The devastating impact of the flu in seniors

In March 2017, Mike Leone’s life changed forever. As he lay trembling on the floor, he shouted out for a neighbour to call 911.

This decision may have saved his life. Upon hospitalization, Mike was diagnosed with influenza—a virus which left him weak.

During his stay in the hospital, Mike developed two bacterial pneumonias and sepsis, had a tracheostomy done and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He spent 93 days in the hospital and 48 days in the ICU.

Prior to contracting influenza, Mike was active and enjoyed socializing with friends. He now lives on just the first floor of his home, can no longer drive and is dependent on personal support workers. “The hardest part for me is not being able to live a normal life,” said Mike Leone. “I can’t go to the senior club every day as I used to, and I don’t feel like myself anymore.”

His son Umberto Leone, a pharmacist, remembers vividly how difficult this journey has been for their family. “We thought we were going to lose him,” said Umberto Leone. “I’m so grateful my dad made it out of the hospital. This experience opened my eyes to the dangers of influenza and the importance of being protected.”

Mike is one of 12,200 people hospitalized for influenza-related illnesses every year in Canada, with seniors accounting for 66% of this number.

There are now flu vaccines designed specifically for seniors. Ask your doctor about the flu vaccine that is recommended for you.

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