By Colleen Harvot, Director of In-Home Care, Valley VNA Senior Services

As the director of In-Home Care at Valley VNA, I manage a number of community outreach activities for seniors, including annual flu shot clinics and Meals-On-Wheels. My job is to help keep older adults engaged, healthy and well-nourished. It’s that time of year to remind people about the importance of annual flu shots. Please read on, then make plans to get a flu shot next month. You’ll be taking care of yourself and the people you love.

Why Get Immunized Every Year?

It boosts your body’s own defenses. Age and certain chronic health conditions are the biggest contributors to influenza infections. A person should get vaccinated each year to boost his or her immunity, even if the formula of the immunization has not changed from one year to the next. Patients over 65 should get the immunization that’s specially formulated for older adults. The higher dosing helps better stimulate the immune system in adults whose immunity is naturally declining.

Choose mild or hot. (As in fever.) Flu vaccination may make a person’s illness milder if he or she does get sick.

When tough guys get sick, they most likely recover like champs. But if they live with infants, visit older people, or come in contact with people with compromised immunity at work, worship, or in the community, they’re delivering a little package of germs straight into their hands.

It’s like a bottle of shampoo with 33% more free. Three kinds of flu viruses commonly circulate among people today: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)–like virus; A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)–like virus; and B/Brisbane/60/2008–like virus (Victoria lineage). But here’s the good news! Valley VNA flu shot clinics, and other health care providers will offer the quadrivalent (four-way) 2016-2017 flu vaccine to also protect against B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).

If you have Medicare Part B and Medicare PPO Advantage Plans, they usually cover the cost of the flu vaccine. These two insurances are accepted by us at our flu shot clinics. (Please bring your insurance cards.) Alternatively, cash payments will be accepted. The cost is $38 for a regular quadrivalent dose and $65 for a high dose. Click here to see a full Valley VNA flu shot clinic schedule, or call (920) 727-5555 with questions.