The Fraser Health Authority is working to improve the flu shot’s effectiveness for seniors with a targeted vaccine program.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the latest vaccine was about 50 per cent effective overall, and only about 27 per cent effective for seniors. The flu vaccine's effectiveness varies from year to year depending on the type of strain.
"This year we know that it's been disappointing in some groups,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder with the Fraser Health Authority.
But the flu shot’s effectiveness tends to be even lower for seniors, who generally don't respond as well to the vaccine.
The Fraser Health Authority is working to change that with a targeted vaccine for seniors.
“In the Lower Mainland, we've started to use an alternate vaccine for the elderly, an adjuvanted vaccine, because we've known for some time we've need to use a better vaccine,” Buynder said.
An adjuvant is a substance used to boost the vaccine's effectiveness.
Van Buynder says the targeted flu shot was about 70 per cent effective last year.
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Watch A Comedy
If you're feeling well enough to watch a movie, make it a comedy. Research shows that <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter">laughing may actually boost your immune system</a>.
Take A Steam
Turn your bathroom into a steam room by running a hot shower. If you're too lightheaded to stand, sit on a chair or the closed toilet and breathe in the steam, which moistens your nasal passages and throat, and can help you relax.
Stir Up Some Homemade Hot Chocolate
If you make winter's classic warm drink at home, <em>you</em> control what goes into the mix. That can keep sugar in check with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/hot-chocolate_n_1048961.html">unsweetened cocoa powder</a> and cut back on fat by using <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/five-warm-drinks-health-coffee-tea-cider-chocolate_n_1025772.html#s425957&title=Hot_Chocolate">skim milk</a> -- plus you can still reap the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chocolate-stroke-prevention_n_1004426.html">health benefits of chocolate</a>, like a boost in heart health, a drop in blood pressure and lifted spirits. And if you're suffering from a flu or cold virus, the added hydration boost can only help your body's capacity for fighting the infection. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/23536504@N07/3448676406/" target="_hplink">lisa_eglinton</a></em>
Enjoy Homemade Soup
Sipping soup, especially broth, is bound to feel good, while providing you with the nutrients you need to fight your infection. It's also an easy way to <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17574705" target="_hplink">eat healthfully</a> without feeling weighed down. And homemade beats canned soups or restaurant servings, which are often loaded with sodium. Making your own hearty meal in a bowl cuts back on salt and also gives you the chance to load it up with healthy winter veggies. Try these tasty <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-patricia-fitzgerald/soup-recipes_b_1173275.html" target="_hplink">winter soup recipes</a> from HuffPost Wellness Editor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-patricia-fitzgerald" target="_hplink">Dr. Patricia Fitzgerald</a>.
Play A Board Game
Just as you want to keep your body active when you're stuck indoors, exercising your gray matter is a great idea, too. Depending on the objective, board games can test your powers of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/16/games-for-midlife-women_n_1087369.html" target="_hplink">memory, logic and problem solving</a>. So dust off that old Scrabble board, serve up the hot chocolate and challenge a friend or family member to a round. Don't already own any games? Many can be easily downloaded as smartphone or tablet apps.
Take A Nap
Sleep, sleep, sleep. We probably don't even have to tell you to this one, as you're bound to be feeling wiped out. But try to support your sleep schedule by timing caffeine intake (from coffee, tea or even medications) so that it doesn't interfere with your naps.
Enjoy Your Alone Time
If you find yourself repeatedly wishing for more hours in the day, take some time to kick back and relax. Being out sick is the perfect excuse to stay away from your email and phone. What's more, <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/homecare/">the CDC recommends avoiding contact with the people around you</a> when you're contagious.