Flu + You
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Flu + You

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As people age, their immune systems weaken. Even if they feel healthy and are active, a weakened immune system can put older adults at risk for influenza (“the flu”) and related complications.

To help raise awareness about the seriousness of the flu and the importance of flu prevention, award-winning actress Judith Light, known for TV's Dallas, Who's the Boss?, and Ugly Betty is joining the Flu + You campaign. Light is committed to urging everyone 65 years of age and older to talk to their health care providers about the flu, flu symptoms and what can be done to help prevent it, including selection of the most appropriate flu vaccine for their age.

Light wants everyone to know:

  1. People 65 and older should not wait for flu season to start to get their annual flu shot. An annual flu vaccine is an important part of taking care of your health, so get vaccinated as soon as possible when vaccine is available. Although I feel like age is just a number, it’s important to know that our bodies change as we grow older. The immune system weakens with age, which makes it harder to fight disease. As a result, adults aged 65 and older are more likely to catch the flu and experience complications. Take care of yourself and play an active role in your health, which means talking to your health care provider about an annual flu vaccine.  

  2. Know that the flu can make existing health problems worse and is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions. Chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), commonly affect older adults. People with these conditions are more likely to develop complications from the flu that can result in hospitalization and even death. Older adults typically have one or more chronic conditions, which can be made worse by the flu, so an annual vaccination is important.  

  3. Talk to your health care provider about flu vaccine options. People 65 years of age and older have flu vaccine options, including the traditional, standard-dose flu vaccine and a higher-dose flu vaccine that was made specifically to address the age-related decline of the immune system. Both options are available at several places, including a doctor’s office or local pharmacy.  

  4. Encourage those who spend time with older adults to get vaccinated against the flu. The flu can be easily passed from person to person, so it’s important that those who spend time with older adults, such as family and caregivers, also get vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccination is a Medicare Part B benefit, with no copay, for adults 65 years of age and older who are Medicare beneficiaries. Talk to your health care provider today about the dangers of the flu, the benefits of annual vaccination to help protect against the flu, and flu vaccine options to meet your needs.

Flu + You is an educational program from NCOA and Sanofi Pasteur.