Adults age 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from flu.

Annual influenza (flu) vaccination is recommended to help prevent flu and flu-related complications.  Three flu vaccines are preferentially recommended for adults 65 years and older, including higher dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines.

Flu can be serious for everyone – but for adults age 65 years and older, the risk of flu-related complications and hospitalization is particularly high.

Immune systems decline as adults age. Older adults are at higher risk of serious flu and flu-related complications including pneumonia and hospitalization. But there are also other risks that may not be as obvious. Flu increases the risk of heart attack by 3-5 times and stroke by 2-3 times in the first 2 weeks of infection for those 65+. The risk remains elevated for several months. This all adds up to a 6-times higher risk of dying from flu and related complications if you are age 65 years or older. Getting your flu vaccine lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Talk to your healthcare professional about flu vaccines for older adults and get vaccinated every year.

Reviewed September 2023

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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