Influenza in the Elderly

1248 WordsJan 12, 20185 Pages
Influenza in the elderly: What you need to know Access to health care services Influenza is a serious but common respiratory illness. The flu "usually occurs in 15-25% of the world's human population each year. This illness typically has a low death rate, with average overall mortality rates of 0.1%" (Pierce & Black 2008: 1). However, the elderly are one of the more susceptible populations to contracting influenza and suffer more severe consequences than healthy adults as a result of being exposed to the flu. It is true that the elderly often have the advantage of being connected to regular healthcare services. Elderly patients do not have the issue of lacking insurance, unlike their younger counterparts, given that they have Medicare coverage through the government, as well as any private insurance they might possess. However, the elderly may also be more likely to be socially isolated than their younger counterparts, and lack transportation to clinics and pharmacies where they can obtain low-cost flu shots. The efficacy of the flu vaccine has long been noted: "there is overwhelming evidence for the clinical efficacy of the influenza vaccine, especially in the elderly with chronic disease, reducing mortality and hospital admissions. There is also evidence to suggest that the influenza vaccine may be beneficial in the healthy elderly" (Morgan & King 1996: 339). Thus, there is a need to increase compliance amongst the elderly in getting a flu shot on an annual
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