What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Actions To Take This Flu Season

1. Get Your Seasonal & 2009 H1N1 Flu Shot

The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu vaccine. People 65 years and older are recommended for annual seasonal flu vaccination. People 65 and older who have not yet gotten a seasonal flu vaccine should still seek vaccination, although supplies of seasonal flu vaccine are limited because of early availability of, and high interest in, seasonal flu vaccine this year.

People 65 years and older are now encouraged to seek vaccination against 2009 H1N1 vaccine if local supply is sufficient. Supplies of the vaccines to protect against the 2009 H1N1 virus are increasing and many places have opened up vaccination to anyone who wants it. This vaccine is the best way to protect against the 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus. Those who have been patiently waiting to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, including people 65 years and older, are now encouraged to get vaccinated depending on local supply. 

2. Take Everyday Preventive Actions including covering coughs, washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick.

3. Seek medical advice quickly if you develop flu symptoms to see whether you might need medical evaluation or possibly treatment with antiviral medications. People 65 and older are prioritized to get antiviral drugs if they become sick with the flu according to CDC’s guidance. Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, including 2009 H1N1, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

People 65 Years and Older and Seasonal Flu
It has been recognized for many years that older people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults. It’s estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older. This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age. So influenza can be a very serious disease for people 65 and older.

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