Over 65? Flu May Hit You Harder
Most people who get the flu will have mild illness and recover within a few days to two weeks.
However, if you’re over 65 years of age, you are in a ‘high risk’ category for complications from flu such as pneumonia and even death.
Other high risk groups include:
- Children younger than 5, but especially children older than 2 years old
- People who have chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, asthma, congestive heart failure, lung disease)
- Pregnant women
- See People at High Risk of Developing Flu Related Complications (CDC).
Symptoms of Flu
The flu is different from the common cold. When a person gets the flu, one or more of these symptoms will probably come on suddenly – about 48 to 72 hours after contact with the virus:
- Fever (usually high)
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Occasionally, stomach symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Urgent Warning Signs
These symptoms indicate that you need to seek medical attention immediately.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting.
These Groups Need Flu Vaccines the Most
The CDC identified certain groups of people who are particularly susceptible to influenza viruses, and DHEC urges all South Carolinians to get vaccinated for the flu.
The following persons should seek an influenza vaccine as soon as possible:
- All persons aged >50 years
- All children aged 6 months to 4 years (59 months)
- Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurological, hematological or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus)
- Adults and children who are immunosuppressed (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by human immunodeficiency virus
- Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season
- Children and adolescents (aged 6 months-18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and therefore might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- American Indians/Alaska Natives
- Persons who are morbidly obese (BMI>40)
- Healthcare personnel
- Household contacts and caregivers of children aged <5 years and adults aged >50 years, with particular emphasis on vaccinating contacts of children aged <6 months
- Household contacts and caregivers of persons with medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe complications from influenza.
Flu Campaign for Older South Carolinians
DHEC, along with the Carolina’s Center for Medical Excellence and the South Carolina Coalition for Older Adult Immunization produced these free printable resources.
- Pneumonia Can Be Prevented, insert (pdf)
- Reasons to Get the Flu Shot, bookmark (pdf)
- Reasons to Get the Flu Shot, brochure (pdf)
- Reasons to Get the Flu Shot, poster (pdf)
If, after reading the information available on our website, you have questions about the vaccine,
please call 1-800-27SHOTS (1-800-277-4687).