Time to vaccinate
by Piper Jackson, ECM Care Manager
It’s flu season! Another year and another vaccine. Why bother? Here are some reasons why-
As we age we lose our immunity thus increasing the likelihood of getting sick. Up to 70% of hospitalizations that are flu-related are people over the age of 65. Once elderly individuals enter the hospital they become more susceptible to other diseases such as pneumonia, MRSA, and C-Diff complicating recovery and often lengthening the time spent in clinical settings. The flu can exacerbate other chronic medical conditions- if you suffer from asthma the flu can make that worse. Have an inflammatory disease, the flu can make you sicker.
Another issue that arises with those over 65 is the fact that they will sometimes have atypical symptoms- they may not have the fever and cough that a younger person has- instead they may fall, become fatigued and have confusion. These unusual symptoms might make it harder to diagnose influenza and become too late to treat with anti-influenza vaccines.
The flu is not the only vaccine that the elderly should be discussing with their doctor- shingles, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis, and others should be considered. There is a vaccine registry that can be accessed by medical providers to see when the last vaccine was given and what is due.
Pharmacies, medical providers, assisted living communities, and local churches and health fairs are a few places an individual can go to get free or low-cost immunizations. October is the month that you should have a conversation with your medical provider on what you can do to boost your immune system and be ready for the upcoming season.