Help Keep the Flu From Interfering With Your Plans This Winter
THE FLU SITUATION
It can start with the chills, fever, sniffles or body aches: but for seniors over 65, influenza can be a deadly disease leading to lengthy hospitalizations and life-altering complications. During flu season, seniors are at greater risk of developing serious and lasting health issues. In fact, 88 per cent of flu-related deaths in Canada last season occurred in people 65 years and older, with this age group accounting for 67 per cent of flu-related hospitalizations.
FLU VACCINES AND SENIORS
“Specialized flu vaccines can increase the antibody response in high-risk populations, and have been used successfully in long-term care facilities in Canada,” says Dr. Shelly McNeil, Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at the Nova Scotia Health Authority and researcher at the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology.
The best way to prevent influenza in all Canadians is to get a standard flu shot. For seniors over the age of 65, Health Canada has authorized for sale specialized vaccines – which include both high-dose vaccine FLUZONE ® and adjuvanted vaccine FLUAD ® . These flu vaccines are specifically-designed to boost immune response to the vaccine in seniors over 65. “Flu vaccines in general, including specialized versions, can be part of a healthy aging strategy and preventative health measure for seniors.” Flu-related hospitalizations and complications among adults over 65 can be detrimental to longevity and future health. About one third of older adults who are hospitalized will not return to their previous level of daily function or independence, says Dr. McNeil, which can have significant economic impacts on an individual, as well as the health care system in general.
ASK YOUR DOCTOR
Specialized vaccines for seniors over 65 are available in Canada this flu season – ask your doctor about whether a specialized flu vaccine is right for you or visit seqirus.ca/products/FLUAD.htm for more information.
The most common adverse events for FLUAD are injection site pain and tenderness; some people may experience muscle pain, headache and fatigue. FLUAD only protects against those strains of influenza that are contained in the vaccine. Vaccination does not provide 100 per cent protection. FLUAD cannot prevent complications, hospitalization or death after the onset of disease.