Currently, about 70 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 have one or more chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma or other lung disease, diabetes and cancer. When combined with the flu, these chronic medical conditions can become worse and cause serious illness, hospitalizations and even death.
Directly, flu can worsen symptoms of respiratory disorders such as asthma and chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) and can lead to pneumonia. Studies have also found an increased risk of heart attack and stroke following a flu infection. In spite of these dangers, vaccination rates for those 50+ remain below recommended levels, and vaccine options are misunderstood.
That’s why the American Lung Association, in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, has launched the MyShot campaign with the goal of educating people ages 50+ about the dangers of the flu and the importance of vaccination. The campaign will empower people ages 50+ to take ownership of their health and ask their doctor about flu shot options that might be right for them. It’s not only important to get vaccinated to protect yourself, but also to help prevent spreading the disease to those around you.
On Tuesday, October 16, JoJo O’Neal and MeiLan Han, M.D. will be promoting the MyShot campaign and encouraging adults 50 years of age and older to learn more about the potential dangers of flu by visiting www.GetMyShot.org
MORE ABOUT JOJO O’NEAL AND MEILAN HAN, M.D.
JoJo O’Neal is a 53-year-old radio personality living with asthma. Last year, she became sick with the flu, and it took her over 10 days to recover. During that time, she passed the virus on to her sister and niece. Now, JoJo is making an annual flu shot a priority and wishes to educate others ages 50+ to do the same.
MeiLan Han, M.D., is an American Lung Association volunteer medical spokesperson. As an expert in influenza, pneumonia and respiratory health, Dr. Han can address the importance of people over the age of 50 prioritizing an annual flu shot.