Senior News Line

You got your flu shot this year, right? Even though it's no longer the beginning of the flu season, it's never too late to get your shot. At this point we're only in the middle of an elevated-level flu season with months still to go.

Flu hits seniors harder than any other demographic. More of us end up hospitalized and with complications if we get the flu. At least 70% of deaths from flu are seniors.

There's a special shot for us with three types of vaccine at four times the strength. Our shot contains two A virus strains and one B. I asked my pharmacist, "Why don't they give us all four vaccine types?" His answer was that decision-makers calculate each year which flu three strains will be strongest and go with those ... to save money.

This year, however, a B virus, which usually comes out in February, was the flu that launched the season.

How do we get the flu? From others, often by breathing air that has the virus in it from someone's sneeze or cough (from 6 feet away and airborne for several hours) or by touching a hard surface that has flu germs on it from someone else (for 24 hours).

Some of the ways of protecting ourselves are so simple we have no excuse for not following them. Take sanitizing wipes with you in a baggie when you go to the store and wipe down the cart handle. (Then throw the wipe away.) Wrap sanitizing wipes around the doorknobs in your home and let them dry overnight. Wash your hands often. And get your flu shot.

The next time you talk to your senators, tell them we need a four-way four-strength vaccine for seniors. Saving lives and hospitalizations makes it worth the extra cost.

(c) 2020 King Features Synd., Inc.

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