Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shots offered to seniors to ward off flu

September 18. 2013 11:14PM
Times Leader Staff

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MOOSIC — Agencies on Aging from Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties are collaborating for an event called Flu + You to give flu shots for residents older than 65 years Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be flu experts on hand to answer questions about the virus.

More than 12,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with flu symptoms during last year’s season, and more than 50 percent of those were older than 65.

About 10 percent of all cases of influenza and pneumonia, a disease commonly caused by the flu, resulted in death, according to a summary by the Centers for Disease Control.

There are 12,000 residents older than 65 in the event’s three targeted counties, and the CDC reports 67 percent of that age group got a flu shot last year. The federal agency recommends a yearly flu shot as the single most effective way to ward off the virus.

In addition to the flu shot, Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne and Wyoming Counties recommends those 65 and older should consider a secondary shot to further boost immunity to the flu virus, said agency Executive Director Trula Hollywood.

Hollywood recommends the expected list of flu-fighting habits. Frequent hand-washing and using hand sanitizer whenever it’s available are good ways to keep germs and bacteria from spreading.

Antioxidants fight off the flu. Blueberries, strawberries, broccoli and pecans are all high in antioxidants and support the body’s defense system. As far as supplements go, Hollywood recommends zinc and Vitamin C, but taking them should first be approved by a physician, “especially if they are taking several medicines,” she said.

Anytime illness sets in for a person who is inactive, the risk rises of catching pneumonia because blood flow is slow. Keep moving, whatever it takes, Hollywood said.

Staying active also improves mood, she said. Those in wheelchairs can raise their heart rate by doing simple exercise while sitting.

“This is my belief, and I think that most people will agree, the more active you are will, the happier you will be and the longer you live,” Hollywood said.

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