Senior Health Expo Emphasizes Adult Immunization
Albany, October 12, 1999 – Thousands of older New Yorkers suffer serious and sometimes fatal effects from influenza and flu–related pneumonia every year. As part of a new statewide initiative to immunize New Yorkers over age 65, a Senior Health Expo will be held at the lower level of Crossgates Mall (near Macy's) in Albany, New York on Wednesday, October 13 from 10 AM to 6 PM. More than 52 exhibitors will offer information on a variety of health issues that are of the utmost importance to New York's elderly population, age 65 and older.
The Senior Health Expo is jointly sponsored by the New York State Health Department, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the American Cancer Society to publicize the need for immunizations and other preventive health care for New York's elderly population. A senior flu website at agingwell.state.ny.us/flu/ and a senior flu helpline at 1–800–342–9871 are available to provide information on flu clinics around the state.
Health officials say that most influenza and pneumonia–related deaths and illnesses are preventable by receiving a yearly influenza vaccination. Increased public education and awareness will drastically reduce the number of influenza–related hospitalizations and deaths in our state.
Topics to be covered at the Expo include: flu and pneumococcal immunizations, eye and foot care, diabetes, heart and lung disease, nutrition, exercise, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, smoking cessation, prescription drug coverage, audiology and hearing aid services, health insurance, and senior services. Additionally, local health departments will offer flu immunizations, while pharmacists will provide brown bag sessions to review and discuss individual prescription drug regimens. The event is free and open to the public.
Every year, nearly 40,000 Americans, including approximately 3,000 New Yorkers, die as a result of flu and influenza–related pneumonia. Nearly all those deaths (90%) occur in individuals age 65 and older. More than 200,000 others become sick enough to require hospitalization. Individuals of any age who are in continuing care facilities, or who have serious long–term health problems, including respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, also are at high–risk for influenza and pneumonia.
Most flu cases occur between the months of December and April. The 1999 flu vaccine provides protection against three strains of influenza: A/Beijing, A/Sydney and B/Beijing. Because it takes approximately two weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, it is important that high–risk individuals get immunized before the flu season peaks. County health departments across the state will be sponsoring immunization clinics this Fall. Dates and locations of those clinics are available by contacting local health departments or the senior flu helpline at 1–800–342–9871.
Both the New York State Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people 65 years and older, and those suffering from chronic disease receive an annual flu shot. A one–time dose of pneumococcal vaccine also is recommended for individuals at high–risk because of their age or health status.