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Flu Vaccine less effective for Elderly

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According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this season’s flu shots appear to be less able to protect older people from flu than for younger people who were vaccinated. As a result, early flu treatment is especially important for?seniors.

Results show that while getting the flu shot for people in younger age groups reduced the risk of flu from 50 to 60 percent, those adults aged 65 and over who got?this season’s flu shot?were just as likely to get flu symptoms as older adults who weren’t vaccinated. ?Nevertheless, the CDC says older people should still get a flu shot as a preventative measure.

The report only measured whether this season’s vaccine reduced the risk of flu from doctor?s visits, not hospitalizations for more severe flu symptoms. The effectiveness of any vaccine is never perfect, and can vary from person to person; but vaccinations are especially important for people 65 and older who are vulnerable to serious illnesses, even if the vaccine may not work as well for them.

Because of the increased risk, it’s important to seek treatment quickly. Fever, cough, body and headaches, chills and fatigue require antiviral medications for flu within 48 hours. Aging and health problems diminish the immune response after a flu vaccination, which can explain the?lowered effectiveness of the?vaccine?in older people.

A flu shot is recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older. This season’s less effective flu vaccine for the elderly makes early flu treatment especially important for people in this age group.

A?Specialty Care Services?home care?nursing professional can remind their patients to get?an annual flu vaccination.? They can also encourage their patients to quickly?seek medical attention if they develop flu like symptoms, so their doctors can administer the antiviral medication.

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