As you age, your immune system weakens. For this reason, adults 65 years of age and older are not as well protected from the flu by standard flu vaccines. This leaves them more vulnerable to infection and related complications.

 

Adults 65 years of age and older experience higher rates of flu-related hospitalizations.

 

The flu can lead to complications and impact chronic medical conditions, increasing the risk of serious health events such as heart attacks.

 

Direct serious flu-related complications include:

  • Worsening of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (better known as COPD)
  • Ear and sinus infections
  • Bronchitis and pneumonia

 

Indirect serious flu-related complications include:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

 

You may also experience worsening of conditions such as:

  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes

 

If you are 65 or older, your health care provider can tell you what you can do to help protect yourself from the flu.

 

Once an adult 65 or over gets the flu, he or she may be at increased risk of being hospitalized for a heart attack, stroke, or diabetes.

  • The risk of having a heart attack has been shown to be 6 to 10 times more likely following a respiratory infection.
  • The risk of having a stroke has been shown to be 2 to 3 times more likely after getting the flu.
  • The risk of being hospitalized for diabetes has been shown to be 3 times more likely after getting the flu.

 

If you have questions about the flu,
speak with health care provider.