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Oct 3, 2013 2:18 PM by Faye DeHoff

Flu education event for adults 65+

TUCSON - The Pima Council on Aging and the Pima County Health Department are joining with the National Council on Aging to host a flu education event and vaccine clinic for adults age 65+.

That's because adults 65 and older are at the greatest risk for influenza-related complications and death. Each year in the U.S., roughly nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and six out of 10 flu-related hospital stays occur in people 65 and older. However, only an estimated 58 percent of Arizona adults 65 years of age and older were vaccinated during the 2011-2012 flu season. In the Tucson area, there are more than 62,000 adults 65 years of age and older, which is about 11 percent of the population.

No matter how healthy or youthful we feel, as we age our immune system typically weakens, leaving older adults more vulnerable to flu and its related complications, which can result in hospitalization or even death. The age-related decline of the immune system also affects the body's response following vaccination, so it is important that older adults understand their vaccine options.

According to the CDC, the single best way for older adults to protect themselves against the flu is by getting vaccinated. There are several vaccine options for older adults, including a higher dose flu vaccine designed specifically to address the age-related decline of the immune system.

The event will be held next Tuesday Oct. 8 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road.

Health care providers will be available to answer questions about the flu and vaccine options, as well as provide flu shots to adults 65 years of age and older.

Flu vaccines are a covered Medicare Part B benefit, with no copay. Please bring your Medicare ID card or applicable insurance card to the Flu + You event to receive your flu vaccination.

To learn more about the risks for flu in older adults, and to view resources from the Flu + You campaign, including a television PSA with actor Lee Majors, best known for his iconic role in The Six Million Dollar Man, please visit:
www.NCOA.org/Flu >.

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