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Staying Healthy During Flu Season

In recognition of Older Adults Vaccination Day, we bring you a guest post from HHS Secretary Sebelius.
This time of year brings cooler weather, holiday travel, and - unfortunately - the flu.
As we're reminded each year, anyone can get sick from the flu. But there are some people, including older people, young children, people with certain chronic medical conditions, and pregnant women, who are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu.
During National Influenza Vaccination Week, I wanted to take a minute to remind you about ways you and your family can stay healthy during the flu season, and give you tips to avoid getting sick.
People's immune systems weaken with age so adults 65 and older are at high risk for serious flu complications and should get a yearly flu shot (not the nasal spray vaccine).
Because flu viruses are always changing, last season's flu vaccine may not protect against newer viruses, and annual vaccination is the only way to maintain protection each season. You need to get the 2010-11 seasonal flu vaccine even if you got the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine last season.
This season, people 65 years and older will have two flu vaccines available to them: a regular flu vaccine and a new flu vaccine designed for people 65 and older with a higher dose than regular flu vaccine. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best option for you.
Even if you don't have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations including doctor's offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies, and college health centers, as well as many employers and even some schools. So even if you don't have a regular doctor, getting a flu vaccine is easy.
Medicare covers the flu shot once per flu season. Use this tool to determine where you can get a flu vaccine near you:
For more information, talk to your doctor or nurse, visit, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
You can also take a minute to watch our web chat we recorded recently with AARP focusing on what seniors and those who care for seniors need to know about the flu:

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