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By: Elizabeth Bemis on November 15th, 2012

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Flu and Pneumonia Shots for Seniors - Is it Too Late?

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Although it might seem like the year is winding down to it's cold conclusion and already deep into the annual flu season, it is not too late to go get vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia if you have not done so already. October and November are the usual months during which flu shots are made available to interested individual in public places, though you can also approach your healthcare provider if you have missed your local deadlines. As for the pneumococcal vaccine, it can be scheduled anytime during the year when you have the extra time.

Flu and Pneumonia Shots at Assisted Living Communities in CT

For Seniors living in assisted living communities, staff and on site nurses keep excellent records of all residents Flu and Pneumonia shots. Residents living at Independent Living Communities in CT are given transportation to doctors and flu shot clinics.

Understanding the Flu Season

 Although it varies in timing and duration from place to place, the flu season stretches across the colder months of the year. Scientists are not entirely sure why the flu season covers these particular months, but there are a number of popular hypotheses. Examples include the colder air making it harder for the body to defend itself against the flu virus, the virus lasting longer while clinging to cold surfaces, and the cold temperature stressing the body's ability to protect itself from invasion.

Regardless, the flu season is said to cover the months of October through May in the United States, with cases of the flu peaking sometime around February. As a result, while earlier immunization produces better results, getting the flu vaccine in November and even later months such as January or February can still protect you for the remaining months in the flu season.

Pneumococcal Vaccination

In contrast to the flu vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination is an one-time shot for adults. After getting the shot, you are protected by antibodies against 23 separate strains of the bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Seniors are sometimes recommended to get a second shot at age 65 if they were vaccinated for pneumonia more than five years earlier. As result, you should consult your healthcare provider and ask for an expert opinion if you are thinking about the issue. 

Reasons to Get Flu and Pneumonia Shots

Here are the reasons that you should go get vaccinated for the flu and pneumonia, particularly if you are either a senior or a member of another at-risk group:

* First and most importantly, vaccinations are important because they protect you from the disease in question. Although there are potential side-effects from some vaccines, the risk of such events and their effects are insignificant compared to the chances of catching the disease and its consequences. The risks of not getting vaccinated can be particularly dire if you belong to an at-risk group such as the elderly.

 * Vaccination not only protects you from the disease, but also your friends, your family, and the people who live around you. The more people who are vaccinated, the slower and more difficult the spread of the disease due to the decreased number of infection vectors. This is particularly important because there are people at risk who cannot get the vaccinations for one reason or another. 

Finding a Place to Get Flu and Pneumonia Shots
Flu.gov offers a convenient tool that lets you search for flu vaccination opportunities based on your zip code. Alternatively, you can approach your healthcare provider to ask about getting either the flu or pneumonia vaccine.

 

References: 
http://www.flu.gov/prevention-vaccination/vaccination/index.html
http://www.medicinenet.com/pneumococcal_vaccination/article.htm



About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.