Gear Up for Flu Season

woman in bed with tissues

Getting a flu vaccine every single year boosts your immunity

You've heard it before. Getting a flu vaccine is the number one way to prevent the flu. But experts are now learning that getting vaccinated year after year offers increasing protection over time. 

"The flu can be devastating, and people over 65 are at increased risk," says Melaura Wittemyer, M.D., a primary care provider at the OHSU Center for Women's Health. "Vaccination once reduces your chance of dying of the flu by about 40 percent. Vaccination every year can reduce this chance by about 75 percent." 

Flu danger increases as we age 

Getting older means you're more susceptible to the flu. If you have asthma, heart disease, lung disease, auto-immune disease or other chronic health problems, getting the flu is even more likely—and even more dangerous. 

"The flu isn't just five days of fever, cough and fatigue. It can cause serious complications, like pneumonia and meningitis, which lead to hospitalization and even death," says Dr. Wittemyer. 

Vaccination prevents many cases of the flu. If you still get sick, your symptoms are likely to be milder, lowering your chance of serious complications. 

Protect yourself—and your community 

By getting a vaccine, you protect your family and friends along with yourself. "More prevention means less flu virus circulating in the community," Dr. Wittemyer says.  

650,000 people die worldwide from the flu each year. Together we can save some of those lives.

Learn more about flu symptoms, treatment and prevention.