RSV & Seniors - Should You Get the Vaccine?

In this blog, we will look at RSV, as well as some helpful information about the vaccine.
RSV & Seniors - Should You Get the Vaccine?

RSV in the Elderly

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an illness that can cause serious health problems for older adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 10,000 older people die each year in the U.S. from RSV. The illness can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening respiratory infections.

Fortunately, a vaccine has been developed for RSV. In this blog, we will look at RSV, as well as some helpful information about the vaccine.

What is RSV?

RSV is a virus that causes infections either in the lungs, or the respiratory tract. The illness can be a very serious threat to people 60 or older, who have chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or chronic heart failure.

For older adults, RSV is normally spread through human contact. Whether it’s from being around someone with the virus who is coughing or sneezing, or touching one’s face after being in contact with an infected person, RSV can quickly be spread to others.

Covid vaccine, plaster and doctor with patient in a health consultation at a retirement house. Nurse, healthcare worker and elderly woman with a bandaid on her arm after a treatment in a nursing home
Good-looking elderly female nutrition expert sitting in living-room at table using laptop, holding bottle of vitamins writing article with advices how to select supplements for good healthy skin

The Symptoms of RSV

Depending on a person’s overall health, or the presence of chronic conditions, the symptoms of RSV can vary. However, most people experience the following:

• Stuffy Congestion

• Bad Cough

• Shortness of Breath

• Wheezing

• Loss of Energy

Because RSV is a virus, it cannot be eradicated with anti-biotics.

The RSV Vaccine

The RSV vaccine works by injecting an inactivated RSV protein into the body. The protein quickly penetrates host cells, which prepares the immune system to recognize the actual virus if it appears. If the RSV virus is introduced, the infected person’s is much better able to fight it.

Currently, the FDA has approved two RSV vaccines in the U.S. for people 60 or older.

• RSVPreF3 (Arexvy)

• RSVpreF (Abrysvo)

Senior woman hugging another woman that received a vaccine

Who Should Take the RSV Vaccine?

Adults 60 or older should talk to their doctor about getting the RSV vaccine. There is no age limit to receive it. If an older person has a weakened immune system from an illness, or a chronic health condition, the RSV vaccine is recommended. The vaccine can be administered in one dose.

Both vaccines on the market today have an 83% to 89% effective rate of preventing RSV for individuals with healthy immune systems.

Elderly man reading news on digital tablet. Mature male wearing glasses and using portable computer at home

RSV Vaccine Side Effects

Most older adults do not experience serious side effects from the RSV vaccine. Some people report mild pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Other side effects include fever, fatigue, headache, nausea, muscle or joint pain, and even diarrhea.

Over the counter pain medications such as Tylenol, Aleve, or Advil will usually provide relief from discomfort. If side effects last more than a few days, it’s important to contact the person’s doctor.

The RSV Vaccine for Seniors

For seniors 60 and older, RSV is a serious medical condition that should not be taken lightly, as it can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory ailments. Getting the RSV vaccine is a good way to minimize the risk of being infected.

At Frontier Senior Living, we make our residents’ physical, mental and spiritual health a top priority. If you would like to learn more about our services, we invite you to visit one of our beautiful communities, take a tour, and visit with our caring and compassionate staff.

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