It has long been recognized that seniors 65 years of age and older have a higher risk of developing serious complications with the flu. The elderly are generally hospitalized more often because of these complications when compared to healthy adults. This is due to the weakening of the immune system as a person ages. Although the severity of the flu season can vary yearly, 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; a flu shot can ensure seniors have the best 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 health habits. Help prevent the spread of germs by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing 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. Colds and the flu in 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 one’s symptoms worsen 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 flu 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 one’s symptoms worsen.
Does your loved one need in-home care while recovering from illness? Our professional and compassionate staff is available and qualified to provide skilled care. Contact us for more information about the flu and the elderly.