Should People With Dementia Have The Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine, which is offered to help protect individuals at risk of flu and complications associated with it.
Every year, starting in Autumn, the vaccine is offered by the NHS. People of all ages can benefit from the flu jab. However, it is especially important for people over the age of 65 and individuals with certain health conditions, like heart disease or dementia.
Dementia & Flu
Individuals with dementia have an increased risk of severe illness, such as pneumonia, if they catch flu. For that reason, it is really important for those living with dementia to make the flu jab a priority when it becomes available in the autumn and winter months.
This is true even for individuals with dementia who are otherwise healthy, people in care homes and carers. The flu jab offers protection against flu and the complications that may arise from contracting it.
Flu Vaccine & Coronavirus
While the flu vaccine does not protect against coronavirus, research has shown that contracting flu and coronavirus at the same time can make you more likely to be seriously ill. Furthermore, if you’re at higher risk from coronavirus, you’re also at risk of problems from flu.
How To Get The Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine is given through an injection in the upper arm and can be administered at your GP surgery or a pharmacy. It is available to people who:
- Are 65 and over
- Have certain health conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, COPD, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, a weakened immune system or a neurological condition such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia
- Are pregnant
- Are in residential care
- Are a carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk
- Live with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus
- Work as frontline health or social care workers
When Should You Have The Flu Jab?
The NHS advises that the best time to have the flu vaccine is in autumn. However, it can be administered in winter, too. The reason for this is, as the weather gets colder, flu becomes more prevalent. Therefore, having the vaccine earlier in the season gives you protection earlier.
If you had the flu jab last year, you should still get it again this year’s flu strains change often and the most recent vaccine will target the most prevalent strains.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are eligible for the flu vaccine, speak to your GP who will advise you on the most appropriate course of action.