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Sharon Basaraba

Older Adults at Greatest Risk From Flu

By December 5, 2012

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The holidays might be right around the corner, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies are betting there's one gift you don't want: the seasonal flu.  That's why they launched National Influenza Vaccination Week back in 2005, to let people know that getting a flu shot is still the best protection against influenza.

If you're over 50, the CDC says you need to be vaccinated.  As you age, your immune system might be weaker, leaving you less able to fight off a serious influenza virus.  The numbers tell the story: patients over the age of 65 account for 60% of hospitalizations due to the flu, and for a full 90% of deaths caused by the disease.

Much of the most serious illness associated with influenza arises as complications in people already battling some kind of chronic condition, like heart disease or asthma.  Flu can make a difficult disease much more serious, even life-threatening.

Don't take a chance!  Once vaccinated, it takes your body about two weeks to develop full immunity, which lasts for six months or so.   Since flu season can last till April or May, a flu shot still offers you great protection -- even if you haven't rolled up your sleeve yet.


It's Your Health: Influenza. Health Canada Public Information Sheet. Accessed December 4, 2012.

Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Information Sheet. Accessed December 4, 2012.

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