Protecting the Elderly from the Flu

October 3rd, 2017

It’s time to roll up our sleeves

 By Colleen G Combs

The best way to protect small children, pregnant women and frail elderly people from influenza is for everyone, not just the susceptible groups, to get the flu vaccine. Wide-spread immunization helps stop the virus from circulating through schools, churches and communities.

Norman Desbiens, MD, is the Medical Director at Alexian Brothers PACE, a senior care program that is an alternative to nursing home care in Chattanooga, TN. PACE provides adult day care, home health, therapy, geriatric medicine, and more. According to Dr. Desbiens, “we have always been vigilant about influenza because it is a serious threat to the life and health of our participants. While it affects all age groups, influenza causes more hospitalizations and death in the elderly because of the effects of age, medications and other diseases on the immune system and the ability to fight influenza if it is contracted.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of the flu shot for the 2017- 2018 season.According the CDC, the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during this flu season.

Since it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies that protect against the virus, it is best to receive the vaccine before flu season begins. The CDC recommends that people receive the vaccine by the end of October. So roll up your sleeve, and get the shot! You might save yourself from the misery of the flu, but more importantly, you might save the life of a vulnerable child or adult.

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