Art of Aging: Officials say now is a good time to get the flu vaccine

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Art of Aging: Officials say now is a good time to get the flu vaccine. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News at 12 p.m. on October 4, 2018.

The flu vaccine is now available at clinics, doctor's offices, and drug stores around the region.

And following an extremely bad flu season last year, officials recommend getting it as soon as possible.

In 39 years teaching high school math, Ed Doran picked up colds from being around students, but never flu, because he got vaccinated every year.

"Ever since they pushed the idea. It's been very helpful," said Doran.

Dr. John Peacock of Main Line Health at Shannondell says flu vaccinations are especially important for seniors, because their immune systems have weakened, and many already have chronic ailments.

"The flu is nobody's friend. It causes a whole body reaction of inflammation. It affects the entire body," said Dr. Peacock.

It can aggravate COPD, asthma, cause episodes of heart failure or atrial fibrillation - an irregular heart rhythm, or other complications.

It kills 20 to 50 thousand seniors every year and hospitalizes millions more.

Vaccinations may not always prevent the flu.

Dr. Peacock said, "But it dramatically reduces how sick you're going to be from the flu."

If you do feel symptoms, like a cough, fever, and allover body aches, call your doctor - a quick test can tell for sure.

"This is a rapid flu test. It tests for A & B," added Dr. Peacock.

There are medications like Tamiflu which can cut the length and severity of flu.

Anyone who does get sick should be sure to isolate them self - whether a senior or not.

Influenza is very contagious.

"You can be six feet away from someone, and if you have the flu, it can be spread," said Dr. Peacock.

So roll up your sleeve - that momentary pinch could spare you a hospital stay.

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