Over 65’s and the Flu

Over 65’s and the Flu

The risk of serious illness from flu and consequent hospitalisation is higher among those aged 65 years and older as they are more likely to have an underlying health problem. Also, as people get older, their immune systems tend to be less effective compared to when they were younger.  The best way for people at risk from flu to protect themselves is to have the flu vaccination.

The newly available ‘adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine’ (aTIV) has been specifically developed for those age 65 years and over; it is expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response to the vaccine.

Flu is caused by viruses that are spread from person to person. Coughs and sneezes propel infected droplets of saliva or nasal secretions into the air which are then breathed in by others. They infect the respiratory system, where they can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The viruses are constantly changing which is why people should get vaccinated annually.

Flu viruses are also spread by people touching surfaces that infective droplets have landed on, and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. This is why frequent hand washing or use of antiseptic hand rubs is so important during the flu season.

The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination.  Doing so reduces the strain on healthcare services during the winter period, reduces personal risk of developing the illness and safeguards the health of those around you.