The flu can be a dangerous disease no matter what stage of life you are in, but for people 65 years of age and above, it can be deadly.
It is estimated that 41% of adults over 65 have diabetes and that an additional 45% have at least one other chronic condition (excluding diabetes) that will affect them for the rest of their lives. These diseases and afflictions surely make life more difficult, but they can also decrease the body’s ability to fight infections like influenza. These individuals, and especially those with diabetes, have a high risk for developing complications from the flu virus like pneumonia.
While hand washing and other standard preventative measures are always useful, the best option for maximum prevention for these older individuals according to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Council on Aging is to receive an annual flu vaccination.
Influenza and pneumonia when combined are the seventh leading cause of death in older adults in the United States. However, both of these diseases can be easily prevented with the help of healthy habits and routine vaccination. Indeed, preventing these diseases is so important that a specialized flu vaccine has been developed for adults over 65 so that they can receive optimal protection and remain healthy during what could otherwise be one of the most dangerous times of the year.
For adults 65 years old and older, the CDC also suggests getting vaccinated as soon as possible in order to help prevent the spread of the virus and in order to have full immunity by the time flu season hits its stride, as the average flu shot takes about two weeks to become fully effective.
Nearly 44,500 hospitalizations were averted last year alone though over-65 vaccinations. This age group accounts for more than half of hospitalizations and 90% of flu-related deaths, making vaccination even more important.
Don’t delay! If you or a loved one are over age 65, get more information on vaccinations and schedule a flu shot appointment by contacting a Passport Health flu specialist via our website or by calling 1-888-499-PASS (7277).