How Can Seniors Prevent the Flu?
Since flu season coincides with the holidays, it is important to take precautions to reduce your chances of contracting the virus — especially when socializing. To minimize your risk, be sure to keep your hands clean, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and avoid coming in contact with others who are sick.
The most important action, though, is getting vaccinated. More than any other measure, flu vaccines can help prevent flu infection.
The Importance of Vaccines
According to the CDC, the flu vaccine prevented approximately 7.5 million cases of influenza in the 2019-2020 season. Vaccination was also shown to reduce hospitalizations among older adults by 40% between 2009-2016.
Cases of the flu can occur all year round, but they tend to spike around October, or the beginning of “flu season.” Fall is, therefore, a crucial time for vaccination. The upsurge can last as late as May, so it’s never too late to get a vaccine.
Seniors, in particular, may benefit from higher-dose flu vaccines. They contain four times more antigens than standard flu vaccines, resulting in a more powerful immune response. Flu vaccines made with an adjuvant, an ingredient that helps strengthen immune response, are also available.
Where Can You Get a Flu Vaccine?
Flu vaccines are widely available, and most of them advertise heavily during peak season. The most common places to get vaccinated are doctors’ offices, grocery stores, and pharmacies. You can also find nearby vaccine locations via the CDC’s helpful online tool.
Flu Vaccine Costs
The cost of a flu vaccine without insurance typically ranges from $25 to $100. Most people with health insurance will not have to pay anything out of pocket, as Medicare and private insurance cover most of the costs. To help reduce the cost of the vaccine, keep an eye out for coupons or special events.
Did you know that Medicare Part D covers most vaccinations? To learn more, read our guides to Medicare Part D and prescription discount cards
Why Do You Need a Flu Vaccine Every Year?
The flu virus is constantly evolving, so the vaccine is updated each year to target certain strains that are expected to spread. As protection from the flu vaccine diminishes over time, annual vaccinations are recommended for boosting your defenses.