Flu season hitting elderly hardest

    8:52 PM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The peak of flu season is in full swing this year. Sounds of coughing and sneezing have become all too familiar. One age group particularly under fire when it comes to the flu is the elderly.

    According to Flu.gov, as people age, their immune systems weaken, making them more susceptible to illnesses such as the flu. For seniors, seasonal flu can become very serious or even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.

    Carrie Horshner is an infectious control nurse at Presbyterian Village in Little Rock and said there has been no cases of the flu this season at her care center, but part of that is due to all the steps they are taking to keep the virus out.

    All staff is required to get the flu shot once a year, 99 percent of tenants have the flu vaccine currently. Even visitors are asked not to come into the building if they've had a previous sickness in the past 24 hours.

    Nurses are monitoring residents of the retirement community closely by paying attention to temperatures of those feeling sick.

    Horchner encouraged people to frequently check on friends and family over the age of 65 this time of year to make sure they're feeling okay.

    To prevent yourself from getting the flu, Flu.gov recommends getting a flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area. The regular dose flu shot and the higher-dose flu shot are both available, and the higher -dose is designed specifically for people 65 and older. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is right for you.

    Medicare will cover the cost of an injection once every flu season.

    If you haven't had a flu shot yet, it's not too late. To check out where you can get the vaccine go to : http://flushot.healthmap.org/

    Twitter: @SarahFortnerWX

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