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Senior Health Tip #9:  Get The Right Flu Shot Right Away

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s extremely important that seniors get their usual seasonal influenza shot, and get it now, rather than waiting. Although the H1N1 (swine) flu is not affecting seniors at the rates it is youngsters and young adults, ask your doctor if you are a candidate for the H1N1 vaccine after the high-risk populations have received theirs. Also ask about being vaccinated against pneumonia, if you haven’t been already. “Adults are recommended to receive the pneumococcal vaccine if they have chronic medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, chronic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and so forth,” said Dr. Schuchat during last week’s CDC flu update. “When people are going in for their seasonal flu vaccines right now, we urge them to consider the pneumococcal vaccine, which is available right now…I do want to remind people about our guidance on antiviral medicine used because this is such an important tool we have to reduce illness complications of influenza, whether it's the H1N1 or regular flu. People who have severe illness, who are hospitalized or who have other warning signs can greatly benefit from antiviral medicine [like Tamiflu]. People who have the influenza-like symptoms and have conditions that make it possible they would have a worse time with flu should also receive antiviral medicine. That includes people with asthma, diabetes, immunosuppression, and the very old and the very young.” The CDC has a website, flu.gov, with information and updates. To get all your important questions answered, you can go directly to: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1flu/vaccination/vaccine_seniors.htm

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