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Other Views: Flu season is here; get vaccinated

Flu season's here. Get vaccinated to protect not only yourself, but those around you.

More influenza vaccinations mean fewer unnecessary deaths among the elderly and among babies.

Even healthy people should get vaccinated, because they can get sick and pass the flu on to other people before symptoms begin to show.

And that can be lethal. While most people getting the flu have a mild version of the illness, death is reported in 0.5 to 1 per 1,000 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seniors especially should get vaccinated. An estimated 90 percent of those flu deaths occur in people 65 years of age and older. But since no vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing illness, the people around seniors should also get vaccinated, which will reduce the chances of passing the flu to them.

And even when the flu vaccine doesn't prevent the illness completely, it still lessens the chances of complications.

Seniors aren't the only people at risk, either. Babies and young children are at higher risk, as are pregnant women. So are people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, or people whose immune systems are suppressed, perhaps through chemotherapy.

All of these people are especially vulnerable to the flu.

Everyone should be vaccinated every year, unless there's a serious medical reason to avoid it, such as an allergy to the vaccine or to eggs. Those people should discuss the vaccine with their doctors.

The flu vaccines are safe, and have been used for more than 50 years, on hundreds of millions of people.

Flu vaccines cannot cause the flu, either -- though they can cause mild side effects that can be mistaken for a mild flu.

People who get the nasal spray rather than the shot could potentially get a stuffy nose or sore throat. People who get the shot may feel achy or have a sore arm.

Those symptoms may last one to two days. They are generally not severe.

And most people would consider an achy arm well worth the price of saving someone's life.

The Jamestown Sun's Editorial Board formed this opinion.