Flu concerns for baby boomers on the rise in Gaston County

GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - If you're a baby boomer or have aging parents, you need to be aware of the flu epidemic not just in the US, but here in North Carolina.

So far, 95 people in the state have died from the flu this season. Out of those deaths, more than 60 deaths were people 65-years-old of age or older.

Healthcare officials in Gaston County say the fighting chance you have in defeating the flu depends on your age and just how healthy you are at the time you do get sick. With that in mind, some folks in the county who are older than 65 are taking charge of their health.

The ability to work out every day is something that 74-year-old John Jones does not take for granted.

"I don't know what makes me move, but I'll be moving," said Jones.

Jones goes to the YMCA in Gastonia frequently. He says he knows his age and health are factors when it comes to being able to fight the flu if he were to catch it.

And he's not alone. "Silver sneaker" classes at the Y are full of ladies and gentlemen who are also taking control of their health.

"That's the whole key of it - you've got to be careful about what you eat. You have to be careful about what you do and your health is all you got."

Jones admits he's never had the flu in all of his years.

"Because of the grace of God," Jones laughed.

Healthcare officials for the county do not want you to hesitate if you think you've got even the slightest sign of the flu. Three people in the county who were 65 and older have already died from the virus. Gaston Department of Health says getting into a doctor's office as fast as you can and getting a flu shot should be treated as a golden rule.

Just because Jones has never been infected by the virus, he says he knows how serious it can be if you don't listen to doctors or take care of yourself.

"The death that could be had, you know what I mean."

Staying fit and healthy to be able to fight the flu isn't the only reason Jones has remained faithful to the gym.

"Exercise is good for the heart, and as long as I can keep this blood and heart strong, I think maybe I could live a couple more years longer instead of laying up in the bed."

Tamiflu, which is an anti-viral drug, can also be a solid defense for you when it comes to the flu bug. If you're on the fence about any type of medication or vaccinations, health officials say some protection is better than no protection this flu season.

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