A WARNING SHOT
Flu season is upon us. So it's time to roll up your sleeves.
People 65 years and older are more vulnerable toinfluenza-the flu-and are at high risk for serious complications, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Strikingly, about 30 percent of this age group don't get a flu vaccine. Especially susceptible to the flu are those who also have chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or cancer.
Flu season is upon us-outbreaks can begin as early as October. It peaks in January or later. "Vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and the people you love against this serious disease," says the CDC.
The symptoms of flu can include high fever, sore throat, headache, coughing, fatigue and muscle aches. Worse, the flu can exacerbate existing health conditions and cause bacterial pneumonia and dehydration. According to the CDC,serious flu complications are responsible for 200,000 hospitalizations each year-half of them occurring in people 65 and older. The flu causes an average 36,000 deaths each year.
It takes about two weeks after the vaccine for the body to build up its immunity to the flu virus. That's why the CDC recommends that people get it as soon as it becomes available. To learn where to get the vaccine, call your doctor,local health department or pharmacy. For more, call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO orvisit its Web site at www.cdc.gov/flu.