As the leaves start to turn autumnal colors, adults and children alike need to get vaccinated against the flu. People 65 years and older are at a greater risk for serious, and perhaps deadly, complications from the flu compared to younger adults.

In fact, over 70% of the deaths each year related to influenza have occurred in people over age 65 due to the weakening of the immune system in older adults.

The best way to protect against the life threatening effects of a flu infection is with a flu shot each year.

Ideally, the shot should be administered by the end of October if possible, however vaccination can continue into January or later.

People 65 and older can get any injectable flu shot that is approved for their age group, but two vaccines are specifically designed for that population.

These specially designed vaccines for older adults include the “high dose” Fluzone™ vaccine, which contains four times the amount of antigen than the traditional flu shot.

The second specialty vaccine, Fluad™, is an adjuvanted flu vaccine that is designed to help create a larger response by the immune system. This flu season will be the first time Fluad has been available.

Since these agents are designed to create a greater immune response they may result in more mild side effects when compared to the traditional flu shot. Side effects may include, but are not limited to, pain, redness, swelling at the site of injection, muscle aches or tiredness.

Other flu precautions include good health hygiene throughout flu season, which means covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often and avoiding those who are ill. These health hygiene measures will help to reduce the chances of catching the flu or transmitting it to those around you.

Remember, even if you get the flu shot it is possible to get the flu. It is advised to seek medical treatment quickly if you develop flu symptoms. Be sure to keep you and your family safe this flu season by asking your healthcare provider which vaccine is best for you.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is intended solely for the general information for the reader and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnose health problems or suggest any treatment. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional and does not create a physician-patient or pharmacist-patient relationship. Please consult your health care provider for any personal medical advice.