When the leaves turn, and the weather gets colder, it ushers in flu season. Elderly adults are quite vulnerable to the effects of the flu, as their immune systems are less resilient to the germs. In fact, complications from influenza is the cause of hospitalization and even death for thousands of American seniors each year. That’s why it is so important for family caregivers, elder care providers and aging adults to do everything they can to avoid the flu.
What is Influenza, Exactly?
Influenza is a contagious viral infection that can affect people of all ages. Typical symptoms are muscle aches, fever, respiratory congestion and fatigue. The severity of the flu can range from mild to extremely serious, with young children and elderly adults at the highest risk. Seniors have a much weaker immune system than younger adults, which makes them prime candidates for contracting the virus that causes influenza.
The symptoms of influenza range from headaches and muscle aches to respiratory congestion, fever, chills, sore throat, cough and fatigue. The length and the severity of an influenza infection can range widely, but elderly adults that have other health complications are more likely to be seriously affected by the flu. It’s up to family caregivers and elder care providers to do what they can to prevent the exposure of the elderly adult to the highly contagious virus that causes the flu.
There are Several Ways to Avoid the Flu
To avoid the flu, family caregivers, elder care providers and aging adults need to focus on boosting the immune system and cutting down on potential exposure to the flu virus. One of the most important things to do is get a flu vaccine every year. Family caregivers and elder care providers should get the standard shot offered by community clinics nationwide. Anyone that comes in regular contact with the aging adult, such as family members, should also get the shot. Elderly adults need a combination of two flu shots that better help their immune systems resist the germs.
Boosting the immune system is another way to better withstand the flu. Nutritious meals, exercise and plenty of fluids and rest can help the body’s natural resistance to illness. Practicing good hygiene habits can also help immensely. Family caregivers, elderly adults and elder care providers should get into the habit of washing their hands frequently during flu season to avoid spreading germs. Hand sanitizer is another good product to use regularly, especially when out running errands.
It’s always a good idea to reduce an elderly person’s exposure to germs, but it is especially vital during flu season from early fall to late spring. By taking steps to reduce the risk of developing influenza, seniors, elder care providers and family caregivers can all stay healthier and happier this year.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elder Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.