As you age, your immune system – the body’s natural defence against infectious diseases – can start to deteriorate.
The importance of a strong immune system
A healthy immune system – made up of special organs, cells and chemicals – is needed to help fight infection from pathogens, protect against harmful substances in the environment and attack abnormal cells within our bodies (such as cancer cells). There are many ways in which the immune system offers protection, and these are generally grouped into two categories:
The effects of ageing
As we grow older, our adaptive and innate immune systems can stop working as well as they used to. Some of the following changes may affect the immune system:
Age-related decline in immune function may occur more rapidly after the age of 50. There are several other factors that can also contribute to decreasing immune system function, including genetics, environment, lifestyle and nutrition.
Find out more about infectious diseases, including causes, signs and symptoms, risk, treatment and prevention options.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. Early evidence suggests that older adults may be at greater risk of COVID-related illness and hospitalisation, however, evidence is still emerging. For the most up to date advice about the disease, how to stay healthy, or what to do if you have symptoms, speak to your healthcare professional, refer to your State or Territory government website or call the National Coronavirus Hotline.
NP-AU-NA-WCNT-210001 Date of GSK Approval: March 2021