Seniors Beware, Flu Season is Here - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Seniors Beware, Flu Season is Here

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SALISBURY, Md.- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported this flu season has been taking its toll on senior citizens.

According to the CDC, seniors account for approximately 60 percent of the people who are admitted to the hospital because of the flu, while they also account for about 90 percent of flu- related deaths.

Given that seniors have a weakened immune system, they cannot develop antibodies to fight off the infection.

"Even though they were vaccinated, they may not be vaccinated. They may have not developed the antibodies which is another reason they may be succumbing to influenza," said Dr. James Burns, an urgent care physician at the Peninsula Occupational Health and Urgent Care Center in Salisbury.

Due to seniors' weakened immune systems, they receive a vaccination that is four times stronger than a normal vaccination. The vaccination contains four times the as many antigens to help seniors' immune systems build antibodies and fight off the disease.

Monique Paloewicz, a nurse at the Wicomico Nursing Home in Salisbury, also agrees that seniors have a tough time due to their weakened immune systems.

"It's a big problem if your older," she said. "Your immune systems weaker. You have a weakened cough reflex so its harder to fight those things off."

The CDC says there are three key steps to fighting the flu:

  • Get the vaccine and allow it two weeks to develop in your body. 
  • Prevent germs from spreading by washing your hands often, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and limiting contact with other people who are sick.
  • If you think you have symptoms, see a doctor right away.

Senior George Giovenco said he takes the necessary steps to fight off the flu.

"I try and do everything that's right," Giovenco said. "I try to have a good diet, I eat three meals a day and I kind of start my days off with a nice long walk."

Seniors can obtain the vaccination from a local pharmacy, a local doctor's office or even at the hospital. The shot is covered by Medicare and for those without insurance, it could range from $5-30.

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