From a virological perspective, the flu season is the deadliest time of the year. A new study now shows that a certain age group is particularly susceptible
Fever, chills, sore throat – the flu wave reliably fills the doctor’s waiting room every winter. The risk group mainly includes elderly, very young or immunocompromised people. A recent one study showed, however, that people who were born in a certain decade are also among the risk patients.
Increased flu risk for people of this age
Blood samples from 140 children aged 1-17 years and 212 adults aged 18 to 90 years were evaluated for the study. The results showed that people who were born 40 to 50 years ago carry antibodies against winter flu, but they cannot completely prevent the outbreak of the disease. As a result, anyone born in the late 1960s through 1970s is at increased risk of developing severe flu.
Children have a particularly high number of antibodies
The study also showed that children between the ages of three and ten have a particularly high number of antibodies against the flu virus. The researchers concluded that exposure to the virus in early childhood is crucial for lifelong protection. But why is the very young age group better protected? Because the virus changes its structures over the years and younger people are better adapted. For this reason, certain age groups are more susceptible to infections. This was already evident in 2017-2018. During this period, the flu season affected an unusually large number of middle-aged patients. Regardless of these findings, however, it is clear that the flu virus can be particularly dangerous for people aged 65 and over. In the winter months, therefore, increased caution is required for those affected.
Author: Antonia Wurm