Protect yourself and others with the flu shot

Fall brings the promise of cooler temperatures and reminds us flu season is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to protect yourself and family, especially aging loved ones, from this potentially deadly ailment. 

The CDC reports that annually, the flu is responsible for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Most at risk are adults 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and those with asthma or heart disease. 

The flu can lead to additional ailments including pneumonia, bronchitis, and certain infections. Additionally, those who suffer with chronic conditions may have exacerbated symptoms due to flu-related complications. 

The flu can be particularly dangerous to the elder population, and exposure could be deadly. Even those who do not present symptoms of the flu can actually carry the disease and put this vulnerable population at risk. A simple visit from a family member can be dangerous for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. 

There are several misconceptions about the flu shot including that it can actually cause the flu to develop. While some people still get sick with the flu after getting the shot, it is not linked to the vaccination itself. Research has shown that those who do get the flu after receiving the flu shot are less likely to experience hospitalization from the disease, and the shot significantly reduces the risk of death associated with the illness. Serious reactions to the shot are rare. 

In order to help prevent the spread of the flu, annual vaccination is essential. According to immunize.org, the influenza virus changes from year to year, and the vaccine can lose its effectiveness after six months. 

While some allergies may prevent people from getting the flu shot, the CDC recommends it for everyone six months old and older and especially for those with extenuating health circumstances. Protect yourself and especially your aging loved ones. Get your flu shot now and encourage them to do the same.