With COVID-19 dominating the headlines, this year’s flu season doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention as it usually does. That doesn’t mean that the flu isn’t a concern this year, though. It’s still out there and older adults are still especially susceptible to it.
What Makes Seniors More at Risk for the Flu?
People of any age can get the flu, but the elderly are more likely to get it and to have serious complications because of it. The reason for this is that the immune system gets weaker as people age. In addition, older adults may also have conditions that cause their immune systems to be compromised.
Some of the complications that seniors may experience because of the flu are:
- Asthma problems.
- Heart problems.
- Ear infections.
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Of these complications, pneumonia is the most serious for seniors as it can lead to death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu was responsible for as many as 62,000 deaths in the United States between October, 2019 and April, 2020. Between 70 and 85 percent of those deaths occurred in people aged 65 and older.
How Can Seniors Avoid Getting the Flu?
The CDC says that the best way to help your older family member avoid the flu is to make certain they get an annual flu shot. For the best chance of preventing seasonal influenza, seniors should get the shot by the end of October when flu season starts. However, the shot can be received throughout flu season.
The reason older adults need to get a flu shot every year is that the vaccine changes each year. Scientists reformulate it to protect against the strains of flu predicted to be the most prevalent that year.
The flu vaccine isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that the recipient won’t get the flu, though. To increase the chances your aging relative doesn’t get the flu, they should also:
- Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.
- Avoid touching their face.
- Use a tissue or the crook of the elbow to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Avoid crowded spaces.
Home care can help your older family member to avoid getting the flu this year. A home care provider can drive the senior to get their flu vaccine. They can also remind the older adult to wash their hands often. In addition, a home care provider can help with keeping surfaces in the senior’s house disinfected by wiping them down frequently.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering home care in St. Charles, MO please contact the caring staff at Autumn Home Care, LLC today at 636-448-9347.