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Shot in the arm during flu season

Medical patients get free vaccinations at CareMore center in Glendale.

October 09, 2010|Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

SOUTH GLENDALE — Growing older takes plenty of maintenance and doctor visits, a routine that 64-year-old Arthur Loya is well-acquainted with.

The Vietnam War veteran frequents several medical facilties for checkups and works out to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

"You get at an age where your body doesn't produce or doesn't burn off anymore," Loya said. "You slow down and you get sicker."

To avoid becoming ill, the Glassell Park resident also rarely misses the opportunity for a free flu shot, which he received Friday as part of a walk-in clinic at CareMore center in Glendale.

"When I do get sick, I notice that I go down bad," Loya said.

The clinic was created for clients of the center, the facility's spokeswoman Gohar Artsrounian said.

With the flu season already underway, the center wanted to ensure that its senior citzens were protected against the virus, said Geneva Garcia, the company's member service representative.

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About 85 seniors were expected on Friday to receive the vaccinations, also provided at no cost to caregivers.

Nearly 200,000 people per year are hospitalized due to the flu, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 24,000 people die in the U.S. every year.

Battling the flu can be especially challenging for seniors since their immune symptoms have weakened with age, said Yazmin Andrade, a clinical medical assistant at the Glendale center.

"Even just a simple cold is really bad if they don't get it taken care of," she said.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recommends that adults 50 years or older, pregnant women, children younger than 5, caregivers and people who are ill get the vaccination.

CareMore centers across the country hold about 3,000 flu shot clinics per week during October, Garcia said.

The Glendale center held a flu clinic Sept. 30 and nurses administered more than 80 vaccinations to seniors, she said. The center will hold another walk-in clinic Oct. 15.

The public health department will host free flu clinics throughout the county beginning later this month.

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