How the Flu Affects Older Adults

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How the Flu Affects Older Adults

How the Flu Affects Older Adults

27 Nov 2017

Many people incorrectly think that the flu is the same for every single person, but that is not the case. Children and adults are affected slightly differently, but those above 65 years old also have other concerns to worry about. For seniors, illnesses like the flu can end up evolving into something even worse due to a weakened immune system. This can lead to hospital stays and could even be fatal. For everyone, but for seniors especially, recognizing the symptoms and treating them as early as possible is incredibly important to avoid further complications.

Common Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Aches and Pains

For older adults, an additional difficulty is uncomfortable stomach symptoms. These include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. These additional ailments can also lead to even more issues, such as pneumonia and dehydration. It can also make chronic conditions like heart disease or asthma even more exacerbated. The earlier these symptoms are recognized and shared with a medical professional, the more likely a senior is to avoid many of these secondary flu symptoms.

Flu Prevention for Seniors

However, the flu is often preventable. Getting the flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent getting the flu. It can make a huge difference for seniors and could prevent hospitalizations and lower the fatality rate. There are flu vaccines targeted specifically for those above 65 years of age that contain four times the amount of active ingredients when compared to a regular flu shot. This provides a better immune system response for anyone that has a weakened immune system.

Just like with children and adults, it is imperative for seniors to recognize the symptoms as early as possible. If your symptoms continue worsening for 3-4 days and are accompanied by difficulty breathing or a sudden onset of new symptoms, seek medical help.