Have you gotten your flu shot yet? According to the Centers for Disease Control, people 65 and older are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu compared to younger adults.
Researchers estimate that 90-percent of seasonal flu-related deaths in the United States occur in people who are 65 or older. Doctors say a senior's best defense is a seasonal flu shot.
"There are changes in the immune system that occur with aging that can blunt a person's response to getting ill and the ability to fight off a lot of these communicable diseases. That's why you want to protect yourself as much as possible," geriatrician Dr. Ronan Factora said.
A flu vaccine protects against flu viruses that research indicate will be most common during the season.
The CDC says people 65 years and older have two flu shots available to choose from this year; a regular dose flu vaccine and a newer vaccine with a higher dose. However, the CDC and its advisory committee on immunization practices have not expressed a preference for either vaccine because they're still not sure whether the higher dose provides a stronger immunity. Doctors stress that one thing the flu vaccine *won't do is make you sick.
"It's a vaccine that is comprised of dead virus, so you're not going to get the flu from this vaccine that is typically administered to older individuals," Factora said.
Doctors add that aside from a possible low-grade fever and maybe a little soreness at the injection site, the side-effects from the flu shot are minimal.