Far beyond just sniffles and a cough, the flu can strike seniors hard. With a weakened immune system, those over age 65 are especially vulnerable to side effects from the flu, which can be rather severe. As we come into flu season, Enhanced Home Care wants to assist you as well as the seniors you love be prepared for – and protected against – influenza.
Signs and Symptoms
While colds are rampant around this time of year as well, there are some telling differences between the typical cold and the flu. For instance, a cold can result in:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Coughing and sore throat
Flu symptoms may look similar, but often include:
- Fever, aches, and chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Discomfort in the chest
Older adults presenting these symptoms should see the doctor immediately; an anti-viral prescription may help to reduce the severity and duration associated with the flu if utilized within the first 48 hours immediately after symptoms begin.
70% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths from the flu take place in people ages 65 and older, often from the results of flu-related complications, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Be sure to seek prompt medical attention for an older adult displaying the following signs and symptoms:
- Green, yellow, or gray mucous when coughing
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and difficulty breathing
- Decrease in body temperature
The flu may also lead to sinus and ear infections, inflammation of the brain, heart, and muscles, and can worsen pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and luckily, a powerful strategy for preventing the flu is available and is recommended for older adults: a high-dose form of the flu vaccine. September is the recommended time to ensure the seniors in your life obtain their flu vaccines, to ensure the highest degree of protection when flu season gets going (October through May).
Additional preventative measures can include:
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, sensible nutritional choices, and reduced stress
- Wash hands frequently and keep hands away from the face
- Stay away from crowds of people and high-traffic areas during flu season
- Keep the home environment thoroughly clean and sanitized
Enhanced Home Care helps keep older adults safe and healthy in many ways as well! Our expert home health services in Kansas City, MO are readily available to provide transportation for your senior loved one to get his or her flu shot, attend doctor appointments, cook balanced meals, assist with housecleaning, and so much more.