Getting the flu usually means spending several days at home away from friends and co-workers. Most healthy people will recover from the flu in about two weeks with proper home care. However, some individuals are at a higher risk of complications, making it essential for them to seek medical care immediately if they display flu symptoms. The first 48 to 72 hours are crucial. During that time, antiviral meds can be prescribed to help treat the flu. Seniors are one of the groups that are considered high risk when it comes to flu complications.
Seniors over the age of 65 are much more vulnerable to complications than younger individuals. Immune systems weaken with age, making the flu in seniors a serious medical problem. In fact, between 71 and 85 percent of influenza-related deaths are associated with the flu in seniors over age 65. Seniors are much more likely to face a hospital visit due to flu-related complications. Because of this, vaccination is sometimes strongly recommended for those over the age of 65. It’s best to consult with your physician, if they have not made mention of it to you yet, to ask them what they suggest. Seniors can receive high-dose vaccines, which are formulated to protect against the strains most likely to cause outbreaks.
Others that are especially susceptible to the flu are those with preexisting conditions. The flu can make existing health conditions worse, including asthma or congestive heart failure. Those with neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and stroke are also at risk of flu complications. Disorders of the liver or blood can also make flu-related complications more dangerous.
In most cases, flu shots can be administered even if a pre-existing condition is present. However, there are exceptions, including people with compromised immune systems and severe allergies to flu vaccines.
Infants, toddlers and children under the age of 5, and expectant mothers are all groups that are also considered high risk.
While these groups remain the most susceptible to complications caused by flu, anyone can become dangerously ill without proper treatment.