The 2018 flu jab – what you need to know
Autumn is here and with it has come the inevitable drop in temperature – and hot on the heels of this colder weather is the dreaded flu season! The flu is nasty for all ages, but is particularly dangerous for the elderly, who are often more susceptible to viruses and have weaker immune systems to fight them with. The good news is that an enhanced flu vaccine for elderly people has just been announced. But what makes it different from other flu jabs? When is it being rolled out? And who is eligible?
What is the new vaccine?
According to Public Health England, this new over-65s ‘trivalent’ vaccine will save hundreds of lives this winter, protecting against three strains of flu: Aussie flu, swine flu and Brisbane flu. The need for a more potent vaccine was highlighted last year when 15,000 people died from flu – nearly double the average flu-related deaths in preceding years.
This ‘adjuvanted’ vaccine is also expected to improve effectiveness by boosting the body’s immune response to the vaccine, something which will particularly benefit the elderly…
How is it tailored to over-65s?
The flu is particularly dangerous for elderly people whose defences are naturally weaker, and they are more likely to suffer complications from the virus. The effectiveness of flu vaccines also typically declines as people age – it was effective in just one in 10 over-65s last winter. The new stronger vaccine is therefore tailored to the over-65s, as it contains a chemical that boosts immune systems, making them more responsive to the vaccine.
When will it be available?
The new flu vaccine will be available across the UK from early October. According to the NHS, the best time to have the vaccine is the period from the beginning of October to the end of November. The vaccine will be offered to over-65s in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as over-75s in Scotland.
Other ways of avoiding the flu
In addition to getting vaccinated, there are a number of other ways in which elderly people can reduce their chances of catching the flu. Washing hands often, keeping as active as possible, regularly cleaning your home environment, maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are among the ways in which you can reduce your likelihood of catching the flu.
Here at Unique Senior Care, we can help with this! Our tailored at-home care services can include assistance with bathing, healthy meal preparation, dusting and vacuuming, and accompanying on trips out of the house. If you are interested in arranging at-home care for a loved one then get in touch to discuss your needs further.
For more information about the new vaccine
You can have your NHS flu vaccine at your GP surgery or a local pharmacy which offers the service.
Find out more about the vaccine here