Flu and Other Health Issues
The 2012-13 flu season will start in October and can last for more than six months says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to the CDC, the best prevention to getting the flu is to get a vaccination.
For older adults, the seasonal flu can be very serious. According to flu.gov, each year in the U.S., deaths from flu-related causes range from 3,300 to 48,600 (average of 23,600) and more than 200,000 are hospitalized from serious flu complications. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.
CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that certain people should get vaccinated each year. Most of these people are recommended for vaccination because they are at high risk of having serious flu complications or they live with or care for people at high risk for serious complications. It is recommended that individuals working in health facilities, including nursing homes, and people who live in long-term care facilities get vaccinated.
Actions To Take This Flu Season
Get The Flu Shot
Getting vaccinated means not only protecting yourself but not spreading the flu to others. CDC recommends getting the vaccine as soon as it becomes available as it can take the body about two weeks to build up immunity.
This flu season, people 65 years and older will have two flu shots available to choose from - a regular dose flu vaccine and a new flu vaccine designed specifically for people 65 and older with a higher dose. Both vaccines will protect against the same three flu viruses.
Everyday Preventive Actions
- Avoid people who are sick with the flu
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands often
- Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Practice good health habits, such as eating properly, getting enough sleep and exercise
- Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food
Seek Medical Advice Flu Symptoms Develop Quickly
In some cases, a medical evaluation or treatement with antiviral drugs is necessary. It is important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people.
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 and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
- fever (often high)
- extreme tiredness
- dry cough
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle aches
- stomach symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, may be present
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunization Rates among Medicare Beneficiaries, April 2012
This report released by AARP found that immunization rates among older African Americans and Hispanics are lower than those for Whites.