As you get older, your doctor may recommend vaccinations—shots—to help prevent certain illnesses and to keep you healthy.
Talk with your doctor about which of the following shots you need, and make sure to protect yourself by keeping your vaccinations up to date.
Flu, short for influenza is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from flu, such as pneumonia.
The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it over and over again. When the virus changes, annual flu shot ingredients change. Also, the protection you get from a flu shot lessens with time, especially in older people. That’s why most people (age 6 months and older) should get the flu shot each year.
Ideally, you should get your shot between September and November. Then, you may be protected when the flu season starts. It takes at least 2 weeks for your shot to start working. There are special flu shots designed specifically for people age 65 and older. Medicare will pay for the shot, and so will many private health insurance plans. You can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office or local health department, as well as some grocery and drug stores. The vaccine is the same wherever you receive it.