Flu season prevention for the elderly This flu season has been especially rough. According to a weekly report from the California Department of Public Health, 202 people have died across California from the flu season of 2017-2018. Certain portions of the population have better immunity than others. Unfortunately, that leaves young and old more exposed. Some statistics: Estimates place between 71 and 85 percent of flu-related deaths occurred in people 65 years and older. The same estimates suggest that between 54 and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations occurred among people in that age group. Nearly 90 percent of the deaths from influenza between 1976 and 2007 occurred in people 65 and older, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. To effectively counteract the flu, here are 10 tips and tricks to keeping the flu at bay through the end of the winter season. 1. Get the flu shot. The CDC recommends that young and old alike get the flu vaccine by the end of October; but it's never too late to get the flu shot. Elderly are at an especially high risk for complications when it comes to the flu. Two vaccines designated for people over 65 are the high dose vaccine (Fluzone) and the adjuvanted flu vaccine, Fluad (made with MF59 adjuvant). The CDC also advises that those over 65 avoid nasal spray vaccines, intradermal flu shots, or the jet injector flu vaccine. 2. Wash your hands. A good word of advice is to wash your hands with soap and water while singing "Happy Birthday," or at least 20 seconds. Washing your hands often can help your loved one avoid sickness and protect you from the germs that could be hurdled your way (five or more days after symptoms via sneezing, coughing, tissues, etc.), reported DailyCaring.com. If you do sneeze, cough, or decide to eat, that's a good indicator that it's time to wash your hands, or, at the very least, use some hand sanitizer.
3. Exercise (physically and emotionally).
Don't let your loved one get run down emotionally or physically. Even so, make sure that they get regular exercise (even a walk is something!), but also take care when exposed to the elements (wear appropriately warm clothing). Emotional health is just as important as physical health sometimes. Making sure that your loved one is not emotionally worn out (with emotional support and reduced stress levels) can leave their body to other matters that need attending to and keep their immune system fueled and ready for anything. 4. Watch your face. Germs spread really easily when we let them. Often, by touching the face, eyes, nose or mouth, everyone leaves themselves open to getting sick. Carrying hand sanitizer and sanitizing items that you use frequently, like your phone, can make it so that items that are near your loved one's face and body are not collecting those germs in the meantime. 5. Know your environment. If your loved one is an active person, there's no way to avoid all germs. And no one is asking you to do that for them. However, in some cases, if your loved one knows or plans to interact with those who have had a cold or flu recently, it may be best to consider a mask for protection. Livestrong suggests using paper towels or tissues to turn doorknobs in public places and wipe down telephone receivers. 6. Focus on the good stuff. Chicken noodle soup, blankets, tea, Vitamin C, rest, repeat. Juice and water are your friends and can keep your loved one hydrated, reported Health in Aging. Comparatively, stay away from caffeinated drinks. 7. Keep everything clean at home. A germ-free environment is a plus for any loved one. That means making sure common living spaces are kept clean and without buildup. A simple disinfectant will do the job, according to Daily Caring, and can keep the bathroom and kitchen (hotspots!) clean. Things to watch: doorknobs, light switches, countertops, sponges/rags, and community work spaces or gathering areas. 8. Avoid the youngsters, if possible. Grandkids are the best. But germy grandkids around high-risk grandparents? Potential recipe for disaster. Before you go bringing your kids to your loved one's home, try to assess the risk of flu or cold and make sure that your loved one is feeling up for a visit. Also, make sure your kids know proper etiquette when it comes to coughing and sneezing, and most importantly, COVERING. Otherwise, maybe a Skype call would suffice. 9. Take precautions.
Sometimes it's best to avoid what could be bad for you. In this case, traveling and crowded areas create the perfect environment to pick up the flu. 10. Know when to go the doctor. There's a time and place for everything. When your loved one admits to feeling sick, it's best to keep an eye on them, tell them to get some rest and focus on the good stuff (above), and then also to check in on them to assess symptoms. According to Health in Aging, these include fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, fainting, confusion, and/or vomiting/inability to keep food down. Those with any of these symptoms who live at home alone should seek immediate medical attention, but also consult doctors ahead of time to make sure going to the doctor is the safest, best thing.
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Published on Mar 12, 2018
Published on Mar 12, 2018
This flu season has been especially rough.According to a weekly report from the California Department of Public Health, 202 people have died...