Illinois Department on Aging reminds seniors to get flu shots
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[September 18, 2009]
SPRINGFIELD -- September is
Healthy Aging Month and Illinois Department on Aging Director
Charles D. Johnson is urging older adults to get flu shots to
protect themselves. The season for flu, formally called influenza,
starts in the fall and runs through spring. Among people at
increased risk for the flu are older adults, including those who
have certain chronic health conditions.
"People ages 50 and older should arm themselves for the upcoming flu
season by getting a flu shot. Public health officials recommend that
getting the seasonal flu shot is the best way to protect yourselves
and your family from the flu, especially older adults who are
considered at risk from complications of the flu," Johnson said.
"This flu season is expected to be worse because the H1N1 flu will
be circulating at the same time as the seasonal flu, so people
should also check with their health care provider for the
availability of the H1N1 vaccine."
As much as 20 percent of people
nationwide get the seasonal flu each year. About 200,000 people
experience complications from the flu and have to be hospitalized.
And about 36,000 die each year from the flu. Flu symptoms include
fever (usually high), headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore
throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, and sometimes diarrhea
The flu is spread through coughing or sneezing. In addition to
getting a flu shot, people are encouraged to use good sanitary
measures, such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or
sneezing, washing hands, and staying away from others when sick.
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The seasonal flu shot does not protect against H1N1. A vaccine for
the H1N1 flu, which is separate from the seasonal flu vaccine,
should be available in mid-October. The H1N1 vaccine is intended to
be used in addition to the seasonal flu vaccine. Information about
seasonal flu and H1N1 is available at
For more information about program services to assist older
adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the Department on
Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or, for hearing-impaired
use only, call TTY 1-888-206-1327.
Department on Aging file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]