Seniors Hit Hardest By This Season's Flu

“This would be the number of people out of 100,000 people who are hospitalized with laboratory confirmed influenza,” Dr. Randal Todd with Washoe County's Health Department explains as we look at some recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control.

The chart on the wall at the health department shows a very distinct line headed upward.

That line represents the number of seniors nationwide who have been hospitalized this season because of the flu.

“Dramatic increase nationally with the number of people over the age of 65 who are being hospitalized because of flu related reasons. The viruses that are circulating this year are a little more virulent and as we get on in years our immune system starts to decline in its ability to protect us,” says Dr. Todd.

Dr. Todd says we aren't seeing such a dramatic upswing of seniors being hospitalized locally.

However he says our area is typically two weeks behind the national trend.

As of now a total of 7 people have been hospitalized locally for the flu.

A total of 71 have died due to flu and or pneumonia this season.

With all of that in mind, Dr. Todd wants to remind everyone its not too late to get a flu shot.

If you're a senior out there and begin to feel symptoms of the flu coming on like body aches, and a slight fever, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

Anti-virals, like Tamiflu, can be prescribed to lessen the impact of influenza, but you have to take them with the on-set of the symptoms.