The season is here, not for the holidays, but the flu.
Attitudes toward flu shots tend to fall into three distinct camps: people who are first in line as soon as the vaccine is available, those who think getting the shot doesn’t prevent the flu anyway, and many, many who keep putting it off, hoping they will get lucky and miss the flu season unscathed.
While it’s important for people of all ages to give flu vaccination serious consideration, those over 65 are especially susceptible to the getting the flu because the immune system is weaker. Despite the wealth of information available about the importance of flu shots and relatively easy access to the vaccine, many older adults are still not getting the vaccine.
Estimates suggest that one in three older adults skips the flu vaccine each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, immunization rates for this group are at 65 percent for over 15 years. This is especially interesting, as news of death related to flu and related illnesses is reported. The CDC reports that between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans, primarily older adults, have died each flu season for 30 years through 2007.
Older adults help themselves by getting flu shots, but they also benefit when everyone else gets one. Researcher Glen Taksler, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic Medicine’s Institute says older adults are less likely to get the flu if they live in communities where younger, healthy adults get the vaccine.
To find out about the 2015-2016 flu season and how to best protect yourself, click here.
There are a number of places to get the vaccine to stay ahead of flu season: your physician’s office, a local pharmacy and area senior and community centers. Try this flu shot locator to identify places near you.