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Study Highlights Risks of Flu

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We know the symptoms all too well ... the fever, the aches and pains of the flu.

Each year, millions of Americans get sick with the influenza virus. On average, 20-thousand Americans die from the disease, and another 100-thousand are hospitalized. What's more, the statistics are getting worse.

The number of Americans who die from the flu has increased dramatically over the past twenty years. That's according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the 1976 to 1977 flu season claimed more than 16-thousand lives. By 1998, that number had jumped to over 64-thousand.

One reason is we're living longer than ever before, and the risk of complications from the flu increases with age. In fact, the study found people over 85 are 16 times more likely to die from the flu than those in their late sixties.

The research also draws attention to another virus, respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

While RSV has long been known to cause trouble for children and infants, it's a growing concern for seniors. The study found 78% of deaths linked to RSV, occured in people over 65.

The study highlights the importance of prevention, getting a yearly flu shot to lower your risk of getting the flu. And the older you are, the more important that is.

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