ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Office for the Aging is reminding older New Yorkers to get the flu shot as soon as possible.
According to the office, older adults are among those at greater risk for serious complications from influenza.
“The best way to protect against the flu is to get an annual flu shot,” New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said. “Our immune systems are more easily compromised as we age, and older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, have an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Getting the flu vaccine helps prevent the spread of the virus and offers vital protection for older adults and their caregivers.”
Flu season begins as early as October and can last as late as May.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Health officials say adults aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women are among those who are at highest risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death.
The Office for Aging says federal health officials have noted that fewer older adults have been getting vaccinated each year.
The CDC recommends the following actions for older adults:
- Get your annual flu shot by the end of October, if possible. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later.
- Practice good health habits, including covering coughs, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick.
- Seek medical advice quickly if you develop flu symptoms to see whether you might need medical evaluation or treatment with antiviral drugs. It’s very important that antiviral drugs be used early to treat flu in people who are very sick with the flu (for example, people who are in the hospital), and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications, like people 65 and older. A full list of high-risk factors is available at “People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.”
- Get pneumococcal vaccines. People who 65 years and older should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. Talk to your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.
For more information on the flu and flu vaccine clinics in New York State, please visit the New York State Department of Health: www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/what_everyone_should_know.htm.