Influenza is a highly infectious viral illness. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Adults age 65 years and older are at greater risk of severe complications from influenza, due to their increased likelihood of having chronic conditions and the decline of their immune system.

  • Older adults account for more than 90 percent of annual flu-related deaths in the United States
  • 2016-2017 influenza season, an estimated 423,000 older adults in the U.S. were hospitalized due to the flu, accounting for approximately 70 percent of flu-related complications
  • Older adults experience longer hospital stays than younger adults

Complications from influenza can lead to life-threatening conditions in older adults, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Myocarditis, encephalitis, myositis, or rhabdomyolysis
  • Multi-organ failure (respiratory and kidney failure)
  • Respiratory tract infection leading to an extreme inflammatory response and sepsis

www.influenza-defense.org offers a ‘Flu Defense Fact Sheet‘ for adults 65 and over.

Healthcare providers play an important role in ensuring adults are vaccinated against the flu.  There are a variety of misperceptions about influenza and the influenza vaccine that may influence your older patients and make them skeptical of getting the vaccine. Countering these misperceptions requires hard facts. Download the ‘Flu Defense Frequently Asked Questions‘ with suggested evidence-based responses to help guide your discussion with them on their changing risks and the importance of an annual flu vaccination. This document may also be printed and handed out to your patients.

Great Plains QIN is actively working with providers, patients, partners and stakeholders to implement best practices to increase immunization rates for influenza, pneumococcal disease and herpes zoster. We offer a wealth of free evidence-based resources to promote influenza, pneumococcal and herpes zoster vaccination best practices, guidelines and tools to break down barriers to care for disparate populations. We have also convened a Learning and Action Network (LAN) to give providers, community organizations and patients the opportunity to share and learn. Ultimately, we intend to improve access to and quality of care through our efforts. Together, we play an important role in helping to educate patients about immunization recommendations. Join our Learning and Action Network today.