Flu prevention for seniors is more important than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people 65 years and older account for between 50 and 70 percent of reported influenza-associated hospitalizations.
Overall, flu hospitalization rates during the 2017–2018 flu season were the highest ever recorded. Vaccination is the single best way to help protect against the flu and is especially important for older adults. Flu vaccine saves lives and prevents the serious complications that sometimes result.
Caregivers of all ages should get an annual flu shot and should take preventive measures, such as washing hands, staying away from people who are sick, and encouraging others to cover their coughs. But be aware that these preventative steps cannot replace vaccination when it comes to flu prevention, which is still the best method of protection.
Urgent Warning Signs in Seniors With Influenza
You already know the common signs of influenza—body aches, sore throat, fever—but for people over age 65, it’s especially important to keep a close eye for worsening symptoms. If any of the following are observed, it’s time to seek urgent medical attention.
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability
to arouse from sleep.
Severe muscle pain.
Severe weakness or unsteadiness.
Fever or cough that improve but then
return or worsen.