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Seniors

Because your immune system weakens as you age, adults age 65 years and older are more susceptible to the flu. It is important all seniors get the flu vaccine.

  • You have two options for vaccination: the regular dose flu shot and the high-dose shot that results in a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider to decide which one is right for you.
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
  • Since you are at high risk for flu-related complications, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications if you get the flu.

Why does being older than 65 put me at higher risk for getting the flu?

As you age, your immune system weakens. This weakening makes seniors—adults 65 years and older— more susceptible to the flu. For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older.

How can I protect myself from the flu?

Get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area. Getting the flu vaccine protects you and prevents you from spreading the flu to your spouse, children, or grandchildren.

You have two options for vaccination—the regular dose flu shot and the higher-dose flu shot designed specifically for people 65 and older. Both vaccines protect against the same three flu viruses. The higher-dose vaccine should result in a stronger immune response. Talk to your health care provider about which vaccine is right for you.

In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you should follow our everyday steps to keep yourself healthy this flu season.

Because you are at an increased risk of getting pneumonia, a complication of the flu, talk to your health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine. The pneumococcal vaccine will protect you against pneumonia.

Will Medicare cover my flu vaccine?

Yes, Medicare will cover the flu vaccine once every flu season.

I have the flu, what should I do?

If you develop flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. Since you are at high risk for flu-related complications, your health care provider may prescribe antiviral medications to help make your symptoms less severe and make you feel better faster.

You should also follow our treatment recommendations.

Related Links

CDC Study Concludes Flu Vaccination Prevents Hospitalizations in Older People

What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season if You Are 65 Years and Older