Getting Real About the Impact of Flu on Older Adults
Special thanks to award-winning actress Judith Light for this guest post about the importance of protecting older adults (65+) against flu.
If you’ve ever had the flu (influenza), then you know exactly how terrible it can be. For me, just thinking about the flu reminds me of how much I don’t want to get it again. Maintaining my health is important so I can keep doing what I love, both on- and off-set–nobody should risk getting the flu! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting an annual flu vaccination is the best way to help protect yourself from the flu—so you can bet that I get one every year.
Before collaborating with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and Sanofi Pasteur on the Flu Alert campaign, I didn’t fully understand how my age puts me at an increased risk for flu and its related complications. As the immune system weakens with age, making it harder to fight disease, flu can be particularly severe for adults age 65 years and older. Even several weeks after recovering from flu symptoms, older adults may still be at an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems.
And there are some shocking stats too…did you know that every 4 minutes, an adult age 65 years and older is hospitalized due to flu or flu-related complications? And every 12 minutes, an adult age 65 years and older dies from the flu or flu-related complications! Flu prevention is one of the most important things you can do to help maintain your health and avoid spreading this life-threatening illness to friends and loved ones, and there are flu vaccines specifically designed for older adults. If you are age 65 years or older, I strongly encourage you to talk to a healthcare professional about the right flu vaccine for you.
I’m so proud to be part of the Flu Alert campaign to help educate other adults my age about the seriousness of influenza. Knowledge is power, so I hope you’ll join me in raising awareness about this critical public health issue. Visit www.nfid.org/flualert to learn more about the seriousness of flu and the importance of getting vaccinated each and every year! As we say on stage, the show must go on. Don’t let flu jeopardize your health or cause you to miss out on life’s important moments this year.