Aging and the Flu
The flu can cause serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis that may necessitate hospitalization. In some cases, these complications can even be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults 65 and older accounted for between 70 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths and between 50 and 70 percent of flu-related hospitalizations in recent years.
Symptoms and Treatment: Because you are at high risk of developing serious flu complications, if you get sick with flu symptoms, call your doctor right away. There are antiviral drugs that can treat flu illness and prevent serious flu complications. CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have influenza infection or suspected influenza infection and who are at high risk for serious flu complications, such as people 65 years and older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Flu symptoms include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny or Stuffy Nose
- Body Aches
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Possible respiratory symptoms without a fever
People experiencing these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Persistent dizziness, confusion, inability to arouse
- Not urinating
- Severe muscle pain
- Severe weakness or unsteadiness
- Fever or cough that improve but then return or worsen
- Worsening of chronic medical conditions
Treatment should begin as soon as possible because antiviral drugs work best when started early (within 48 hours after symptoms start). For you to get an antiviral drug, a doctor needs to write a prescription. These medicines fight against flu by keeping flu viruses from making more viruses in your body. Antiviral drugs can make your flu illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious health problems that can result from flu illness. There are four FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season that can be used to treat the flu. (Unknown, 2019)
Solitto, M. (2019, 12 03). Chronic Health Conditions and the Flu: A Deadly Combination. Retrieved from Agingcare: https://www.agingcare.com/articles/chronic-health-conditions-flu-can-be-deadly-154570.htm
Unknown. (2019, November 21). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from People 65 Years and Older & Influenza: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/65over.htm