Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Fall is the primary season for illnesses. Adults 65 years and older face a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, influenza A & B (flu), and the common cold. In addition, those individuals who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions are, unfortunately, at an even greater risk. It is important to identify your illness and stay up to date with your vaccinations to help fight against infection.

Four Viruses, One Swab

COVID-19, influenza A & B and RSV often cause similar symptoms of cough, fever, and a runny and/or stuffy nose.  Because of this, the CDC advises that patients get tested to confirm a diagnosis. If you feel sick, your doctor can do a single nose swab to test for all four of these common viruses. Your doctor can then recommend treatments specific to your illness.

Prevention is Key

Of course, prevention is the key to avoiding these viruses in the first place. Increase your chances of a healthy fall season by practicing healthy habits such as washing your hands, isolating when sick, avoiding places with an influx of germs, wearing a mask when in crowded indoor spaces, and updating your vaccinations are some of the best preventative measures to take.


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further.

To find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you: Search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233. If you need help with transportation to a vaccine site, contact AgeGuide at 630-293-5990.


For people 65 years and older, there are three influenza vaccines that are recommended, Fluzone, Flublok and Fluad. More information is available at Flu & People 65 Years and Older.

Common Cold

The common cold is also not to be overlooked. As individuals age, immune systems become compromised and cannot fight off infections as easily. It is valuable to speak with your provider about the best ways to remedy a cold, and what precautions you can take to prevent the cold in the first place. More information is available at Common-Sense Guide to the Common Cold for Older Adults.

Additional Resources:


COVID-19 Testing Information (Walgreens)


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