To help older individuals avoid the flu, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging’s PrimeTime Health Program in conjunction with Clearfield Hospital Home Health is offering flu shot clinics for persons over 60 years of age. While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that certain people, especially older individuals, get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an influenza (flu) vaccine every year as the first and best way to protect against getting the flu. By two weeks after vaccination, the body develops antibodies to protect against the viruses in the vaccine. Those antibodies help protect us from influenza viruses if we come in contact with them later. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than six months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.
During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States is usually from November through April each year.
The CDC recommends that people get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available in their community. Vaccination before December is best since this timing ensures that protective antibodies are in place before flu activity is typically at its highest. CDC continues to encourage people to get vaccinated throughout the flu season, which can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
The influenza vaccine is recommended for:
- Everyone six months of age and older;
- People with underlying health conditions such as heart, respiratory, kidney, liver metabolic, and immune system problems;
- People with weakened immune systems such as HIV/AIDS, long-term treatment of steroids, and cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs;
- Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities;
- Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than six months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
- Physicians, nurses, family members, or anyone else in close contacts with any of these groups at risk for influenza; and
- Anyone wishing to reduce the likelihood of becoming ill from influenza.
CCAAA flu shot clinics are scheduled at the following locations and times.
- Clearfield Center for Active Living, Wed., Oct. 17, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
- Houtzdale Family Service Center, Mon., Oct. 15, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Mahaffey Center for Active Living, Thurs., Oct. 18, 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
- Coalport Center for Active Living, Thurs., Oct. 18, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
- Kylertown Center for Active Living, Wed., Oct. 31, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- Karthaus Center for Active Living, Wed., Oct. 31, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Anyone wishing to also eat lunch at a Center for Active Living is asked to make reservations with the Center by 9 a.m. the day before the clinic.
In addition to the vaccination, you can help fend off the flu by keeping your immune defenses strong. That means getting proper sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular exercise. Also, safety measures such as washing your hands frequently and keeping them away from your face and eyes will minimize the likelihood that the virus will be transmitted from your hands to your bloodstream.
If the flu bug does bite, stay home, stay in bed, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. Throw used tissues in the trash immediately rather than allowing them to contaminate tabletops or other common areas.
For more information on the flu shot clinics, call the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. at 765-2696 or 1-800-225-8571.
Programs and services of the agency are funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc., Mature Resources Foundation, and local and consumer contributions.