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December is Aging Influenza Month

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death[1]. It is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.[2].  Since the immune system weakens as people age, adults age 65 years and older are more vulnerable to the flu[3]. During a regular flu season, about 90% of deaths occur in people 65 years and older1. It is important all seniors get the flu vaccine.

People who have the flu often show these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)

Older adults have two options for vaccination2:

  • The regular dose flu shot
  • And the higher-dose flu shot designed specifically for people 65 and older.

Both vaccines protect against the same three flu viruses2. Medicare will cover the flu vaccine once every flu season. Getting the flu vaccine protects you and prevents you from spreading the flu to your spouse, children, or grandchildren. If you develop flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.

[1] “Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2017.

[2] “Seasonal Influenza: Flu Basics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 July 2014. Web. 25 Nov. 2017.

[3] “Seniors.” At Risk for the Flu. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2017.

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