Time for Your Flu Shot, Seniors

Sep 25th, 2010 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Flu season generally occurs during the cold half of the season in each hemisphere, thus November-April in the North.  The CDC is warning that the H1N1 virus could show up again this season (2010).  Senior citizens need to arrange now to get their flu shots.  The CDC cautions, “Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as vaccine is available this fall. While flu is unpredictable, it’s likely that 2009 H1N1 viruses and regular seasonal viruses will cause illness in the U.S. this flu season. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.”

Seniors can get their shots from their primary physician; in addition, many nationwide pharmacies and outpatient/walk-in clinics are offering flu shots also.  Medicare and most health insurance plans cover the cost of the injection.

An interesting study recently revealed the link between flu shots and reduced risk for heart attack.  The Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that people over 40 who got the flu shot were 19% less likely
to have a first-time heart attack than those who didn’t get the shot.  Reducing heart attack risk is certainly on the minds of many of us senior citizens and it appears there is some connection between getting the shot and cardiovascular response.  Researchers postulate it may be that the shot prevents flu that would otherwise compromise heart functioning.

The CDC also advises flu shots should be given to everyone over 50, caregivers for elderly, seniors living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and people at risk for complications from the flu (those with respiratory issues, diabetics, asthmatics, cancer patients, and low-mobility elderly, etc).  Because the vaccine is made from flu viruses that have been killed, getting the shot cannot cause you to get the flu.

All SCJ readers are encouraged to call their primary care physician or go to their local Walgreens, CVS, or locally-owned pharmacy to get their flu shots before the season is in full swing.



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