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It's flu season, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from seasonal flu have been increasing worldwide. The CDC says new estimates indicate between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die due to flu complications. Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, says it's vital that everyone age 6 months and older be vaccinated.
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One quick poke in the arm could save your life. Dr. Poland says, in the U.S., "depending on the year, we’ll have 3,000 to 30,000 people or more die from influenza, and that is preventable."
Dr. Poland says very young children and older adults are the ones who have the most complications from the flu.
"About 90 percent of the deaths due to influenza occur in people 65 and older," says Dr. Poland.
This year, two flu vaccines for seniors are available.
"Now we have an adjuvanted vaccine to boost the immune response to the influenza component. So people age 65 and older should get one of the two vaccines meant for seniors," says Dr. Poland.
And, he warns, don't underestimate the flu.
"It’s really important that we take away from people the notion that it’s, well, 'just the flu' – like it’s always a minor illness that has no cost or complications to it. That’s a myth," says Dr. Poland.