Navigating Flu Season When You Are 65 Years and Older

It’s no secret those 65 years and older are at a much greater risk of suffering serious complications from the flu then young, healthy adults. This is a result of a weakening human immune system as we age. In fact, the CDC estimates 90 percent of flu-related deaths and over 60 percent of flu-related hospitalizations in the US each year happen in those who are 65 years an older.

While influenza can be a very serious disease scare for those 65 and older, there are some preventative steps you can take this flu season:

Get the Flu Vaccination

The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu vaccine. The CDC suggests everyone 6 months old and up get a seasonal flu shot as soon as they become available. Getting vaccinated is especially crucial in the 65 years and up population, as you are more at risk for developing serious medical complications like pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus infections, all stemming from the flu. While there are many different strands of the flu, a seasonal vaccine promises protection against those flu viruses research indicates will be most common during the season. It is a good idea for senior caregivers as well as their clients to get re-vaccinated each season, as immunity wanes over the year. For those 65 and older, two types of flu shots are available to choose from. A traditional dose vaccine and a newer flu vaccine designed specifically for older adults with a more potent dose.

Practice Good Hygiene

Providers of family homecare in Phoenix know how important good health habits are year round. However, senior caregivers and their clients need to be especially vigilant during flu season to ensure their covering their coughs, washing their hands often and avoiding those who are sick to keep healthy.

At the Onset of Flu Symptoms Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you or your senior caregiver notices flu-like symptoms set in, medical advice is needed to determine treatment with antiviral drugs. It is very important antiviral drugs be administered early to high-risk individuals to lessen their chances of developing greater complications.

Here is a list of flu symptoms for you and your Arizona home care provider to be aware of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

At Cypress HomeCare, a provider of family homecare in Phoenix, we know how important taking care of a sick loved one is. That’s why Cypress HomeCare prides itself on hiring qualified, experienced employees, ranging in skill levels from homemakers to Specialty RNs, who deliver exceptional care to all our clients. Cypress senior caregivers have the compassion and desire to assist others in maintaining their independence in the private home setting or in assisting in a comfortable and compassionate hospital or long term care facility stay. Give us a call 602-264-8009 today or contact us online to learn more about our home care services in the Phoenix area.

Posted on November 15, 2013