We all know how horrible it is to catch the flu, so what can you do to prevent getting it this winter?
The flu (influenza) is a contagious illness that can be serious or life threatening, even for healthy adults. The CDC says that people over the age of 65 are at higher risk for complications associated with the flu, so it’s very important for older adults to be diligent when it comes to prevention!
Here are some things you can do:
1. Get a flu shot! While the CDC recommends getting your shot as early as October, it’s never too late to get one- you can even get one in January! It’s important to get your flu shot every year, because they change the vaccine just a bit to keep up with the changing virus. There’s even a special flu shot just for people over 65! Ask your doctor which vaccine is right for you
Note: People 65 years of age and older should not get the nasal spray flu vaccine (which is not recommended for use in any population for the 2016-17 season), the intradermal flu shot, or jet injector flu vaccine.
2. Practice good health habits! These include washing your hands regularly with soap and water, covering your cough and avoiding people who are sick.
3. Be in tune with your body! If you start to experience any flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, aches and pains, chills, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhea), don’t chance it, and head to the doctor! The doctor may be able to give you antiviral medications to help you feel better.
4. Get pneumococcal vaccines. For those over 65 years old, a pneumococcal vaccine can protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and some blood infections.
We hope you have a happy and flu free New Year!
For more information and resources, visit the National Council on Aging’s site all about the flu!