New The Flu + You program encourages seniors to get flu shots early

The National Council on Aging is raising awareness about the flu this season through a public education initiative called The Flu + You.

NOCA’s program aims to educate adults 65 years of age and older, and those who care for them, about the seriousness of the flu, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options.

Flu + You public service announcement will share information about the increased risk of flu in adults 65 years of age and older and the importance of understanding their flu vaccine options and getting an annual vaccine.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the single best way to prevent the flu is to get an annual vaccination, which is recommended for everyone six months of age and older, with rare exception.

“Research shows that the immune system weakens with age, which means older adults are more likely to catch the flu and that they can suffer greater complications because of other health issues,” said Dr. Albert Terrillion, NCOA Senior Director for Clinical and Community Partnerships and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance.

“Through Flu + You, we encourage all older adults to help protect themselves by getting vaccinated as early in the season as possible.”

The flu is a contagious illness that can be severe and life-threatening, especially for older adults. Adults aged 65 and older typically account for more than half (60 percent) of flu-related hospitalizations and almost all (90 percent) of flu-related deaths.

The flu can make existing health problems worse and is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions, which commonly affect older adults.