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How Serious is Flu for Adults Over 65?

Posted on October 17, 2023
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The flu is a common but often underestimated illness that poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of adults over the age of 65. Below, we explore just how serious the flu can be for seniors and discuss the critical role of the flu vaccine in preventing its potentially severe consequences.

Understanding Senior Flu

Flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. While it can affect people of all ages, its impact can be particularly severe for adults over 65, making it crucial to understand senior flu and its implications.

As we age, our immune system weakens, making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections like the flu. This means that seniors are not only more likely to catch the flu, but they are also at a higher risk of developing complications from the illness. This is what happened to…

Flu Symptoms in Seniors

Senior flu symptoms are similar to those experienced by other age groups but can be more intense and lead to serious complications. Common flu symptoms in older adults include:

  • High fever
  • Severe fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Confusion or altered mental state

These symptoms can lead to a decline in overall health and, in some cases, require hospitalization. Seniors are at a higher risk of developing complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and exacerbation of chronic medical conditions. 

In fact, during most flu seasons, individuals who are 65 years of age or older tend to bear the greatest burden of severe flu disease, accounting for up to 85 percent of flu deaths each season and 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations.

Timing Matters for Elderly Flu Prevention

The flu is truly a serious concern for adults over 65 as its symptoms can be more severe and lead to dangerous complications in this age group. However, there is a powerful tool available to protect yourself and your loved ones: the flu vaccine

While the flu is a serious concern for adults over 65, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk and severity of the infection. All adults should receive an annual flu vaccine to protect themselves from the flu and particular vaccines are more effective for those over the age of 65. 

To maximize the benefits of flu vaccination, it’s essential to get vaccinated annually—ideally, this should happen before the flu season peaks in the fall and winter months so now is the perfect time. Additionally, practicing good hygiene, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can work hand in hand with vaccination to protect seniors from the flu and its potentially severe consequences.

Getting the flu vaccine is a proactive step that can safeguard your health, enhance your quality of life, and contribute to the well-being of your entire community. Make it a priority to get your annual flu shot this year, and together, we can combat the serious consequences of senior flu.

Learn More About Fighting the Flu

Families Fighting Flu educates about the seriousness of influenza and the importance of annual vaccination so that no one suffers serious flu complications or death. Learn more about our mission and resources here and empower your family to stay healthy this flu season.

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