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National Influenza Vaccination Week: The Importance for Seniors

Caitlin Burm
By Caitlin BurmDecember 1, 2014
National Influenza Vaccination Week: The Importance for Seniors

In recognition of the CDC’s National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), A Place for Mom is participating in a blog relay with a “Focus on the Family” theme for NIVW. Each day, one of CDC’s Digital Ambassadors will leverage the holiday season to encourage their readers to focus on protecting the family. You can follow the NIVW conversation on Twitter using hashtag #NIVW2015.

Follow the “Passing of the Flu Awareness” Torch

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) in 2005 to raise awareness and advocate for the flu vaccination through the winter season and beyond. NIVW is scheduled for December 9-11, 2015.

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The “Countdown to NIVW” blog relay schedule:

A Place for Mom proudly participates in this relay to help raise awareness on the importance for seniors to get vaccinated against the flu. As we age, our immune systems weaken and adults over the age of 65 are particularly vulnerable to illness during the influenza season. The CDC says:

“It’s estimated that 90% of seasonal flu-related deaths and between 50-60% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States occur in people 65 years and older.”

Because of this startling fact, the CDC highly recommends the flu vaccination for seniors to prevent the flu and other illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

Learn more about the new high-dose flu shots that have been effective for preventing influenza and other flu-related illnesses in seniors.

7 Things the CDC Wants You to Know About the Flu

1. It’s Never Too Late 

As long as the flu virus continues to spread throughout a season, it’s never too late to get vaccinated. Even those who have gotten sick with one flu virus can benefit from getting vaccinated, since one vaccine can protect up to four varieties of flu viruses expected to circulate.

2. Prevention is for Everyone

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months to receive a flu vaccine as a critical preventive measure against influenza. Flu activity tends to peak between December and February, and increases as family and friends gather for the holidays. This is another reason why the time to get vaccinated is now.

3. Protection for the Most Vulnerable

Communicating who are at high risk for flu-related complications is another goal of NIVW. Flu-related complications can include pneumonia, worsening health conditions, hospitalization and even death.

People at high risk include:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • People with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease
  • People over the age of 65

View the complete list of “People at High Risk of Developing Flu—Related Complications” from the CDC.

4. Vaccination May Be Your Best Shield 

In order to increase your chances to protect yourself against the flu, the flu vaccine is currently the best that modern medicine can offer. Protection from the flu can save you doctor visits, other related illnesses and potential hospitalization.

5. Flu Viruses Change

The immune system takes about two weeks after getting vaccinated to build up the antibodies needed to prevent the flu. And since the nature of the flu is unpredictable and the virus is constantly changing, a new vaccine is offered each year to combat the currently circulating virus. This is why the CDC recommends get vaccinated every season for maximum protection.

6. You Have Vaccine Choices

You have options on where to get vaccinated and which vaccine to receive. This season, flu vaccines that protect against three flu viruses are called “trivalent” and those made to protect against four are called “quadrivalent.” Receiving a flu vaccination is convenient. You have the option to go your doctor’s office, health departments, health clinics, pharmacies and more. Talk to your doctor about which vaccine is best for you.

7. Vaccinations are Safe

For decades, the CDC reports that millions of doses have safely been given to people to protect and prevent the influenza virus. Take this important step in protecting yourself or a senior loved one.

Remember: CDC says an annual flu vaccination is the best protection against flu. Get your flu vaccine and encourage others to do the same by sharing your flu vaccine “selfies” on social media using the #VaxWithMe hashtag! Be sure to stop by the other NIVW relay participants’ blogs to learn about flu vaccination for everyone.

Have you had your vaccination this season? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 

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Caitlin Burm
Caitlin Burm

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