Every year people over the age of 65 are at risk of getting the flu. Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t take the flu seriously, thinking it’s something like getting a cold. But, seniors may experience some serious complications from the flu. In fact, they’re at increased risk for stroke, heart attack, and disability even months after they’ve had the flu.
According to WebMD, seniors make up more than half the flu cases that result in hospitalization. More than 80 percent of flu-related deaths occur in older adults. In people who are generally healthy, the flu usually clears up in a week to two weeks. However, seniors and those in poor health are at risk for complications, such as:
- Ear infections.
- Heart problems.
- Sinus infections.
- Worsening of asthma.
- Problems controlling diabetes symptoms.
Preventing the Flu
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccination every year. Each year, the vaccination protects against multiple strains of flu virus. However, the vaccination doesn’t guarantee complete protection from the flu, so taking extra steps to protect older adults is also a good idea. To help prevent the spread of flu:
- Keep the senior away from people who are ill.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
- Wash hands often and thoroughly. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid taking the senior to crowded areas where germs are more likely to spread.
- Remind the senior to keep their hands away from their nose and mouth as germs can be spread that way.
- Clean and disinfect household surfaces, especially if someone is ill.
Senior Care Can Help When Flu Strikes
A senior care provider can help your aging family member avoid getting sick during flu season. First, a senior care provider can take your parent to get their annual vaccination. Senior care providers can also help keep the house clean, reducing the spread of germs. They can also remind the older adult to wash their hands.
If the older adult does get the flu, a senior care provider can help them during recovery by allowing them to rest while they take care of things around the house. A senior care provider can also make sure your loved one drinks plenty of liquids and remind them to take the medications the doctor recommends. If a doctor’s visit is needed, a senior care provider can drive the older adult to the doctor, and stay with them to make sure they are clear on the doctor’s instructions.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in East Lansing, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.