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Don’t take any chances, get your flu shot this fall

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BY BOB MOOS Southwest public affairs officer U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services

 

The flu is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re an older adult.

About 226,000 Americans will land in the hospital this year as a result of the flu and its complications, and anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 will die from flu-related illnesses. Adults 65 and older will account for 60 percent of the hospital stays and 90 percent of the deaths.

As people age, their immune system typically weakens and their ability to ward off diseases declines. That puts older adults at increased risk of the flu. Moreover, the virus can cause complications for those already struggling with chronic health problems. 

As flu season approaches this fall, you’ll want to wash your hands and stay away from sick people to reduce the spread of germs. But as useful as those preventive steps are, an annual vaccination remains the best way to help protect yourself against the flu virus.

You have several flu shot options. Besides the traditional flu vaccine that helps protect against three strains of the virus, there’s now a “quadrivalent” vaccine that helps protect against four strains.


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