This post is made possible by the American Lung Association, in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
My mom was always the fun mom on the block. All the kids wanted to be at our house. If we were climbing on the monkey bars in the back yard, chances are, mom was right there with us. We went hiking, cave exploring, boating and antique hunting. As mom got older, she began to slow down a bit, but not much!
When I had young kids, mom would take them to the park. She was running and chasing them faster than I was! But by the time she reached age 65, things changed. Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and shortly after, with COPD. This experience changed mom. Instead of participating in the fun, for the most part, she watched from the sidelines.
One thing we did learn was the importance of a flu shot for older adults. Because mom was older and had a chronic health condition, her doctor told us if she got the flu, it could worsen her symptoms. This was a huge concern for us as mom already struggled with COPD.
We also found out that several studies have shown there is an increased risk for stroke or heart attack in the few days following a flu infection. Because mom worked in customer service, she was exposed to many people every day. This meant her risk for getting the flu was even greater. With all these factors in mind, mom’s doctor went over the information about the influenza vaccine with us.
When mom was 78, she got the flu. She admitted she had not gotten her flu shot for a few years. Mom was put in the hospital for complications related to the flu. Because mom was in a weakened state, her body began to shut down.
While my sisters and I were at her bedside, she passed away two days before Christmas. We learned the hard way that getting a flu shot can help reduce the risk of getting the flu and in return potentially dying from the flu.
You can imagine we were more determined than ever to get our flu shot every year. Whenever I can, I try to educate people I know about the importance of a flu shot, especially for older adults. I just can’t help but think what may have happened if mom had gotten hers in those last few years.
If you or someone you love is 50 years of age and older, please go to the American Lung Association’s GetMyShot.org to learn more and speak with your healthcare provider about flu vaccine options that may be right for you.
And remember, even if you get the flu after getting a flu shot, it may make your symptoms milder. It can also potentially help you avoid or reduce hospitalization stay or more severe complications.