Elderly populations, aged 65 and older, are at risk for developing serious flu complications when compared with healthy, young adults. Adults older than 65, adults with chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), and children younger than 5 are at an increased risk in serious complications related to the flu. An estimated 70 or 85 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths were those aged 65 and older, and 50 to 70 percent of hospitalizations due to seasonal flu were for those over 65. Flu vaccination for the elderly population is not only important, but those in that age group should get an increased dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine.
Elderly populations can suffer from serious complications from the flu. A proactive solution is with a flu vaccine. It is important to receive annual vaccinations due to changing flu viruses as well as immunity waning over time. Not only is following general guidelines important, but for the elderly, receiving a higher dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine, a potentially more effective option according to existing studies, is recommended for elderly populations. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, Flublok Quadrivalent, or Fluad Quadrivalent are some of the vaccine options available.
Serious complications that can occur from the flu include:
- Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
- Brain failure (encephalitis)
- Muscle tissues failure (myositis, rhabdomyolysis)
- Multi-organ failure (e.g., respiratory and kidney failure)
- Complications with existing, chronic medical conditions such as asthma.