Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization, especially among children and elderly over the age of 65 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the risk of hospitalization is one in five during the flu season. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu vaccine every season. A new study has revealed that flu immunizations with four times the strength of standard flu shots significantly reduces the risk hospitalization of the elderly during the influenza season.
For the study, researchers analyzed more than 50,000 participants 65-years old and older from 823 nursing homes in 38 US states. They observed that the group that received the high dose vaccine had a 19.7% hospital admission rate versus 20.9% in admission for those who received the standard dose vaccine.
lead author of the study Stefan Gravenstein from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, US, said, "If given to all approximately 1.5 million nursing home residents, a 1% drop in hospitalizations would translate to thousands fewer being hospitalized. Flu in a nursing home population is a major cause of hospitalizations. In addition to pneumonia, flu can contribute to heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes, especially in an older nursing home population where it can easily spread among residents."
The findings were presented at the Infectious Diseases Society of America meeting in San Diego, California, US.