For most people a bout of the flu is unpleasant, but nothing to worry about. However, for seniors, influenza can be both severely debilitating and potentially fatal. According to the CDC, those aged 65 and older are at a greater risk of complications from the flu as a result of a weakening of the immune system that comes with age. With such dire consequences arising from older Americans contracting influenza, it is very important to take preventive measures to ensure that seniors limit exposure to this seasonal virus.
Preventing The Flu From Spreading To Seniors
The bad news is that the seasonal flu is one of the most highly contagious illnesses in the world. It is spread by tiny droplets that are transmitted from one person to another by breathing, coughing, and sneezing. Even a tiny droplet on a surface that is commonly touched by many people, such as a door handle or a shopping cart, can spread the virus to a person’s hand and transmit the virus to them if they touch their mouth, nose, or eyes. While it is commonly believed that just staying away from those who are already sick is sufficient to protect yourself from the flu, the virus is hardy and could be waiting to be picked up by a single touch on any number of surfaces. Regular cleaning and disinfection of these surfaces and regular washing of the hands may be an effective preventive measure, but it is not a guarantee that an individual will not contract the flu.
The Importance Of Regular Flu Shots
Annual flu shots are highly recommended for all seniors prior to the beginning of flu season. According to Harvard Medical School, the best time to get a flu shot is anytime that one is able. But if one wants to time the vaccination closer to the typical flu season, early October is ideal. Flu season in North America typically runs from October through March.
Getting an inoculation is even more important for seniors living in communal facilities such as retirement homes or assisted living facilities. With regular visitors from all walks of life and sharing of public spaces the chances of exposure to the virus is great. With such a high chance of exposure and the inevitable degradation of the immune system, the most reliable method of influenza prevention in seniors is the flu shot. The high-dose flu vaccine is custom-designed for seniors and it has four times the active ingredient to maximize the immune response for those who are most vulnerable to influenza infection. Since the flu virus mutates rapidly, a flu shot from a previous year is no longer considered an effective preventive measure and the updated vaccine must be administered before seniors brace the current flu season.
The importance of influenza prevention in seniors cannot be overstated, so be sure to take these preventive steps.
A Peaceful Way Home Care can help keep the home sanitized while tending the needs of a senior requiring assistance. Or you have the flu, we can provide you care and cook meals while you recuperate. Please call us at (310) 377-3776 or complete our contact form to inquiry about senior in home care in Palos Verdes and the surrounding Los Angeles South Bay area.