Elderly at higher risk for catching the flu - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Elderly at higher risk for catching the flu

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

This year's flu season is expected to be the worst in decades, and health officials with the CDC say this year's flu season hasn't even peaked yet.

Quincy Senior Center officials say they've been pretty lucky, so far no cases of the flu yet.

They attribute it to extensive prevention methods by staff and seniors.

"I wash my hands on everything I do," said Nava Downs. 

"I had my first flu shot ever, about two to three weeks ago," said Steve Oelklaus.

Diana Bleimehl a registered nurse with the Adult Day Program at the center says seniors in nursing homes are at a particularly Higher risk to catch the flu for numerous reasons.

"They're older they maybe don't get out when the weather is not good, that they can get the fresh air. Someone coughs or sneezes and it goes many feet from them, so anyone in the vicinity can be infected," said Bleimehl.

Organizers with the Senior Center's Adult Day Program sanitize everything from the checker boards to the dominoes; anything that could easily pass along the virus.

The AARP says that 90 percent of flu-related deaths are of people age 65 and older. But the CDC reports this year's vaccination is effective on 91 percent of flu strains.

"The elderly population have more susceptibility to the flu because there is a different strain that comes through every year, and with their immunities often being down they are more susceptible," said Bleimehl.

And that extra susceptibility, has Quincy seniors taking note.

"I kind of pick my friends closely and carefully and know that they are just as concerned as I am and that there going to be as careful or more careful as I am," said Oelklaus.

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