Far from just sniffles and a cough, the flu can strike seniors hard. With a compromised immune system, individuals over age 65 are particularly at risk of complications from the flu, which could be serious. As we enter into flu season, Anthem Home Care provides you with flu facts which aim to help you and the seniors you love be prepared for – and protected against – influenza.
Signs and Symptoms
Even though colds are rampant around this time of year as well, there are telling differences between a common cold and the flu. As an example, a cold can result in:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Coughing and sore throat
Influenza may also produce these symptoms, but commonly includes:
- Fever, aches, and chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Discomfort in the chest
Older adults exhibiting these symptoms should see the physician as soon as possible; an anti-viral medication might help to minimize the severity and duration of the flu if utilized within the first 48 hours immediately after symptoms begin.
Seventy percent of hospitalizations and eight-five percent of deaths from the flu occur in people ages 65 and older, in many cases from the consequence of flu-related complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Be sure to locate prompt medical attention for a senior loved one presenting these symptoms:
- Green, yellow, or gray mucous when coughing
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- Decline in body temperature
The flu may also result in sinus and ear infections, inflammation of the brain, heart, and muscles, and may exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and luckily, a successful way of preventing the flu is available and highly recommended for the elderly: a high-dose form of the flu vaccine. September is the optimal time to ensure the seniors in your life get their flu vaccines, to guarantee the highest amount of protection when flu season gets going (October through May).
Additional protective measures also include:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical exercise, sensible food choices, and decreased stress
- Wash hands on a regular basis and keep hands away from the face
- Stay away from crowds and high-traffic areas during flu season
- Keep the home environment clean and sanitized
Anthem Home Care helps keep older adults safe and healthy in many ways as well! As one of the leading Corpus Christi home health agencies, our experts are readily available to provide transportation for seniors to obtain their flu shots, for doctor appointments, to cook balanced meals, to help with housecleaning, and much more.