It’s the holiday season, meaning most of us will be out and about more often than usual. Shopping malls, restaurants, parties, church services— wherever we are, it’s a good idea to remember that crowds provide the perfect environment for influenza viruses (the flu) to spread by coughs and sneezes.
Due to the weakening of the immune system, people 65 years and older are at high risk of getting seriously ill from the flu. During most flu seasons, adults 65 years and older experience the greatest burden of severe flu and complications. Between about 70 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths in the United States occur among people 65 years and older. And people 65 and older account for between about 50 and 70 percent of the flu-related hospitalizations. Vaccination is highly effective in preventing flu and its potential complications.