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Know Flu Toolkit

December 16, 2014

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Senior getting a flu shot

What is influenza (also called flu)?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu vaccine every year. You should also follow everyday steps, such as washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, to keep yourself healthy.

Signs and symptoms of flu

People who have the flu often have some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  •             Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  •             Cough
  •             Sore throat
  •             Runny or stuffy nose
  •             Muscle or body aches
  •             Headaches
  •             Fatigue (very tired)
  •             Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.             *It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How flu spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby.

Adults  65 and older should be vaccinated every year While everyone should get a flu vaccine this season,  it’s especially important for adults 65  years and older to be  vaccinated against flu and pneumonia. Pertussis (better known as whooping  cough) and shingle vaccinations are also recommended.   More information about who is recommended  for flu vaccine and those who are not can be found here: “Who Should  Get Vaccinated Against Influenza.”

Why are adults 65 and older at particular risk for flu and  pneumonia?

As we age, our immune system weakens. This weakening makes  adults 65 years and older more susceptible to the flu.  For older adults, the seasonal flu can be  very serious, even deadly.  Ninety  percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations  occur in people age 65 and older. Because older adults are at an increased risk  of getting pneumonia, a complication of the flu, they should talk to their  health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine  protects against pneumonia.  

Will Medicare cover flu shots?

Yes,  the flu shot is  a benefit of Medicare

About the “Know Flu” Toolkit

The Healthy Orange Florida Collaboration developed the “Know Flu” Toolkit  to adults 65 and older about the flu and flu vaccine.  The toolkit  includes free, downloadable information and fliers for adults 65 and older as  well as organizations and people that may care for, or provide services for  older adults.  (Toolkit link is below)

About  the Healthy Orange Florida Collaboration         The  Healthy Orange Florida Collaboration is a community public health planning  group comprised of local health partners including the health department,  hospitals, behavioral health providers, local government, and non-profit groups  who are coming together to develop and implement strategies for a healthier  Orange County.  We meet on the first Friday of each month at 1:00 p.m. to  2:30 p.m. at the Florida Hospital Community Health Impact office, 711 Magnolia  Avenue, Orlando, FL  32801.

Know Flu Toolkit

Spanish Version of the Know Flu Toolkit