The Seniors’ Guide to Flu Season

If you are over the age of 65, flu season might be a bigger threat to your health than it is for younger individuals. Flu-related deaths are most common among older adults, who are already more susceptible to contracting this virus when it is active in the wintertime. The months of November to March are the most active for  the flu virus , so you should be particularly aware of your risk as a senior citizen. This article offers some insight on how you can stay healthy and steer clear of complications that could result in hospitalization.

Senior lady with running nose

Higher Flu Risk

Since older adults have weakened immune systems and higher rates of respiratory conditions that can worsen flu symptoms, preventive measures are essential for all individuals over 65. Hand washing is the best way to avoid contracting the flu from contact with sick individuals and objects they may have touched. Other steps that can help you avoid getting sick include getting more sleep, staying hydrated, following a healthier diet, and paying extra attention to cleanliness at home.

Seasonal Flu Shots

Unless your doctor specifically advises against it, you should have a flu shot this season. Some seniors are best off with the higher-dose flu shot that is only available for adults over 65, so ask your doctor if this is an option for you. Since pneumonia is a high-risk complication for seniors, you may also need to have a pneumococcal vaccine as well. Both of these immunizations are covered through Medicare, which means there is no reason not to protect yourself with preventive vaccines.

Possible Complications

If you have conditions like heart disease, asthma, or COPD, the flu can worsen the symptoms of these conditions and land you in the hospital. Other possible complications for seniors with the flu include pneumonia, dehydration, and bronchitis. Plus, older adults tend to have more severe flu symptoms in general, so preventive measures are the best approach for fighting this virus.

At Regional Medical Center of San Jose, you can get your annual vaccinations and find excellent emergency care when you need it most. For more reasons why you should have us on your side during flu season, visit our website or call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 259-4000. 

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