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January 26 10:28 AM

Flu Hitting Seniors Hard This Winter

Flu season is cutting a wide swath this winter, and seniors are being hit hard. Depending on your source, the flu shots we were given in the fall are between 10 percent and 30 percent effective.

That's not very good. The worst one this year is the Influenza A (H3N2) strain. Your protection will depend on the type of shot you got (trivalent or quadrivalent). If you're over age 65, chances are you were given the high-dose trivalent, which produces a better immune response.

To keep tabs on how the flu is moving through your state, go online to your state's department of health. Many of the sites have weekly updates showing labverified flu statistics, flu-like illness stats, hospitalizations and deaths.

Or you can check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Surveillance Report. Look for the USA map and click on your state. You'll also see that the age range that's being hit the hardest is age 65 and over, followed by those in the 50-64 age range.

One of the best ways to fend off the flu is to wash your hands frequently, especially after you've been out. At the grocery store, make use of sanitizing wipes on cart handles, or slather the handles with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

When you get home, wash your hands before you put away the groceries, and even before you pet the dog or cat that's been waiting for you.

Other helpful ideas are to use your own pen at the bank. Keep your hands away from your face.

Wrap antibacterial wipes around doorknobs and leave them there until they dry. Wipe down the refrigerator door handle, microwave buttons and cellphone the same way.

And did I mention washing your hands?

(c) 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.

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