How Influenza Can Lead to Long-Lasting Complications for Seniors


A 2011 study found that 74% of seniors reported living with at least one of eleven chronic conditions. For these seniors and others like them, catching the flu can be devastating.

According to a recent survey of 2,503 Canadian seniors, conducted by Sanofi Pasteur, 89% are aware that having an underlying health condition can make them more susceptible to complications from influenza. However, many do not know the cardiovascular complications associated with the flu, with just 57% of those surveyed aware of the increased risks to their heart.

The flu can be a trigger for strokes, and one Scottish study has observed it can increase the risks of a first heart attack up to 10 times in the first three days following an influenza infection. Despite this, the Sanofi Pasteur survey found that only 31% of seniors say they got the flu shot in the past because they are worried about complications from the flu and just 48% say their biggest fear when it comes flu and their health is that  the flu will lead to hospitalization.

“It’s important for seniors to know what makes them more susceptible to the flu, such as their age or the presence of underlying health conditions, as well as understanding the types of complications that may arise if they do contract the flu,” says Sonal Purohit, Winnipeg pharmacist. “Not only can the seasonal flu worsen existing chronic conditions in seniors, it can also result in life-changing complications.”

When a senior is hospitalized because of a medical illness, like the flu or its complications, they are also at risk of losing their independence. Seniors may find themselves isolated and dependent on the support of healthcare professionals and loved ones to carry out their daily activities.

The good news is, according to the Sanofi Pasteur survey, the vast majority (81%) of seniors understand the importance of the flu shot. What some may not realize is there’s a high dose flu vaccine for people 65 years of age and older.

Containing four times the amount of antigens than the standard dose FLUZONE® vaccine, FLUZONE® High-Dose has been shown to be 24% more effective in protecting seniors from the flu compared with the standard dose FLUZONE® vaccine.

Talk to your healthcare provider to see if FLUZONE® High-Dose is right for you and contact your Public Health officials to find out if it’s covered in your province to help protect yourself this flu season.

FLUZONE® High-Dose is a vaccine used to prevent influenza in adults 65 years of age and older. Vaccination does not provide 100% protection and does not treat influenza and / or its complications, or prevent hospitalization or death after the onset of disease. For more information go to