It’s that time of year ... again. We start to see ads for getting a flu shot, and if you visit your doctor, you will probably be asked if you want your flu vaccine . But is it really that big a deal?

If you are 65 and older, Yes! You are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. It has been estimated that between 70-85% of seasonal flu-related deaths and between 54-70% of flu-related hospitalizations occur in this age group (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC).

The best protection against the flu is to get a flu shot. But when it comes right down to getting the flu vaccine, we all have our favorite excuses, so let’s separate fact from fiction.

  • You can catch the flu from getting the vaccine. No! The vaccine is made from an inactivated virus that does not transmit infection.
  • I don’t need to get vaccinated until someone I know is sick. The vaccine can take up to two weeks to fully protect you, so the sooner you do it, the better off you are.
  • I don’t need to get a shot this year ... I got one last year. Because the strain of flu virus changes over time, doctors come out with a new vaccine every year. So, it's important to stay current and get vaccinated each year -- preferably during October or November. But any time before flu season begins or even during is good.
  • You can catch the flu from going out in the cold without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window. The ONLY way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the influenza virus.
  • Chicken soup will speed your recovery from the flu ... Really?!! The flu is not a simple cold.
  • Last time I got the flu vaccine I got sick afterwards. Some may get flu-like symptoms for a few days after being vaccinated. That is your body building up the antibodies, not really the flu. And if you did get sick, it’s likely you were incubating the illness before the vaccine could take effect.
  • It’s too expensive. According to Medicare.gov, “Medicare Part B… normally covers one flu shot per flu season”.
  • I don’t have transportation. If you are a member of Senior Village, give us a call at 520-314-1042, and our dispatch team will schedule a volunteer to drive you at your convenience.

Be smart. Be pro-active. Talk to you doctor if you have concerns. Don’t let the flu start a chain reaction that could put you in the hospital, take away your independence and change your life. Stop by a pharmacy or call your doctor today and protect yourself against the flu.

For more information about Senior Village services or to become a member or volunteer, call 520-314-1042 or log on to http://www.seniorvillage.org.