As you grow older, your immune system becomes weaker. This is particularly true for seniors aged 65 years or older. A weaker immune system can cause severe problems from the flu virus, further leading to serious medical complications.
How to Be Proactive in Preventing the Flu
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 85 percent of flu-related deaths occur in older adults aged 65 and above. Bearing this data in mind, flu safety for seniors is an essential step to healthy living. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself or your elderly loved one from contracting the flu:
1. Get a Flu Shot
One of the best ways of preventing the flu is by getting a vaccine. A flu shot is recommended for everyone, ranging from kids aged six months to older adults above the age of 65 years. A flu vaccine can help protect you from the flu itself during the flu season, and it can also help you avoid chronic health conditions that are triggered during this period. The CDC recommends that caregivers and health workers should also take a flu shot to avoid spreading the virus to high-risk people.
2. Take Preventive Measures to Stop the Spread of Germs
Senior flu prevention starts with you. You should practice good health habits to stop the spread of flu-causing germs. Frequently wash or sanitize your hands thoroughly. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to reduce the risk of becoming infected.
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, mobile phones and other appliances are ideal ways of preventing the spread of germs as well. Also be sure to cover your nose and mouth with a clean handkerchief or tissue when you sneeze or cough.
3. Get Pneumococcal Vaccines
Pneumonia is a serious condition that can cause death, especially among older adults. You should, therefore, get relevant pneumococcal vaccines to protect yourself from pneumonia and other serious flu-related complications such as meningitis and bloodstream infections.
Flu Symptoms and What to Do If You Get Sick
The most common flu symptoms in elderly individuals include:
- High fever
- A constant cough
- Stuffy or a runny nose
- A sore throat
Visit the doctor as soon as you notice the first signs of illness to help prevent serious flu-related complications. The CDC recommends that treatment should begin within the first two days of infection. Early treatment can mean the difference between getting better and being hospitalized with serious complications.
Your doctor will prescribe antiviral drugs that will help alleviate the symptoms and make the flu milder. You can also use home remedies such as drinking chicken soup to open up the nasal passages. Drink plenty of water and get enough rest to reduce flu symptoms.
Contact Active Home Care Today
At Active Home Care, we provide access to personalized home care services for the elderly. From live-in care to respite care services, Active Home Care can help you find the home care solution that best meets you or you loved one’s needs. For more information about our home care services or to schedule a free home visit, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.