Spoiler alert … unless you fall under a very specific list of exceptions, YES, you need to be vaccinated against the flu!
This is especially important for our perennials (aka older adults) and their caregivers. As we age our immunities decline, making perennials more susceptible to infections, such as the flu. Once infected, recovery takes much longer and puts perennials at much greater risk for other opportunistic infections, often requiring hospitalization. If that isn’t enough to convince you of the importance of being vaccinated, how about this staggering statistic: 80% of the people who died from the flu last year were not vaccinated.
The flu vaccine is available starting 9/1/2018. Everyone age 6 months or older should be vaccinated against the flu, unless you:
1. Have an allergy to eggs or any component of the flu vaccine (ask your doctor for these components),
2. Have had a serious reaction to the flu vaccine in the past,
3. Currently have a moderate-to-severe illness with fever of 100 or higher,
4. Have ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome.
If one of these 4 exceptions apply to you or your loved ones, consult with your doctor for recommendations.
For adults aged 65 and over or with reduced immunities (“immunocompromised”), there is also a high-dose vaccine available (you may also see it referred to as a “high-efficacy” vaccine or “Senior Vaccine”). This high-dose vaccine has been shown to reduce the incidence of flu by an additional 25% over standard-dose vaccine! Ask your doctor about it.
Flu season runs October – May, but I urge you to get vaccinated early as it takes two weeks for immunity to kick in. Also, you don’t want to have to delay your immunization due to difficulty getting an appointment or vaccine shortages. So beat the rush, and protect yourself, your loved ones, and our precious perennials, and get vaccinated now!