As the air becomes crisper and the leaves begin to fall, a silent adversary of Fall and Winter appears: the Flu. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the influenza virus. As we age, our immune systems weaken, making seniors more susceptible to the flu virus and its potentially severe complications. The flu can cause serious health problems for seniors, especially if they have other underlying conditions like diabetes, lowering their ability to fight infection.
The flu season normally begins in October and lasts until about May, with peaks occurring between December and February. Throughout a forty year period one study indicated that flu activity was highest during the months of December thru March. Caregivers and family members infected with the flu should be careful to stay away from elderly loved ones and senior clients until they are no longer contagious.
Recognizing Flu Symptoms in Seniors
Caregivers and loved ones play important roles during flu season and should be attentive about recognizing flu symptoms in seniors and providing them with support during this challenging time. The following are some typical signs that caregivers should watch out for:
- Congestion or a runny nose
- Body or muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Fever Cough
While some seniors with the flu may have diarrhea, this symptom is more common in children. Additionally, not all seniors with the flu run fevers.
It is important for caregivers not to dismiss these symptoms as merely a common cold, as they could indicate a more severe case of influenza. Contacting the senior’s physician is important as soon as any of these symptoms appear.
Advantages of Home Healthcare
Senior home care provides a tailored approach to addressing the needs of seniors during flu season since it helps to prevent the risk of exposure to flu viruses in crowded healthcare settings and hospitals.
Homecare promotes continuity of care by allowing seniors to work with a consistent team of caregivers who get to know them personally over time. This creates a strong bond between caregiver and senior, fostering trust and ensuring seamless communication regarding any changes or concerns related to their health. Also, in-home assistance reduces the chances of exposure to the flu virus during the season.
In addition to proper hygiene and frequent handwashing during flu season, proactive measures, such as getting vaccinated, are equally vital for caregivers and seniors in order to lower the risk of contracting or spreading infection.
With COVID-19 still a problem in society, the flu vaccine is even more important as it is possible to be infected with the flu and COVID-19 simultaneously. Studies have shown that becoming sick with the flu can make you even more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Take precautions. Be prepared. Stay healthy and enjoy the Fall and Winter!
Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. offers in-home assistance in the Raleigh Durham area. Call (919) 301-0236 today for more information.
1. Flu (Influenza) | Aging & Health A-Z | American Geriatrics Society
2. Flu & People 65 Years and Older | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/65over.htm
3. Flu and Older Adults | National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/flu-and-older-adults