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As people around the world continue focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, the time of year when the seasonal flu begins to make its rounds is approaching. It’s important not to overlook the safety measures designed to protect us all from the influenza virus. Compared to the severity of the coronavirus, the flu may not seem as serious of a health risk.
The reality, however, is that the seasonal flu can still be deadly for seniors. In fact, seniors comprise nearly 85 percent of influenza-related deaths and up to 70 percent of hospitalizations in a typical year.
The annual flu vaccine is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to prevention, but it’s not the only one. Lifestyle also plays a key role in determining who will—and who won’t—get bitten by the flu bug.
How to Guard Against the Seasonal Flu
These last few recommendations are likely ones you’ve heard frequently since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but they bear repeating:
Finally, contact your physician at the first sign of the flu. There are prescription antiviral drugs that help lessen the severity of flu symptoms and may even be able to shorten the length of time you are sick. But these medications must be taken before the flu progresses too far.
Overcoming Flu Shot Myths
If a loved one is reluctant to have the flu shot, it might be tied to inaccurate information about the vaccine itself. Busting the 5 most common myths about flu shots describes common reasons seniors avoid the influenza vaccine and how you can address them.