalizations due to flu.
That’s why older people need to be sure to get vaccinated against the flu. Because of the immune system weakening in senior patients, time flu shots for maximum protection during flu season. September and October are typically the right time for flu shots for older patients.
To schedule your vaccination appointment, or to learn more about the flu vaccine, get in touch with the team at Healthy Life Family Medicine today. Call now, or request an appointment online.