3 Ways to Protect Seniors from the Flu

December 3, 2013
The holidays are here and, for many, that means family, food and fun. But it also signals the start of flu season. Hopefully, grandma, grandpa and any elderly aunts and uncles will be well enough to take part in the festivities. It's also important that other family members do their part to ward off infection so as not to pass any illness along to elderly family members, who are more susceptible.

Practical Tips for Senior Flu Prevention

Flu season can get downright nasty, and an infected senior loved one can not only mean discomfort for them but also potentially more serious complications like pneumonia and side effects like delirium. The good thing about flu season is that there are some things that everyone can do to help prevent the flu. The Centers for Disease Control offers these three tips to keep your seniors and yourself safe from the flu:
  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Vaccination of those people at high risk of catching the flu will decrease the risk of severe flu illness. People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years or older
  2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs. Avoid close quarters with sick people. If you have the flu, the CDC suggests staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to avoid infecting them. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away after use. Wash hands often with soap and water, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread that way.
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness. Antiviral drugs aren't antibiotics. They're prescription medicines and aren't available over-the-counter. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when started within two days of getting sick, but starting them later can still help, especially if the sick person is high-risk or very sick from the flu. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In extreme cases, there may be vomiting or diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.
Learn more about senior flu prevention and what you can do to help. As part of our "Healthy for the Holidays" program, families looking for senior care help and support in preventing or caring for infection can turn to our BrightStar team for help. Whether you’re caring for a loved one and need some respite or a senior in your life has advancing needs and would be a good candidate for home care and support, our team is available 24/7 to come up with a home care solution that is custom tailored to your loved one’s needs. Our team of professionals is available 24/7, contact us anytime for more information.