December 1, 2021
Have you and your parents had a flu shot yet? It’s an important discussion to have. Flu cases were lower last year due to social distancing, masks, and handwashing. There are no guarantees that this year won’t see an increase. Here are the things you and your caregiver should know about a yearly flu shot.
There’s no way to know how your parents will react to this year’s flu shot. Some experience no discomfort, while some end up with a sore arm and feel tired for a day or two. The protection it offers is worth it, though.
If they have had adverse reactions to prior vaccinations or have allergies, they should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. They shouldn’t listen to their neighbor’s input or trust something they see on social media. Always make sure they talk to their doctor before making a decision.
After getting a flu shot, it takes the body time to build up immunities to the flu strains in the vaccine. Immune systems respond differently. It can take up to two weeks for the antibodies to develop, which is why you need to remain guarded when you’re out in public.
Even after two weeks have passed, it’s best to wash hands and use hand sanitizer regularly and avoid anyone who is sick or could be unhealthy. Hand washing and social distancing are the best way to dodge the seasonal flu.
When a vaccine is developed to protect against the flu, experts look at the viruses found in people who have been sick recently. They use that list of strains to predict the most prevalent in the upcoming flu season.
As they can only use statistics and their best guess, there is the chance another type of flu virus will appear. That’s why some people get the flu even after being vaccinated. But, the vaccination still helps lower the chance of severe symptoms and complications like pneumonia.
Do you need a break from caring for your parents? If you haven’t had time to schedule your flu shot, look into respite care services from your local caregiver agency.
Professional caregivers can stay and help your parents while you run errands and take care of overdue vaccinations like the yearly influenza vaccine or a TDAP booster. Call a caregiver specialist to make arrangements.