While flu seasons can vary in severity, during most seasons people 65 years and older bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease.
Influenza is often quite serious for people 65 and older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot. Strains of the flu virus are constantly changing, so a new flu vaccine is made each year.
Scientists make the vaccine before the flu season starts by predicting which flu strains are likely to be the most common during the upcoming season.
The CDC recommends that everyone get a seasonal flu vaccine each year by the end of October, if possible. Flu activity typically peaks in January or February.
Just like the last flu season, the flu nasal spray is not recommended for anyone during the 2017-18 flu season. This decision was based on data showing that the nasal spray was not very effective at preventing flu from 2013 to 2016, the CDC says.
A 2013 study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that people who got the flu shot were less likely to be hospitalized with the flu.
There are some studies that suggest the high-dose flu vaccine provides better protection for older adults.
People with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine cannot get the flu shot. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.
According to the AARP, last year's flu vaccination rates were lower than officials want to see, with just 47 percent of the population and 65 percent of those over 65 getting inoculated.
Mild side effects include soreness, redness and possible swelling from the shot. Headache, fever, nausea and muscle aches are also listed as possible side effects.
Talk to your health care provider for more information about the flu vaccine.
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