Flu information for People age 65 and Older

Adults Age 65 and Older

The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu vaccine. People age 65 and older who have not yet gotten a seasonal flu vaccine should still seek vaccination.

There are several other things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting the flu or having serious complications:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
  • Stay home if ill with a fever.
  • If someone in the household is sick they should:
    • Keep away from others as much as possible. This is to keep from making others sick. Do not go to work or school while ill.
    • Stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Drink clear fluids (such as water, broth, sports drinks, electrolyte beverages for infants) to keep from being dehydrated.


If you have signs of the flu, contact your health care provider as soon as possible to get a prescription for antiviral medications (such as Tamiflu®).

Consider getting the pneumococcal vaccine

Studies have shown that influenza (flu) infections increase a person’s risk for developing bacterial pneumonia. In previous flu pandemics, many flu-associated deaths occurred in people who had bacterial pneumonia along with influenza. Pneumococcal vaccines provide protection from this complication.

Watch for signs of serious illness.

  • Although most people can stay home to recover without seeing a health care provider, anyone with the flu should seek medical attention for:
    • Dehydration
    • Trouble breathing
    • Getting better, then suddenly getting a lot worse
    • Any major change in condition

For more information, see Flu Information for Seniors from Flu.gov