As winter clutches Northeast Ohio in its icy grip, snow, cold and icy road conditions are not the only concerns facing our elderly. One of the most dangerous factors the older generations face is influenza, or more commonly known as the flu.
According to the Ohio Department of Health: Seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. It is usually spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. However, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to appear all year long.
In today’s day and age you may think that the flu is of no large concern. ‘If you get it, you go to the doctor and he gives you some medicine and you go home’.
The influenza outbreak of 1918-19 killed between 50-100 million people worldwide. That’s the largest death toll by illness since the Black Death during the Middle Ages which lasted decades instead of only two years. (Source: CDC)
If you still think that was an illness of your parents or grandparents, think again. Those numbers may be outrageously high, but the Ohio Department of Health estimates that 200,000 people – mostly our elderly – are admitted into hospitals each year due to influenza. Of this number, 20,000 people die – each year.
But the answer is a simple one. Get a flu vaccination each year.
The reason the flu compromises the elderly is because people over the age of 65 have a weaker immune system than they did when they were younger. Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during each flu season. This is why you should get one every year.
This year, there are two types of flu shots. A regular dose flu shot and a higher dose flu shot designed for people of age 65 and older. The higher-dose vaccine should result in a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is right for you.
If you have any questions or concerns about getting a flu shot, feel free to contact our offices at Kabb Law (216) 991-KABB (5222).