Influenza is so common that sometimes the risk it poses is overlooked. But the truth is, the flu can cause serious illness that leads to hospitalization or even death – especially when the virus is coupled with a significant underlying health condition. Despite the availability of the flu vaccine, some still resist, in some cases falling prey to the misguided notion that the vaccine causes the flu. This is fiction.
“We’ve had influenza vaccines for many years, and the components have been refined and formulations are now safer than ever,” says William Russell, M.D., Managing Partner, Conviva Care Center® Palm Beach. “We continue to push hard to get flu vaccines into the arms of everyone, especially those in a high-risk category.”
Dr. Russell said scientists and doctors continue to learn more about the flu, including its effects on certain age groups. “If you look at the general population, those seniors 86 and above are at the greatest risk and need the vaccination the most,” he said. “COVID technology is relatively new, but the influenza technology has been refined over many, many years. It’s safe and effective and the best way to protect you and your family.”
The reason a person might think they are getting the flu following a flu shot is the natural response of the body’s immune system. “You don’t get the flu from a flu shot, and any symptoms are normally very mild,” said Dr. Russell.
Respiratory viruses can be devastating to older adults, but are largely preventable with immunizations that preserve a good quality of life. “It’s always good to talk to your primary care physician because they know science, and they know you,” said Dr. Russell. “They will help in the decision-making process of which flu vaccine works best for you based on dosage and formulation.”
In Palm Beach, well over 90 percent of at-risk seniors have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, well into flu season, Dr. Russell and his team remain on-message that people can receive a COVID-19 vaccination and a flu shot at the same time, without fear of complications or severe side effects.
“Make no mistake about it – Flu A and Flu B are always out there ready and waiting to pounce, so the best defense is to maintain your health by getting a flu shot,” says Dr. Russell. “It’s smart to protect yourself and your family. What we saw during the pandemic was, in many cases, people behaving with incredible responsibility, and we’re hopeful that same behavior carries over as we get further into flu season.”
At Conviva Care Center, the mission is one of service to its senior population. Fulfilling its mission requires living the values and delivering on the promises of doing whatever it takes to make sure patients age well. More than eight million seniors reside in Florida and caring for their unique needs is Conviva’s biggest priority.
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