Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government


Flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. For older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, the flu can be very serious and, in some cases, life-threatening. Learn about symptoms of the flu, ways to protect yourself, and what to do if you get sick.

Flu and Older Adults

Learn all about flu—how it spreads, symptoms and treatment, the difference between cold, flu, and COVID-19, and the importance of getting a flu shot.
Older woman with a cold, blowing her nose

An official website of the National Institutes of Health