Far from merely sniffles and a cough, the flu can hit seniors hard. With a weakened immune system, individuals over age 65 are especially susceptible to flu-related complications that could be rather severe. As we enter into flu season, Morning Glory Home Care wants to help you and the seniors in your life be prepared for – and protected against – influenza.
Signs and Symptoms
While colds are rampant around this time of year as well, there are differences between the typical cold and the flu. For example, a cold may cause:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Coughing and sore throat
Influenza can likewise produce these symptoms, but usually includes:
- Fever, aches, and chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Discomfort in the chest
Seniors displaying these signs and symptoms should see the doctor immediately; an anti-viral prescription may help to lessen the severe nature and length associated with the flu if taken within the first 48 hours after symptoms begin.
70% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths from the flu occur in individuals ages 65 and older, often from the consequence of flu-related complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Be sure to obtain immediate medical help for an older adult displaying the following signs and symptoms:
- Green, yellow, or gray mucous when coughing
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and difficulty breathing
- Decline in body temperature
The flu can also bring about sinus and ear infections, swelling of the brain, heart, and muscles, and may worsen pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and thankfully, an excellent means of preventing the flu is available and strongly recommended for older adults: a high-dose version of the flu vaccine. September is the best time for you to ensure the seniors in your life acquire their flu vaccines, to ensure the maximum amount of protection when flu season is in full swing (October through May).
Additional preventative measures include:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including daily exercise, wise food choices, and reduced stress
- Wash hands frequently and keep hands away from the face
- Avoid crowds and high-traffic areas during flu season
- Keep the home environment clean and sanitized
Morning Glory Home Care, providers of dementia care Edwardsville, IL and the surrounding areas can count on, helps keep cherished older adults safe and healthy in many ways as well! Our compassionate caregivers are always available to provide transportation for older adults in order to get their flu shots, attend doctor appointments, prepare healthy meals, assist with housecleaning, and so much more.