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Flu shots for people ages 65+

Here's what you need to know before getting your flu shot.

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If you're 65 or older, you have a higher chance of getting very sick from the flu. This is because it's harder for your body to fight off germs that can make you sick. And this is why you should get your yearly flu shot.

As many as 7 out of 10 people in the hospital for flu are over 65. And 8 out of 10 people who die from the flu are over 65. The flu shot is a simple way to keep yourself safe from the flu.

Best time to get your flu shot

The best time to get your flu shot is by the end of October. Once you get your shot, your body needs about 2 weeks to get ready to fight the flu.

Flu season usually runs from November through the end of April. If it’s past October and you didn’t get your flu shot yet, get it. It’ll help keep you safe for the rest of the flu season.

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I’ve heard that people 65 years and older should get a different vaccine.

All flu vaccines provide protection against the flu. The CDC recommends certain vaccines for people 65 and older. But don’t wait for a specific one. The most important thing is to get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about what's right for you.

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Other tips on how to stay safe from the flu

Besides getting the flu shot, you should:

  • Stay away from people who are sick. 
  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Try not to touch your face. 

When to get medical care

There are some important things to watch for, even if you’ve had your flu shot. Get care right away if you:

  • Have trouble breathing or shortness of breath 
  • Feel pain or pressure in the chest or stomach 
  • Are dizzy or confused for a long time 
  • Have a fever that won’t get better or gets worse, even when you take over-the-counter medicines 
  • Aren’t peeing 
  • Have any of the problems listed above and they get worse

Don’t wait to get your flu shot

Get your flu shot at an Optum Care location near you.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.