May 7, 2021 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Protect Yourself Against The Flu, A Deadly Virus:

While the Ebola virus is capturing national and international headlines on a daily basis, another more common virus will kill thousands of people in the United States this year. That virus is influenza, more commonly called “the flu.”

The influenza virus causes a contagious respiratory illness that can infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Signs or symptoms of flu often include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The flu is spread when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk, sending droplets into the air, then the mouths or noses of people nearby. The flu can be passed onto others as early as one day before the symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people with weakened immune systems may be carriers of the virus for an even longer period of time. That’s why it’s so important for people to stay home when they are ill.

At Greater Risk

Our immune system becomes weaker with age. As a result, older people are at greater risk for severe illness from influenza. Older people are also more at risk for developing complications from the flu, which often are the driving force for hospitalizations. These complications include:

• Bacterial pneumonia

• Ear infections

• Dehydration

• Sinus infections and

• Worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, diabetes and asthma/COPD.

According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for last flu season, more than 88 percent of those age 65 or older with the flu needed hospitalization.

Flu Prevention

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot each season, and the single biggest reason people forgo getting a flu shot is the belief it might give them the flu. That is a myth. You cannot get the flu from a flu shot because the vaccine contains no live virus.

There are several vaccine options for the current flu season. Traditional flu vaccines, known as “trivalent vaccines,” protect against three different flu viruses. This season, there is also a flu vaccine called “quadrivalent” that protects against four different flu strains. In addition, there is a more potent vaccine produced for people 65 years or older that is often referred to as the Fluzone or high-dose vaccine. It contains four times the amount of antigen contained in regular flu shots.

Why get a high-dose flu shot? The answer lies with your age. Because aging also decreases the body’s ability to generate a good immune response from the influenza vaccine, studies have shown that those 65 or older develop stronger immunity after vaccination with the high-dose version.

Although the CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another for people 65 years or older, it does recommend flu vaccination as the first and foremost step in protecting against the flu.

So get vaccinated before flu season hits home. While you are at it, make sure you are current with other key vaccines to protect against pneumonia, shingles and tetanus. Prevention begins with you!

Dr. Grace Chen is a board-certified geriatrician with the highly regarded UCLA Geriatrics Program in Santa Monica and Westwood. For more information, call 310.319.4371 or visit uclahealth.org.

in Health
Related Posts

Motherly Mindfulness in a Pandemic

April 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

This last year has been a whirlwind for everyone, and if you’re a mother, chances are it has redefined your...

Beverly Hill’s Latest Craze is The “Busso” Experience

March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

Dr. Mariano Busso, one of the world’s leading experts in cosmetic fillers and facial rejuvenation, has opened up additional appointment times...

The Pandemic of 2020: Lessons Learned

March 9, 2021

March 9, 2021

The 2020 pandemic took the country by surprise. Many people lost their small businesses, income, and quality of life. However,...

The Best Ways for Women to Get and Stay Healthy

March 1, 2021

March 1, 2021

We all want to live our happiest and healthiest lives, but it is very easy to get overwhelmed with information....

4 Tips on How to Succeed in Life

February 26, 2021

February 26, 2021

We all want to be successful in our lives, in our careers, and in our passions but sometimes we do...

3 Ways to Restore Self Esteem and Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle in 2021

February 25, 2021

February 25, 2021

Every year we start filled with resolutions, hope, and determination. We know that after the year we’ve just had, 2021...

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Living Alone

February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021

Everyone needs to be cheered up once in a while. This can be especially true of someone who lives alone....

A Renewed Focus on Living

February 21, 2021

February 21, 2021

The pandemic caused turmoil for many Americans, emotionally and financially. With 2020 now in the rear-view mirror, people are using...

Don’t Make These 3 Fitness Mistakes

February 20, 2021

February 20, 2021

The great thing about the internet is that we now have access to a plethora of fitness content then ever...

5 Promising Medical Breakthroughs On The Horizon

February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021

Although we’re in a worldwide pandemic, many of us are still enjoying the comfort and convenience of being cared for...

Santa Monica Pier Closed for Five Days in a Row

January 13, 2021

January 13, 2021

City cites warm weather forecasted for Santa Monica By Sam Catanzaro With temperatures reaching the 80s expected, city officials are...

Do You Make These 3 New Year Resolution Mistakes?

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Every new year, you feel a ray of hope. Perhaps this year, you can start your life all over again,...

Activities to do with your children during COVID-19

January 4, 2021

January 4, 2021

Typically, living in LA means eating out, art museums, and playgrounds– all things children love. With numbers of COVID-19 cases...

PIQUE Health Not Your Average Medical Practice

December 7, 2020

December 7, 2020

PIQUE Health is the very first comprehensive mens health center in Beverly Hills. With highly personalized treatment plans that fit...

Helping Older Loved Ones Pick a Retirement Home

December 3, 2020

December 3, 2020

There comes a time when a loved one needs some help to stay safe, which is when a retirement home...