What Type Of Flu Vaccine Is Best For Seniors

With flu season upon us, it is recommended that everyone six months and older receive their annual influenza (flu) vaccine.  This is especially true for senior citizens as they are at a greater risk of developing serious complications from the flu. While there is no debate over whether or not seniors should get their flu shot, there is one about what type of vaccine they should receive.

Many providers are now recommending that patients over the age of 65 receive the vaccine Fluzone, a higher dose injectable vaccine formulated specially for seniors.  Like other flu vaccines, Fluzone is comprised of three different strains of the influenza virus that are most likely to cause the flu during the up-coming season.  However, Fluzone contains four times the amount of antigen (the inactivated virus that promotes a protective immune response) as a regular flu vaccine and produces a stronger immune response.

This high-dose vaccine was created specifically for seniors because their immune defenses are weakened due to their age. It is estimated that approximately 75% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older and between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people in this age group.

The results of seniors who have taken high-dose vaccines is promising. Initial studies have indicated that 25% fewer cases of influenza occurred in adults 65 years or older who took the high-dose vaccine compared with those who took the standard-dose vaccine, but other studies also revealed that seniors who received the high-dose vaccine were more likely to develop side effects, such as a fever and soreness at the injection site, during the week after vaccination.

If you are over 65 years old and still haven’t received your flu vaccine this year, speak to your doctor about whether or not a high-dose vaccine is right for you.

If you would like to make an appointment with a doctor t Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the herpes zoster virus. This is the virus that causes chicken pox.  Everyone is susceptible, but people who had chicken pox as a child are more susceptible. It is estimated that one million people each year in the United States will have an outbreak of shingles.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the people who are most at risk for getting shingles and should get the vaccine are:
• Those who are fifty years of age or older
• People who either had chickenpox as a child or don’t know if they had it
• People who already had shingles in the past
• Anyone who had the shingles vaccine Zostavax previously

Currently there are two vaccines that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent shingles. They are Zostavax, which is a weakened version of the live virus, and Shingrix which is a laboratory manufactured version of the viral DNA.  The CDC recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine.

Anyone who is pregnant or breast feeding, is currently experiencing  a shingles outbreak, or who tests negative for the varicella zoster virus should not get the vaccine. Additionally, people should not be given the Zostavax vaccine if they are allergic to gelatin, Neomycin, or any ingredients in the vaccine, have compromised immune systems such as HIV, are taking steroids , have had an organ transplant, are receiving chemotherapy or radiation, or have cancer affecting the lymphatic system or the bone marrow.

Speak with your physician if you are interested in receiving the shingles vaccine. You can schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital Medical Center by calling 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Flu Season Precautions

We are in the month of December and cases of flu are being reported by hospital emergency rooms.  None of us want to catch the flu so it is a good idea to take some preventative measures that can help us to stay healthy.

Here are a few of the ways we can prevent getting the flu:
• Everyone who is six months of age and older should get the vaccine every year
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
• Keep a hand sanitizer handy for the times soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Whenever possible, disinfect surfaces that are frequently used by others such as tables and chairs.
• Clean your drinking glasses and dishes in hot water and with soap
• Keep your immune system healthy by eating a balanced diet, exercising  regularly and getting enough sleep every night
• Tobacco can suppress the immune system, so it is highly recommended to quit smoking.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital to discuss the flu vaccine and other ways to stay healthy, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.