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Cold and Flu

Flu Shots for Obese & Elderly

11/02/2011

Question:

I heard on the news today that flu shots are not as effective in the obese and the elderly.

I am obese and going on 60 y.o. Does that mean that I might as well not have a flu shot because it wouldn`t be as effective for me as it is for younger and thinner people?

I am generally very healthy if you don`t count the fact that I am obese. I have no chronic illnesses, my blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, etc., etc. are all excellent without taking any medications, and I rarely get sick with the colds etc. that are "going around."

On the other hand, I work in an office where it seems like all the so-called "healthy" people, meaning not obese, are always sick - so I`ve always gotten a flu shot just in case.

Should I just skip it because it doesn`t work for me anyway because I am obese and getting closer to counting as elderly? They give flu shots at work, next week in fact, but it costs $30 and if it wouldn`t work for me anyway I have other uses for that $30.

Answer:

Although the flu shots may not be 100% effective for any group of people, they are thought to make the chances of getting influenza less. In those situations where the vaccine does not completely prevent the flu, most times the vaccine makes the flu symptoms less severe. Ask your physician what he or she recommends for you.

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Response by:

John  Andrews, MD, MPH John Andrews, MD, MPH
Assistant Senior Vice President Medical Center
Director University Health Services
University of Cincinnati