This post is made possible by the American Lung Association, in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. As with anything medical, please consult your physician.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but almost everyone I know is 50 years of age or older! If they aren’t age 50+, they’re darn near close to it! And with age, comes the dangers of the flu + chronic diseases.
Youth, beauty, and health. I’ve always been told that the first two fade and go downhill with age. But man, it sure hits you like at ton of bricks when your body betrays you and a chronic illness diagnosis is a new reality. I guess the thought of having an illness doesn’t really enter your mind when you’re 20 years old and feel invincible.
Fast forward 20 years and many of my friends and family have been diagnosed with some type of chronic illness, such as lung disease, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. We’ve all reached the age group where 70% of us will have one or more chronic illnesses. Chronic illness when combined with the flu can not only make chronic health conditions worse, it can quickly become deadly.
Here are the dangers of the flu + chronic diseases for adults 50+ and older:
⦁ Heart disease + flu can result in worse symptoms AND an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack in the few days following a flu infection.
⦁ Respiratory disorders + the flu can exacerbate and trigger severe inflammatory responses of lung disorders of asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and can lead to pneumonia.
⦁ Diabetes + the flu can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. This can result in fluctuations in sugar levels, which can make one feel worse. Diabetics also have a weakened immune system, so it can make fighting off the flu more difficult.
Now, you know some of the dangers of the flu and chronic diseases. However, just in case you need a little reminder…do you remember the terrible 2017-2018 flu season? During this time, my sister-in-law was hospitalized for a brain tumor. Getting into the hospital to see her was like trying to get into Fort Knox because EVERYONE had to check-in through security. No kids or anyone showing the slightest sign of the flu were allowed onto the upper hospital floors in order to prevent the spread of the flu. In fact, my nephew got kicked out from the hospital for sneaking his toddler onto the upper floors.
The severity of the past flu seasons is a powerful reminder of the importance of the flu shot. In the most recent flu season, people who were ages 50+ had the second highest hospitalization rates due to flu complications, second only to adults ages 65+. So, if you’re 50 years of age or older, don’t put off the flu vaccine. Help protect yourself and those around you by talking with your health care provider to decide the best flu shot option for your health.
For more flu information, visit:
- Why It’s Important to get Flu Shots Annually
- 3 Reasons Why It’s NOT too Late for a Flu Shot