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Carlton Senior Living Blog | June 2, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

Flu Shot Pros and Cons for Seniors

senior-woman-about-to-get-a-shotFor many of us, the seasonal flu is nothing more than a temporary annoyance. We might have aches and sniffles and spend a few days in bed. However, for seniors, flu could be a serious issue that leads to potentially serious complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. This might lead to hospitalization and even death.

Why Seniors Are Advised to Get the Flu Shot

It is possible to protect the immune system with a yearly flu shot. In order to mirror the most prevalent strains, the vaccine is updated each year. While older adults might not always have the best success, a flu shot does lower the risk of flu. Seniors who want extra protection have a higher-dose version available to them.

It is also possible to receive a version of the flu shot that protects against four different flu strains – the quadrivalent vaccine. The vaccine is not foolproof, regardless of the version that you get. Given that the side effects of the flu can be life threatening for older people, it is understandable that most seniors still get the flu shot.

The Potential Downsides to the Flu Vaccine

There are possible problems if a senior does get a flu shot. It is possible to experience side effects, though many of them are mild. A few of the more common ones include low-grade fever, aches, and soreness at the injection site. There are also people who have adverse reactions to vaccines.

Some Flu Myths You Might Have Heard

There are a number of different flu myths you may have heard mentioned before. These are just a few of the most prominent ones:

  • The flu shot does not really work very well – It is still possible that you still get the flu after you get the flu shot, but that does not mean that it does not work. Despite the fact that the flu shot is constantly mutating, the vaccine does have a number of different antibodies that provide some protection against different (but still related) flu viruses.
  • You might get the flu from the flu vaccine – This is absolutely false, because the flu shot contains inactivated viruses, not infectious viruses. It is also important that you remember that flu vaccine takes two weeks before it becomes active. Therefore, before the shot has a chance to work, it is possible to get a flu infection before the resistance becomes active.