An important way to age well in Jewish Cincinnati this winter is to prevent illness. The seasonal flu can cause serious complications, in particular for those 65 and older, but can often be prevented by getting a vaccine.
December 3-9 is National Influenza VaccineWeek (NIVW), an initiative established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. The CDC chose December for NIVW to remind people that even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. AgeWell Cincinnati joins the CDC to remind older adults, their family members, friends, and caregivers of the importance of getting a flu vaccine.
People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu. However, there are people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, including people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart or lung diseases, and older adults. Immune defenses become weaker with age, which puts older adults at great risk for influenza. For people at high risk, getting the flu can be more serious than for other people; flu is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death.
December 3-9 is National Influenza Vaccine Week (NIVW), an initiative established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.
Last winter, only 40 percent of the US population recommended to get a flu vaccine reported having been vaccinated by the end of November. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February. Flu activity can sometimes last through the month of May.
Our goal at AgeWell Cincinnati is to make sure you know how to protect yourself and your family members and loved ones against the flu.
You should know:
- Anyone who gets the flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness.
- Family members and caregivers can help prevent the spread of influenza in your family by encouraging every family member to get an annual flu shot, even if the older adult you care for has been vaccinated.
- Medical experts recommend that everyone 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccination. This not only helps prevent the spread of influenza between individuals, it may help save the lives of those most at risk for severe and fatal complications from the flu.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases proposes that flu outbreaks in cold weather may be due to the opening of schools and the tendency for people to stay inside near others. Both of these factors increase the opportunity for viruses to spread.
The best way to avoid an infection is to limit your exposure to the viruses.
- Stay away from infected people.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes and nose.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Clean surfaces with a disinfectant that may be infected with viruses.
Some of us, including me, have experienced a holiday gathering be less festive because Mom was too sick to prepare her favorite meals, or family members had to stay home because the children were sick with the flu. Or worse, everyone comes together to enjoy that special time, only to be sick with the flu a few days later!
Remember – getting vaccinated not only protects you, but also protects your loved ones and your community. The more people that are vaccinated, the less chance the flu virus has to spread.
So be prepared and prepare your family—get your flu shot! It’s not too late. Be well through the holidays and beyond.
If you need information about where to get a flu shot, AgeWell Cincinnati can help. Just call us at (513) 766-3333 or visit agewellcincy.org.