Living through the COVID-19 pandemic opened our eyes to the dangers of microscopic, unseen organisms and the havoc they can wreak on all of us. It’s also helped us all to be more vigilant in taking necessary precautions and preventative measures to keep ourselves, and those we love, safe.
As we now prepare to enter into flu season, it’s a good idea to take the lessons we’ve learned to heart, and to take the need for immunizations seriously to ensure our older loved ones, who are most vulnerable to complications from the flu, will remain healthy. Because although for many of us, the flu is simply an inconvenient illness that may cause us to use up some sick days at work, for adults age 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems, influenza can be downright deadly.
Yet there are still a number of people who, for various reasons, opt out of getting the flu vaccine for seniors. One key reason is the plethora of myths that are circulating about the vaccine, which is why at Senior HomeCare of Tucson, we wanted to take time to separate fact from fiction when it comes to flu vaccines.
Myth: A flu immunization will make me catch the flu.
Fact: The flu vaccine is comprised of a nonliving virus, and therefore is incapable of causing the disease. It’s simply impossible to contract the flu from a flu vaccine. There is, however, a nasal spray version of the vaccine, which is a living but weakened virus; this version is not recommended for anyone age 50 or older.
Myth: Flu vaccines just don’t work. I received the flu vaccine and got the flu anyway.
Fact: Although the flu immunization is your best defense against contracting the flu, it is never 100% effective in protecting you from the virus. That being said, those who are immunized typically get a milder case of the flu, if they do contract it at all. Not only that, but the risk of requiring a hospitalization or from dying from complications of the flu are also greatly reduced.
Myth: We don’t need to get the flu vaccine each and every year.
Fact: Because the flu virus isn’t the same from year to year, a previous year’s immunization may not protect against the current year’s virus. Getting immunized every year is vital to ensuring immunity against the strains that are currently most likely to result in an outbreak.
Myth: As long as you’re healthy, you don’t need to get a flu shot.
Fact: Although it’s true that older adults and those with underlying conditions need to be immunized, without a doubt, it’s also true that all of us, even if in good health, should receive the vaccine to help prevent spreading the virus to others.
At Senior HomeCare of Tucson, one of the leading caregiver agencies serving Tucson, AZ and the surrounding areas, it’s our mission to ensure that older adults are provided with the support and care that empowers them to thrive in the comfort of home, with enhanced independence and safety. Contact us at 520-355-4787 any time to learn more about the flu vaccine for seniors and how we can help the seniors you love enjoy life to the fullest with a little help from our compassionate, professional caregivers!