Flu Season Guide for the Elderly
The onset of fall brings with it the start of the flu season, meaning we’ve got to take extra care about getting ill as the flu (or influenza as it’s officially known) spreads incredibly easily, especially in densely populated areas. As a senior, you should take extra care with the flu as in rare cases (the emphasis being on rare), flu can cause complications and even (very rarely) result in death. It’s important to highlight that death as a direct result of flu is still very rare, but as a senior, your immune system may not be as strong as it once was, meaning you’re at a higher risk than younger people – but even then, the risk of it being deadly is still very low! Here at Main Line Adult Day Care, we’ve got some tips and advice that will reduce your risk of catching the flu and help you overcome it if you’re unlucky enough to do so!
Prevention is the best form of protection
Prevention is the best way to reduce the chances of getting the flu. You’ve probably been told thousands of times throughout your life to regularly wash your hands, well this is exactly why! Washing your hands regularly not only reduces the chances of ingesting the flu virus but also stops you spreading it to surfaces from where other people could be infected! Avoiding those that are infected is also very important – even if they’re someone you can’t bear to be apart from such as a beloved grandchild or life-long partner. The flu can be transmitted very easily, even just talking to or being in the same room as someone who is infected may result in infection through mucus droplets in the air entering your reparatory system. It’s also important to get your regular immunization against the flu! As the virus is constantly evolving, new immunizations are frequently being produced to adapt to the new strains – don’t fall behind or forget because it’s unlikely that you’re protected against this year’s strain without an updated immunization. While you may not have considered this an issue when you were younger, it’s time to start considering these things and taking preventative action before you get infected!
Recognizing the symptoms and recovering!
Flu symptoms can often at first match those of a common cold – slight fever, blocked sinuses, a mild headache, coughing, and tiredness. However, other key symptoms may indicate something more sinister such as severe muscle aches – particularly in the back and neck, a severe fever, shaking chills, a sore throat, a hacking dry cough, and even nausea and vomiting. Flu symptoms tend to come on much quicker than a common cold, and they feel much more severe – you most likely won’t want to get out of bed! If you experience these symptoms, head to your doctor as soon as possible for a Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Test (RIDT). Your doctor will then be able to assess the severity of your symptoms and make recommendations on how to proceed. Most of the time, lots of rest and some medication to ease the symptoms is prescribed, but if your infection seems severe or complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis are developing, you may need to go to the hospital for treatment. When recovering, make sure you drink lots of water (dehydration is a major cause of flu-related hospitalizations), get plenty of rest, and eat a healthy balanced diet – chicken soup and ginger tea are great for recovering, even if just for their comforting effects!
At Main Line Adult Day Care we know that keeping the flu at bay can be a real challenge, so it’s important to take actions that actively prevent contracting it and help you detect what the symptoms are as early as possible if you’re unlucky enough to do so! By following the simple yet valuable advice mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to keep the flu at bay for another season and keep yourself healthy right through the winter!