The various strains of influenza virus undergo mutations every year, so vaccinations must be given on an annual basis in order to reduce the risk of the elderly contracting the flu virus. Those elderly patients who do contract the virus may suffer from more severe symptoms alongside more health complications than the general population. For the elderly, the flu has the potential to cause a failure of the respiratory system and even death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends that influenza vaccinations consist of four major strains of the influenza virus, namely two strains from the A type of virus and two strains from the B type of virus. Such vaccinations help to stimulate the body’s immune system and are effective in preventing the flu virus up to 90% of the time, depending on the vaccination’s compatibility with the strain currently being spread.
Additionally, the vaccinations are completely safe and can help to reduce the risk of patients developing numerous other respiratory health conditions – including decreasing the risk of otitis media developing in newborns and infants. Immediately after receiving the vaccination, the patient may experience a slight fever for 1–2 days, after which they will feel better.