It has long been recognized that seniors 65 years of age and older have a higher risk of developing serious complications with the flu and the elderly are generally hospitalized more often because of these complications when compared to younger adults who are healthy. This is due to the weakening of the immune system as a person ages. Although the severity of the flu season can vary from year to year, the elderly typically bear the greatest burden during this time. There are several actions that seniors can take to stay healthy during flu season.
Get A Flu Shot
Prevention is always key to staying healthy, and a flu shot can ensure that seniors have the best possible protection against the flu. In fact, the CDC recommends all individuals get an annual flu shot starting at 6 months of age. Encourage your elderly loved one to get a flu vaccine as soon as they are available.
Maintain Good Health/Hygiene
You should always maintain good healthy habits. Help prevent the spread of germs by making sure you cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands frequently. If you know that you are sick, stay at home and avoid being around those who are sick. Caregivers need to pay extra attention to their loved ones and clients because colds and the flu and the elderly can create a potentially life threatening situation if the senior does not receive proper care and rest.
Get Medical Attention
If your loved oneâ€™s symptoms become worse while he or she has the flu, seek medical attention as soon as possible. In fact, your loved one should visit his or her primary physician as soon as he or she develops fly symptoms. If diagnosed early enough, antiviral medications can be used to treat those with the flu. These medications can also treat those who have become severely ill with the flu and require hospitalization.
Preventing the flu and the elderly from becoming sick during the winter can be accomplishedÂ by practicing healthier habits and getting vaccinated. However, do not hesitate to get medical attention immediately if your loved oneâ€™s symptoms become worse.
Does your loved one need in-home care while recovering from illness? Our professional and compassionate staff is available and qualified to provide in-home services. Contact us for more information about the flu and the elderly.